Exercise Tip: Incorporate Physical Activity Into Your Day

Hi folks,

If you find yourself in a tall building walk to your chosen level (10th floor for the author) and then take the elevator for the rest of the journey. Both up and down! From: http://goo.gl/7pqyc

For many years I have been able to incorporate moderate exercise into my day-to-day activities through minor changes to my modus operandi. This can be done in many ways. For instance, scientists attend a lot of meetings in tall hotels. If I were given a room on one of the higher floors, I would walk up to or down from the 10th floor, and take the elevator for the rest. Why the 10th floor you may ask? Well, one time I had a room on the 22nd floor, and I found that climbing all those stairs was a problem because, (a) it took a long time, (b) if I was with a colleague they would have to wait around for me for a while as most scientists that I knew had no interest in climbing 22 floors, and (c) if I needed to go to my room frequently I ended up having sore quads the next day. I tested a number of levels, and the 10th floor turned out to be ideal. I even managed to persuade some people to enjoy the trip with me (at least once, anyway). I also apply stair-climbing to subways, often arriving more quickly than people crammed into the escalators, receiving curious looks as I go by on the particularly long ascents. [Note: if you are an older person or have a serious heart condition, you might want to be careful when considering this approach. See footer.]

Yes! Darwin's walk has been saved to this day. From: http://goo.gl/rETGs

Have you noticed that when people arrive at the gym they will go to great lengths to find a parking spot as close as possible to the door? This is paradoxical, to say the least. Walk if you are not in a hurry, take a bike if you are pressed for time, and only use motorized transport if it cannot be avoided.  Here is another suggestion: when picking things up from the floor bend your knees instead of your back. This reduces risk of strain to your back and works your quads, glutes, and hamstrings nicely. Interestingly, in a recent TED movie about living to be 100 years old, all groups of people mentioned in the movie as successful in this regard included regular but gentle exercise as part of their life or occupation, not as a separate activity.

Walk, take the stairs, bend your knees, and think about what you are doing before jumping into or onto some machine. If you have other suggestions, I would like to know. Such activities are also good for your mind. For instance, in a previous post I referred to the fact that Darwin, a great thinker, swore by (though I am sure he didn’t swear) his country walks as the source of many of his best ideas.

The world is not only our oyster, it is our gym, too!

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. The peasant poet John Clare was asked how he was ably to compose his verses.
    His reply was “I walk across the fields and kick them out of clods”
    (He was joking but his “betters” were not when they locked him in the loony bin.)
    Walking is a good aid to creative thoughts and composing verse. Do not know why, it just is.

    • Kevin Morgan says

      You’re right. Works for me too. Deb is always in a hurry and I try explain that I am not dragging my feet, I am walking because walking and thinking and imagining go together. Doubt Deb will ever get it, but I love her anyway.
      -k @FitOldDog

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.