In order to clock in extra steps, I typically park my vehicle far away from every destination. However, on one particular morning I didn’t. This was the day I made a decision to never, ever do it again.

It was about 10:00am during which time one of my clients and I were scheduled to begin what would become a 2-hour grocery shopping “field trip”. Since the grocery store had just opened, my vehicle was parked just steps away from the main entrance.

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Shortly after noon, my client and I exited the store with two jam-packed grocery carts. As we approached my vehicle, a young woman nearly hit an older man in an effort to get first dibs at my parking spot.

Highly annoyed, I decided to make this a teaching moment for my client. As we transferred the groceries to my trunk, I began to chat with my client about how ridiculous this woman looked for doing what she did in an effort to park close to the store. Even worse, well over five minutes had passed and she was still sitting there.

Once all the groceries were in the truck, 10 or so minutes had passed and the woman was still waiting patiently in her car for my parking spot. As my client and I walked away to return our carts to the store entrance, I sarcastically looked at my client and said: “Let’s walk to another store.”

She looked at me in awe, shaking her head and said: “Now, Dr. Nina, that’s just wrong, that woman waited for over 10 minutes to park”. I looked at my client and said: “I hope she never does it again, now let’s go”.

Once that woman saw us walk away, she began to mouth the worst obscenities about us. I couldn’t help but wonder why she was so angry.

Was it because I didn’t tell her?

Well, she hadn’t asked whether or not I was intending to leave so I didn’t feel obligated.

Was it because she’d wasted nearly 15 minutes of her time (and gas) being lazy?

I was never sure but most perplexing to me was the fact that as this woman exited her car I noticed that she had on athletic attire, as if she’d just left a gym.

So, what’s the moral of this story?

Well, it’s a simple one: Physical activity is fundamental to good health.

While a daily exercise bout is great, it’s totally counterproductive if you’re seated in a car, on a computer or on a couch for the majority of the day. Believe it or not, every hour you spend in a seated position increases your risk of heart disease by nearly 20% and your risk of early death from all preventable diseases by more than 10 percent, even if you exercise regularly.

Spontaneous Physical Activity Nina Cherie Franklin PhDTo this day, I’ve never parked my vehicle close to the entrance of any destination, whether rain, sleet or snow. This holds true even if the parking lot is empty.

Again, physical activity means everything when it comes to good health.

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Park Far Spontaneous Physical Activity Nina Cherie PhDMake time to get in a little activity whenever you can. This can be as simple as parking your vehicle far away from your final destination or even opting for the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator if you’re physically capable of doing so.

Physical activity doesn’t have to be all or nothing and exercise shouldn’t be a one-time a day event. Do a little something whenever you can to improve your health and your life.