STILLWATER — Often when people think of fitness, they think of going to the gym early in the morning or spending an hour running around their neighborhood. The goal is to get in the 30 to 60 minutes a day and that is where the exercise mindset stops. Although these endeavors are great and highly encouraged, what will truly make a difference in overall health is trying to remain active throughout the day. Here are some practical tips to make this happen no matter what your day looks like:

• Walk: Simply walk as much as possible! Walk to get the mail, walk to the grocery store, walk to a colleague’s desk instead of calling them. Try to find all the ways you can walk instead of sit or drive. You can even add in a evening walk with the family for together time as well as exercise.

• Take up a hobby: Find a hobby that can keep you active. Make a garden that takes weeding, watering and pruning. Join a running or biking club.

• Stand up: If you can’t be walking, could you be standing? Standing is much healthier than sitting and most tasks that can be done sitting can also be done standing.

• Take care of your house: This last one is something most of us are already doing to some extent, be it mowing the yard, cleaning or cooking. Most of these activities require standing or walking around. You might as well get exercise for something that must be done!

Since it is the season of spending time relaxing with family and spending even more time eating, try to incorporate these easy ways to stay active to combat this heavy eating season. You can even include your whole family in walking, take up a hobby together as a family, or simply go outside and play. One of the things that sets lifelong healthy people apart is the ability to incorporate physical activity every day in all that they do. You may not have the luxury of walking everywhere you go or have a job that keeps you active. Kids have to sit in desks at school and sometimes everyone just needs to sit down and relax, but coming up with little changes that can help you and your family stay more active can make a huge difference. And once you have mastered small changes, it is easy to transition into bigger challenges like riding your bike to work or getting a stand-up desk. The end of a year and the beginning of a new one is a great time to make changes and invite others to join you! Consider practicing the above things for the month of December and then making them, or even bigger challenges, a New Year’s resolution.

Lauren G. Abbott is a TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist.

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