Advertising
Advertising

10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

10 Simple Ways To Be More Active

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been the queen of inactivity. From faking injuries to get out of gym class to becoming winded after going up one flight of stairs, the thorn in my side has always been creating ways to be more active (and, you know, actually using them).

If you’re like me and need a nap after watching someone jog past you, it’s important to start small and work your way up to more intense workouts. If you push yourself really hard in the beginning, it’s not likely you’ll sustain a healthy exercise routine … since you won’t be able to walk.

Below are 10 easy ways to be more active I now use without fail. If you’re mindful of the little things you can do to turn each of your daily tasks into a mini-workout, you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel!

Advertising

1. Go for walks.

If you’re groaning already, put incentives in place to boost your motivation. For example, I no longer subscribe to magazines – I walk to the corner store to pick up the latest issues. Creating a buddy system is also helpful: instead of having your friend over for tea, make it to go and bond over a daily walk. The conversation will distract you from the whole exercise thing.

2. Take the stairs.

I know this one’s obvious but how often do you still take the elevator instead? Five minutes climbing stairs burns up to 150 calories!

3. Clean vigorously.

I used to live with this guy who wasn’t exactly tidy. As infuriating as it was at the time, I later learned an intense tidy session can burn up to 200 calories per hour. So thank you, Sloppy Slopperson.

Advertising

4. Use a basket instead of a shopping cart.

If you only have a few things to pick up after work, use a basket instead of a cart. It’s an automatic weightlifting session (and if you’re a spontaneous shopper like myself, it becomes quite the workout!)

5. Park further away.

Build in extra walking by parking further away from your destination. With how crammed many parking lots become, you’ll not only burn calories but save a lot of time (and potential accidents) waiting for a closer spot to free up.

6. Play with your pets.

It goes without saying owning a dog automatically means frequent walks and play time. For the kitty lovers out there whose cats make lazing around look incredible: tie a ribbon/string around your wrist and let it dangle to the floor. As you’re cleaning your home or doing any chore that requires a lot of moving around, your cat will go insane chasing you around. I started doing this with my cat and now he’s obsessed! He now takes it upon himself to drag the ribbon to my feet – and as any cat lover knows, he gets his way almost instantly.

Advertising

7. Pace/clean while on the phone.

Phone calls between me and my family are a minimum of an hour long. I now vigorously pace around while we chat (usually with a ribbon tied to my wrist), or I throw on my headset to keep my hands free for a tidy session.

8. Set an alarm.

I’m constantly writing, so when I’m engrossed in what I’m working on I forget how long I’ve been sitting for. It feels like I blink and hours have passed. Set an alarm for every hour, so you remember to get up for a minimum of two minutes for stretching or walking around. Or try Break Pal, a program that pops up on your monitor every half hour with a three-minute routine.

9. Exercise while watching TV.

I know I’m supposed to tell you to watch less television, but that would make me a hypocrite – nobody dares to interrupt when my shows are on! However, there’s no law saying you have to laze around while watching them (unfortunately): throw in mini-workouts while you watch.

Advertising

10. Support a good cause.

Sponsor charity walks or runs for causes close to your heart. Dedicate each charity walk/run to someone you care about as your motivation to train before, during, and after.

Are you trying to be more active? What tips would you add to this list?

 

More by this author

Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

25 Questions That Help You Understand Yourself and Your True Potential 20 Things to Do When You Feel Extremely Angry 11 Benefits of Almond Milk You Didn’t Know About 30 of the Best Quotes Ever That Will Inspire Your Life 11 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water (And How to Drink It for Good Health)

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next