Let’s make one thing clear: walking is not exercise. It is locomotion.
However… walking is better than not walking. Standing is better than sitting.
What the remainder of this post is not going to be is a plea for you to take the stairs rather than the elevator. To be frank, I already assume you do that. If you don’t, here’s my plea: take the stairs.
Think about what we do in the gym each day: we warm-up, we talk about the mechanics of a lift or set of gymnastics skills, we talk workout strategy, then we go H.A.M. for a little while, then cool down and maybe do a little mobility work. Each and every thing we do has a purpose and an end. How utilitarian of us! Take that same outline and apply it to your day.
How are you warming up for your morning? Are you taking the time to generate some heat in your hips, shoulders, and ankles; are you strategizing the workout as you do a warm-up 400m run; are you priming your major engines for healthy movement? Are you taking a hot shower and clearing your head, having a decent breakfast, and drinking some stout bulletproof coffee? Or, are you waking up at the last minute, leaving partially prepared and with an un-toasted bagel between your teeth as you jam yourself onto the Metro?
Are you paying attention to the finer points of movement mechanics throughout your day? Before you lift, are you bracing the spine and setting your shoulders? As you sit in your office chair are you flexing at the hip, keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout the foot, and ensuring your knees track over your toes? As you stand at the urinal, are your toes turned out like a duck? I hope not. You have knees and a hip. Use them as they were intended.
You should be taking the stairs, you should be taking your dog for long walks, you should be using a sit/stand workstation, when you walk from your office to the car you should be booking it (as quickly as is socially acceptable). But those are the easy things, really dive in deep.
At the end of the day, how are you cooling down? Are you couch stretching as you re-watch last season of Game of Thrones? (Spoiler alert: R+L=J, if you didn’t see that coming as of Book 2/Season 2 … shame on you.) Are you doing some light foam rolling for 10-15 minutes before bed to fire up that parasympathetic nervous system? Good, you’ll sleep better.
You are only at the gym for an hour a day. We can’t do 23 hours of damage to our body, only to get back to neutral with 1 hour of working out and doing some mobility work. View your day-to-day tasks, your non-fitness activities, as opportunities to reinforce good movement habits and to prime yourself for success in the gym, and for tomorrow. Those 23 hours are a great time to sneak in some extra credit, some accessory work, to help you round out your health. Have fun.