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I recently moved to San Diego and everyone loves exercise here. There is 1 kick-boxing studio, 2 yoga studios, a tai chi studio, a krav maga studio, 2 places to learn dance, a pilates studio, 2 gyms, all within walking distance of my place. Not kidding. Of course, I want to participate in the healthy San Diego lifestyle, but I’ve been nervous about doing something too intense for fear of aggravating my back pain. And then of course there is the time issue. So whats a girl to do if she cant break it down like Richard Simmons?

In the world of healthy eating and activity research, I have been hearing whispers of the importance not just of EXERCISE, but how sitting still for hours on end is bad for you. In fact, a recent study has been making the rounds, talking about how sitting is the new smoking. It started with a scientist named James Levine, who has been talking about how 2 hours and 15 minutes of small movements rather than sitting amount to what he calls “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT – basically you burn calories doing a little activity every day that is not say, a structured activity that is considered exercise like going to Pilates. And basically, he says that not having this NEAT in our lives is WORSE than smoking.

So what does that mean for me and everyone with low back pain who needs to take it easy? I have been concentrating on low impact exercises, like swimming, elliptical, and small movements. I’ve been stretching. But I’ve also been incorporating lifestyle exercise into my life. What does this mean? Heres a little list of 8 things I do:

  1. Its as simple as parking far away from the door at the shopping center – sometimes that one little walk can be a thousand steps! Thats what my fitbit says anyway.
  2. Keep my fitbit charged
  3. Park on the bottom level of the parking garage and take the stairs all the way to the top where there is a walkway to the campus.
  4. Sit on an exercise ball
  5. Work on my laptop while standing (and make sure you fidget and move around!)photo4design.com-85331-smiling-lady-doing-yoga-exercise
  6. Try to get up and stretch every 20 minutes. This is key if you have back pain
  7. Walk to the cafe to do work – preferrably one thats further from me(and order tea instead of a latte! unsweetened iced tea with a splash of almond milk and one packet of raw sugar – YES PLEASE!)
  8. Park on the other side of campus from where my class is

A couple of extra that I dont do to make it 10 😛

  1. Stand up and watch TV or play video games (My husband does this). Kids can be on a trampoline.
  2. Do some grocery bag bicep curls

I have to say, this helps keep my step numbers at least in the 6-7000 range if not 9000. For me to break 10000, I usually have to be at the gym for a half hour.