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How can I feel fit for everyday life?

Scientific support: Prof. Dr. Christine Joisten

Keeping fit as part of your daily routine does not mean you have to kick off with and stick to only sport in the conventional sense of sporting activities.

Walking every day and going up the stairs instead of taking the lift is just as beneficial to your health and well-being. Walking 10,000 steps a day is a worthwhile goal.

A long journey in small steps

The commonly cited 10,000 steps a day is a worthwhile goal. But you don’t have to do this from one day to the next. Being aware of the distance you can walk is literally the first step. A step counter, e.g. on your smartphone, can help you do this. Small goals are easier to reach and give you a sense of achievement. So instead of aiming for 10,000 steps a day from the get-go, it is better to start with 1,000 to 2,000 steps.

Once your body and mind are used to the new distances, i.e. they have become routine, you can set the next goals.

Start with small distances

  • Park at the back of the car park
  • Get off the bus or tram one stop before you have to
  • Climb 1 or 2 flights of stairs
  • Take the longer route to the canteen

Be more active by sitting less

As well as being more active in your daily routine you should also try to sit less. This is especially important for people who have to sit for work for 8 or more hours a day. Long phases of sitting without a break have a detrimental effect on health, even if you exercise afterwards. Easy measures include:

  • Use a standing desk
  • Hold meetings standing or walking
  • Stand during telephone calls
  • Do loosening or strengthening exercises every 30 minutes

In some companies the company health management is happy to help implement these plans.

An active lifestyle gets your whole body moving

Exercise in your daily routine – an active lifestyle – has a positive impact on the whole body. Especially the combination of endurance training (such as walking or cycling) and strength training (such as carrying crates of water or climbing the stairs) improves a whole host of bodily functions:

  • Lungs – “less puffing”
  • Muscles – “more strength”
  • Heart – “fewer palpitations”
  • Blood vessels – “better blood pressure”
  • Immune system – “less ill”
  • Bones – “stronger bones”
  • Head – “thinking more clearly”
  • Physical wellbeing – “feeling better”

Exercise improves insulin sensitivity in people at increased risk of diabetes and so reduces their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Exercise also improves flexibility and walking speed, which helps elderly people especially cope with activities of daily living better.

Find out more about the risk factors of type 2 diabetes here.

And here is some good news for anyone who has not done much exercise so far: The less exercise you are used to, the faster and more you will feel the positive effects of a little more exercise.

Every little extra step you take has a positive effect on your health.


Colberg, S. et al.: Physical Activity/Exercies and Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association. In: Diabetes Care, 2016, 39: 2065-2079
Espeland, M. A. et al.: Effects of Physical Activity Intervention on Physical and Cognitive Function in Sedentary Adults With and Without Diabetes. In: J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2017, 72: 861-866
Rütten, A. et al. (Hrsg.): Nationale Empfehlungen für Bewegung und Bewegungsförderung. FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, 2016
World Health Organization (2010): Global recommendations on physical activity for health. ISBN: 978 92 4 159 997 9
As of: 23.12.2019