Let’s make our day harder

Today’s post comes from Jennifer McConnell-Nzunga. Jennifer is the Special Events Coordinator for the CON SNP Executive and a PhD Candidate in the Social Dimensions of Health Program, University of Victoria.

Although we live in a society of convenience seduction, where your smartphone can close your curtains and your favorite take-out can appear by swiping right, the easiest choice may not be the healthiest. Dr. Mike Evans released a series of videos on the importance of getting active and introducing a little inconvenience into our lives (check out how to make your day harder here). Maybe you’ve seen them? The news media picked up on it and it’s turned in to a movement (http://www.makeyourdayharder.com).

Many of the suggestions included in the video aren’t new and will likely remind your grandparents of “back in my day…”. Some of the suggestions that really resonated with me include:

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator (even take the elevator up too far and take the stairs back down a few floors)
  2. Park further away from your destination
  3. Ride your bike
  4. Get off the bus one stop early
  5. Plan a walking meeting
  6. Go for a walk at lunch
  7. Buy a push-mower, snow shovel, or rake

As the weather gets warmer and those of us that have been cooped up all winter start to get spring fever, let’s talk about some new ideas to make our days harder.

  1. Turn ordinary parts of your day in to standing breaks. Waiting for the bus? Stand. Quick meeting in your boss’s office? Stand. Stuck in a waiting room for the doctor/massage therapist/banker/barber? Stand. While standing alone may not contribute to meeting physical activity guidelines, breaking up sedentary time is also important for good health.
  2. Tie activity in to your existing habits; see how many lengths down the hallway and back you can walk while you brush your teeth. Add some activity to your bed-making routine; do a few jumping jacks at each corner or throw on your favourite song and dance your way around the bed. I promise it’ll start your morning off on a fun and active note!
  3. Take your (or your neighbors!) dog for a walk! Dog owner (or pseudo dog-owners) tend to track more steps, and you can easily turn a walk in to an adventure as you follow Fido around the neighbourhood
  4. Incorporate active transportation into your day. When you have a chance to walk to the store, work, a friend’s house, or anywhere, try to take a different route each time. You may get to know your neighborhood a little better and will easily add on some extra steps.
  5. Lose the remote. Almost everything can be controlled by a smartphone these days but that doesn’t mean it should be! Get up to switch the channel or thermostat and lose the convenience. Even if you do have a remote, take it as a cue to move around a bit.


Do you have any tips of your own on how to make your day harder? We would love to hear from you in the comments below, and get some new ideas on how we can all make our days harder.


I have a PhD in population health from the University of Ottawa looking at why children are sedentary, the difference between types of sedentary behaviour (as you’d expect screen time is much worse than reading a book!) and what we can do about it in Canada, and around the world. I completed my master’s at Queen’s University in kinesiology and epidemiology, and graduated from Acadia University with a double major in biology and kinesiology. I am also a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, a Clinical Exercise Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine and a Physical Activity in Public Health Specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine/National Physical Activity Society. I love to be active, especially when I get to be outside and especially when I get to explore a new city!

One thought on “Let’s make our day harder

  1. The way we’ve structured our daily lives makes it hard for children to live healthily.” I think they only start to worry when obesity affects their day -to- day lives.” Information from Let ’ s Move, accessed 30 July 2014.

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