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It’s all too easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle these days, what with spending hours sitting at a work desk, bingeing in front of the TV, or hanging it out in various states of repose.
But, if you’re starting to feel the physical and mental toll of this increasingly stationary way of life, it’s time to make a change. Incorporating movement into your day can be the antidote to the lethargy and increased risk of developing diseases associated with prolonged sitting.
The British Journal of Sports Medicine even released guidelines on curbing sedentary lifestyles with light activities, showing that adding more movement into your day can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being. And, the good thing is that there are numerous ways to do so without dedicating long stretches of time to formal exercise.
How Can I Add More Movement to My Daily Routine?
Let’s explore some easy ways to incorporate more movement into your daily life. The key here is to accumulate enough movement throughout the day, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. So, let’s do this!
At the Office
Incorporate desk exercises while you’re at work. Try seated leg lifts, desk push-ups, or even seated marches. These simple movements can help you stay physically active even when you’re tied to your desk.
Take a Few Minutes of Stretch Breaks
Set reminders on your phone or computer to prompt you to take a short break, stand up and stretch. Reach for the ceiling, touch your toes, and do some gentle neck and shoulder rolls. Stretching can alleviate tension and add a touch of movement to your day.
Frequent Your Water Breaks
Increase your water intake during the day, which will also encourage more trips to the water cooler and, consequently, more movement. These short walks also provide an opportunity to work your legs and refresh your mind, keeping you more alert throughout the day.
Stand During Phone Calls
If you have phone calls to make, why not stand or pace around the room while talking? Since phone calls make a great excuse to multitask, do so with movement on your feet. It’s a small change, but it can significantly lower the risk of health problems brought on by a sedentary lifestyle.
Try Walking Meetings
Rather than conducting meetings in a conference room, consider a walking meeting at least once every week. Being in a dynamic, natural environment can lead to more engaging and insightful discussions and foster fun and creativity among the team.
Take the Stairs
If you’re in a building with stairs, opt for them over the elevator. Climbing stairs has been shown to offer a multitude of benefits that extend beyond just getting you from one floor to another, including promoting cardiovascular health and enhancing your lower body strength.
Use a Standing Desk
One common method to combat prolonged sitting is by using a standing desk. Instead of sitting for hours, you can switch to a standing position for a few minutes every hour. This extra movement can help maintain your muscles’ activity and even improve your posture.
Experiment with Stability Ball
If your office doesn’t accommodate standing desks, use a stability ball as your chair at the office or while working from home. This can help improve your balance and core strength and forces you to engage your muscles to stay upright.
Walk in Fresh Air
Make it a habit to get some air. Stepping outside for a walk in the fresh air provides a mental health reset. It’s a chance to clear your mind, gain inspiration, and break up the monotony of a busy schedule, making you more productive and insightful.
Again, Walk Instead of Driving
If possible, choose to walk or bike to work or on short trips instead of driving. This not only adds physical activity but also reduces your carbon footprint. It’s a meaningful step towards a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, adding depth to your daily actions.
Park Farther to Get Extra Steps
If you’re with a car, however, you can still make some extra steps by parking your car farther away from the entrance and then walking the rest of the way to your destination. It might take a bit more time, but it’s a clever way to accumulate points to reach your step count.
Fold Laundry Actively
Why let laundry folding be a sit-chore when it can be a chance to work on your fitness? By adding squats or leg lifts to this mundane task of folding laundry, you can make household chores double as a mini-workout, making your day more efficient and your body stronger.
Play with Balance
Challenge your balance by standing on one foot during activities like brushing your teeth or waiting for your coffee to brew. One-leg balancing is a subtle way to work on your stability and mindfulness. You’ll find that these brief interludes can bring clarity and insight.
Workout During Commercial Breaks
When watching TV, seize the opportunity during a commercial break to add movement. A few lunges, calf raises, or even jumping jacks can burn calories, lose weight, and keep your body moving. Like they say, make the most of every spare moment.
Stationary Bike or Exercise Bands
Incorporating a stationary bike or resistance bands is a smart move. It not only adds movement but can also help you develop strength and flexibility. Plus, it transforms downtime, like watching TV, into an opportunity for self-improvement.
Get Into Bodyweight Exercises
Incorporate bodyweight exercises like push-ups, planks, or squats within a week. Jump rope is also an excellent full-body workout that doesn’t require much space. Even just a few minutes a day of exercise can make a big difference in your strength and muscle tone.
Immerse in Fun and Active Hobbies
Engage in activities you find fun and active. This might include dancing, playing a sport, or going for a hike on the weekend. After all, it doesn’t feel like exercise when you’re having a good time. It’s a reminder that staying active can be an enriching, joyful experience.
What Are Small Ways to Move More?
Incorporating more movement doesn’t necessarily require hitting the gym for an intense full-hour workout. You can take small but significant steps to enhance your overall health by adding more activity to your day. Here are some small, practical ways to do just that:
Phone Calls Standing
Why not make your phone calls while standing or walking around? This small shift can add up to a lot less sedentary time.
Make it a habit to stand up and stretch or walk around for a few minutes every hour. It breaks the monotony of prolonged sitting and benefits your health.
Take the Stairs
Whenever possible, opt for the stairs over the elevator. It’s a fantastic way to sneak in some exercise during your workday.
Whenever you have the chance, choose walking over driving. This is especially beneficial for short trips, not only adding movement but also helping refresh your mind.
Gym Bag at Work
Keep a gym bag at your workplace, so you’re always ready for a quick workout before or after work.
How Do I Sneak More Movement?
Sneaking extra movement into your day is easier than you might think! Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, choose walking meetings, or try standing while on a phone call. To make it easier for you, set alarms to remind you to stand up and stretch, or do desk exercises. Even while watching TV, stretch or do light exercises during commercials. It’s all about making subtle shifts in your routine.
Research shows that just 30 minutes of physical activity per day can significantly lower the risk of heart failure, demonstrating that every bit of movement counts. The key is to be consistent and creative, making movement an integral part of your day.
The added bonus of integrating more movement into your day is that it can contribute to weight loss and burn calories, making it easier and more compelling to achieve your fitness goals.
So, whether you’re at the office, at home, or enjoying leisure time, make a conscious effort to balance work and regular movement throughout the day.
Stand, stretch, and keep those muscles engaged to reap the benefits of a more active lifestyle.