Humans are designed to move. Modern life is generally quite sedentary and can therefore lead to unwanted weight gain, poor posture, joint pain, and eye strain.
Everyone knows that it’s important to get at least 30 minutes of movement per day, but you might find it difficult to find the time, space, or motivation to do so.
The good news is that there are many ways to improve your daily movement without worrying about any of those constraints. All you need to do is care about doing good for your body and wellbeing.
It’s been shown that improving your daily movement protects against heart failure, back pain, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get more movement in and increase your total daily energy expansion every day.
1. Use your morning routine to your advantage
Moving in the morning is a great way to wake your joints and muscles up and set the tone for the rest of the day. You don’t have to do a whole workout in the morning, but consider these options:
- Do some squats or lunges while you’re brushing your teeth. You could even do a wall squat and hold it while you’re brushing, building up to being able to hold it for the full 2 minutes.
- Walk or bike to get your morning coffee or breakfast if you usually drive for it on your way to work.
- Build a stretching routine. If nothing else, five minutes of stretching feels amazing and does wonders for your body. Focus on your upper and lower back, neck, and hips if you’re sitting a lot every day.
2. Add movement into your commute
Your commute doesn’t necessarily have to be passive. Here are some ways that you can add movement in.
- If you can walk or bike instead of drive, do that.
- If you have to drive, do glute, calf, ab, or forearm clenches to get a little strength training in.
- Take the stairs, park farther away, or take the long way to work to get extra steps in.
3. Move during work
Some people have jobs that require a lot of movement, and if you’re one of them, good for you! But if you’re working a more traditional office job, then you’re likely quite sedentary. Try these suggestions out.
If you’re working in an office:
- Take your phone calls standing and maybe even walking.
- Get a standing desk if possible. You can do calf raises, or squeezes of any muscle you’d like.
- Set timers to make sure that you take regular breaks and move your body, even if it’s just a stroll around the office (or your home).
- Do a lunch break workout. This is easy (even without equipment) if your work from home, but a lot of offices have gyms on site or have partnerships with gyms. This is your sign to take advantage of that.
- Take the stairs.
- If you work from home or if your office allows, try out an under-the-desk elliptical or combine a small treadmill with your standing desk.
4. Enjoy movement as a hobby or passion
A lot of people are turned off by the word “exercise”, but your body needs to move. Rather than focusing on loaded concepts such as weight loss, think instead of how you can dedicate time to movement that you enjoy.
This way, you look forward to the activity and make it a positive experience. There are many ways that you can move, have fun, and connect with yourself. You can take a class, giving you the opportunity to make new friends and have even more fun, or learn online so that you can enjoy the safety and comfort of your own space.
- Dancing – jazzercise, zumba, salsa.
- Martial arts – tae kwon do, karate, aikido, jujitsu, muay thai, boxing.
- Yoga – aerial, hot.
- Cardio – cycling, swimming, horse-riding, running, rowing.
The type of activity that you choose should suit you. Some people are better suited to cardio because they don’t like the type of mental strain that can come with weightlifting, or because their fitness goal is to get faster and improve their heart health. Others are more suited to yoga because its calm, meditative qualities counterbalance their stressful lifestyle.
Think about what you’re like and what might suit you; there really is something for everyone. Try a couple of activities out and see what sticks!
5. Combine exercise with leisure time
A great hack to motivate yourself to move more is to combine media consumption or leisure time with some kind of movement.
There are a few ways that you can do this, such as:
- Reading, watching TV, being on the phone with a friend, or listening to a podcast/audiobook while doing static stretching, Pilates, or calisthenics.
- Having a show that you only watch when you’re doing indoor cardio (e.g., on a rowing machine, elliptical, treadmill). You’d be surprised by how easily an hour goes by when you’re watching something you’re interested in. Plus, this will motivate you to keep at it, because you want to know what happens next on your show!
- Go for a run, cycle, or physical class with your friends. You can enjoy hanging out during the class and bond over a shared interest and experience. If you can’t talk during, then make it a tradition to go for a meal after.
Make movement easy and enjoyable
When you make movement and fitness a part of your life rather than an inconvenience, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to accomplish your goals. Try out these ideas and see how much of a difference they make!