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Top 5 Easy Ways to Be More Active, Have Better Relationships, and Be Happier

Updated on August 13, 2015

How many hours do you spend sitting or lying down while you're awake each day?

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More Than Physical Fitness - Being Active Supports Mental Emotional and Social Well-being

Physical fitness is important at every age, not just for physical health. Being active improves concentration, energy levels, and mood, relieves depression and anxiety, and helps you sleep better. Personal relationships with your loved ones may also improve, as you become more able to keep up with the kids at a game of softball, for example. So while being active is definitely important for keeping away heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis and dementia, there are many other good reasons to get off the couch too!

Being Active Doesn't Have To Mean Exercising on Purpose

You don't have to workout to be more active. You don't need a gym membership, fitness dvds, or expensive home gym equipment. The choices that you make throughout your day affect your activity level, and changing some of your habits can go long way in kicking the sedentary lifestyle habit.

It doesn't matter if you run 3 miles every morning, if you're sitting on the couch the rest of the day. [Tweet this]

#5- Get Unplugged


Too much screen time

Even just a few years ago, the average amount of time people looked at screens daily was about 3 hours. Anymore, it's 60-80% of our waking hours. That's because nearly everyone has some sort of handheld device that they're looking at when they're not looking at a television or computer screen. You might even be about to walk into a lamp pole while you're reading this. Look up!

Be Smart With Smartphones Televisions and Computers

I admit, I love my Android phone, I make a living on the internet, and I have a Netflix subscription. This is the modern world we live in. I'm not suggesting that you give up technology completely, but make sure it doesn't take over your life. Take a break from the screens more often. You don't have to sit there and watch the commercials, or watch the program before the program you want to watch just because it's on. Use your screen time judiciously. Plan ahead, and keep the screens off the rest of the day.

And stop checking your devices obsessively. Set it up so that you can set your phone down across the room and definitely know when you get a message. Then, relax. You won't miss anything. Pay attention to the people you are with, not the people on the other side of your device. Be sure you're using technology to be closer to people, not as an excuse to distance yourself.

The light from your devices actually warps your sense of time and energy levels, which can leave you feeling sluggish, depressed, and having trouble sleeping.

#4- Get up!


Your Couch Will Thank You

Winston Churchill attributed his success to conservation of energy, "Why stand when you can sit?" And in fact, that is human nature. We are wired to stay still until we need to move. The thing is, we don't 'need' to move anywhere near as much as our ancestors did. We live in a world where most of our needs are provided, or available from manufacturers. So, this instinct isn't really working for us anymore. It's always a challenge to break habits, but you can break this.

Start changing your thinking to, "Why sit when you can stand?" You'll actually find that keeping your body moving signals it to keep producing energy, and it will get easier before long. You'll feel more upbeat, and be less likely to want to stay in when friends and family want to spend time with you.

#3- Stop taking shortcuts


Where does butter come from?

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Opt-out of Modern Conveniences Sometimes

  • Modern technology is great, but if you don't need it fast or in great numbers, try doing it the hard way- on purpose.
  • Go Green: walk or bike everywhere you can
  • Save Money: Do it yourself

Have fun learning about how things used to be. You'll definitely appreciate how things are now, if you do! Try to notice when you're doing something that's easy because of modern conveniences, then ask how people did that before it was easy. Then, give it a try the old school way! You don't have to keep doing things that way, but it's at least fun to try it once.

DIY- Instead of buying a new nightstand, make one or restore an antique, for example. Or maybe it's time for a new coat of paint in your bedroom anyway. Having painted many rooms in my life, I can attest to that being a legit workout! Giving new life to your environment also adds an extra emotional pick-me-up.

And stop using your car or public transit for short trips. Walk or bike as far as you can. Rollerblading is great too!

Slow down and appreciate things. Stop worrying about how quickly things can be over. Enjoy the process and not the result. You might not get as much done by doing it the hard way, but if you let go and get into it, it will be more fulfilling. Life is not a race.

#2- Be active with friends and family


More Ideas for Helping Each Other

  • Be the first to offer to help someone move
  • Rake leaves and do yard work for each other
  • Wash each other's dishes
  • Walk a friend or neighbor's dog

Support Your Loved Ones and They Will Support You

Having support is essential to any behavior change. Not only does it boost your confidence, but it actually seems like less work when you aren't alone. Play tag with your kids or ask a sibling to go walk around the park with you. There are endless possibilities. Reach out to people who love you. They may be looking for the same thing and not know how to ask you.

I also wholeheartedly believe that doing each others chores is a great way to make each others lives better. When you're doing things for other people, they don't feel like chores. You feel good about doing the same tasks that feel like a burden when you're doing them for yourself. So have some fun with it and spend a day at each other's houses cleaning, or wash each other's cars. It doesn't have to be an even exchange. Don't worry about keeping score. Do it for you.

"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good dead in a weary world." -William Shakespeare [Tweet this]

#1- Take up an active hobby


And finally, the #1 way to be more active without even noticing you're doing it, is to take up a fun hobby that's active. Here are some examples:

  • dancing
  • gardening
  • physical hobbies like: swimming, sports, biking, yoga, walking/hiking
  • creative hobbies like: woodworking, sculpting
  • volunteer

Be creative. Anything you can do that's not sitting around doing nothing, is going to make your day less sedentary. Don't forget to recruit your friends and family in your new hobby. Get involved in community activities and events. Rediscover an old hobby that you've stopped doing. Try something new with someone you love, even if it's something you would never do on your own.

Dance Break!


You can change some habits and be more active without necessarily working out more.

Physical activity is an essential part of living, which should not be overlooked or receive lower priority for any reason. You can be physically active without exercising on purpose, working out, or going to a gym. The more you reduce the time you spend "relaxing" the more relaxed you will actually be, particularly if you're using that time to strengthen your relationships with others, and help your community.

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