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Do you know that our bodies are designed to move? Remember that our much healthier ancestors were constantly on the move, engaging in diverse movements to survive on a daily basis.
But in today’s fast-paced society with several hours of sitting at desks or in front of screens, many of us find ourselves stuck and fall victim to sedentary routines.
More movement and physical activity is now becoming a sought-after element in our daily lives and in maintaining our health and preventing the increased risk of developing chronic diseases or heart failure.
In this article, we’ll explore practical and enjoyable ways to get more movement into our day, even if we are busy at work. From simple adjustments at work to sneaking in stretches throughout the day, we’ll provide actionable tips to help embrace a more physically active lifestyle.
Let’s discover how we can break free from the “movement drought” and bring vitality back into our daily routine!
How Much More Movement or Physical Activity Do You Need?
Before making any changes or planning ahead, it’s important to assess your current level of physical activity. Take a moment to reflect on how much movement you’re getting on a daily basis. Are you mostly sedentary or moderately active?
Then, identify opportunities to incorporate more movement into your day-to-day life. Think about your daily routine—are there any moments when you can squeeze in a few extra minutes of physical activity? Maybe it’s during your morning commute, lunch break, or even while watching TV and taking phone calls. Every small step counts!
How Can I Increase My Movement in a Day?
The journey to a more active and energized lifestyle starts with small steps, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way! Let’s dive in!
Start the Day With Unique Movements
Kickstarting your day with movement sets a positive tone and energizes your body and mind for the tasks ahead.
A simple yet effective way to infuse movement into your morning routine is to do quick stretches or calf raises. Before even leaving your bedroom, take a few minutes to stretch your body. Reach up high, touch your toes, and rotate your neck and shoulders. With calf raises, lift your heels off the ground while standing to engage your calf muscles.
Want something different? Try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand or stand on one leg. It may feel a bit awkward at first, but this simple switch engages different muscles, stimulates neural pathways, and put the rest of your body to good use.
Maximize Your Commute with Movements
Your commute to work provides a great opportunity to increase your movement levels.
Opt for active transportation to make the most of your journey. Biking or walking to work can significantly contribute to your daily movement goals and add a dose of fresh air to your morning routine. It’s a great way to kickstart your metabolism and invigorate your mind before you even step foot into the office.
If driving is your primary mode of transportation, park your car a bit farther away from your workplace. This simple park adjustment forces you to take a few extra steps, increasing your movement and avoiding the temptation to immediately plop down in your car seat.
Stay Physically Active at Work
Finding ways to stay active during your workday can significantly impact your overall health and well-being.
If you have the option, consider using a standing desk. By alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day with standing desks, you can engage your muscles, improve posture, and increase calorie expenditure.
Another option to break away from the sedentary trap of a traditional desk chair is to use a stability ball to sit in or an active sitting chair. Sitting on a stability ball encourages micro-movements to keep you active while you work.
And, instead of confining your meetings to a stuffy conference room, why not take them outdoors? Walking meetings not only get you moving and away from the phone but also provide a change of scenery and fresh air, stimulating creativity and productivity. It’s a win-win walk for both your physical and mental well-being.
Make Lunch and Short Breaks More Energizing
Lunch breaks and short breaks throughout the day present excellent opportunities to squeeze in extra movement.
Instead of spending your entire lunch break sitting at your desk, dedicate extra time or an hour to get moving. Take a brisk walk outside to stretch your legs and clear your mind. Engage in simple exercises like squats, lunges, or stretches to invigorate your body and improve circulation. Use this time to recharge not only your energy but also your body’s movement quotient.
Also, break up long periods of sitting by incorporating short walking breaks into your routine. Set an alarm or use a reminder app to prompt you to stand up, walk, and move every hour or so. Use these breaks to walk around the office or take the stairs.
Make Time for Exercises
Regular exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Let’s explore some strategies to carve out dedicated exercise time to incorporate movement into your daily routine.
Make exercise a non-negotiable part of your day by setting aside dedicated time for physical activity. Whether it’s in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening, find a time that works best for you and stick to it.
Having a consistent exercise routine whether at the gym or your workspace helps you stay committed and ensures you prioritize your health and well-being.
Don’t let your desk job be an excuse for inactivity. Take short breaks throughout the day to perform simple stretches and desk exercises. Stand up and do some shoulder rolls or gentle neck stretches. These movements help release tension, improve circulation, and prevent stiffness from sitting for extended periods.
Also, small exercise equipment, like exercise bands, can add variety and intensity to your workouts. Keep exercise bands at your desk or in your bag for quick resistance exercises. You can perform bicep curls, shoulder presses, or squats using the bands, effectively engaging your muscles without requiring much space.
Create Engaging Daily Tasks
Our daily tasks and chores provide excellent opportunities to sneak in extra movement and make our routines more active.
Cleaning the house or doing the dishes are some of the ways. Turn up the music while you vacuum or mop the floors and engage your core and leg muscles as you scrub and wipe surfaces. By adding movement to your cleaning routine, you’ll not only have a cleaner house but also a healthier body.
Folding laundry doesn’t have to be a sedentary chore either. Instead of sitting or standing in one place while folding laundry, make it a dynamic activity. Incorporate squats or lunges between folding each item or make multiple trips up the stairs as you carry those clothes.
Get creative, make daily tasks more active, and reap the benefits of staying active in your daily life.
Dance and Shake It Off
Who says exercise has to be formal and structured? Dancing and shaking it off can be fun, liberating, and a great way to move your body.
Put on your favorite upbeat music and get your body moving. Whether it’s a solo dance party in your living room, a spontaneous kitchen dance while making dinner, or grooving to the rhythm during a break at work, dancing is a joyful way to stay active.
Whenever you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or need a quick energy boost, take a moment to shake it off. Literally shake your body from head to toe, releasing tension and activating your muscles. It’s a simple but effective movement that can provide an instant pick-me-up and refresh your mind and body.
According to the British Journal of General Practice, not only does dancing add fun to your day and physical fitness but also has positive effects on mental health. They release endorphins, reduce stress levels, and boost overall well-being. So, don’t be shy—let the music guide you and dance like nobody’s watching!
Sneak in More Movement Throughout the Day
Even if you have a busy schedule, there are plenty of opportunities to infuse movement into your daily activities.
For example, instead of scrolling through your phone while waiting for an appointment or waiting in line at the grocery, use that time to do some quick stretches, walk in place, or perform a set of jumping jacks.
Don’t be a couch potato during TV time. Use commercial breaks or even your favorite TV show as an opportunity to stand up and get moving. Perform bodyweight exercises like squats or push-ups or challenge yourself to hold a plank for the duration of a show. It’s a fun way to make TV time more active and burn extra calories.
By incorporating movement into these typically sedentary situations, you’ll increase your daily activity level and make the most of your time.
What Are the Most Important Forms of Exercise Movement?
Formal Exercise Routines
Setting aside dedicated exercise time and following a structured routine is a big yes to our health. Whether it’s hitting the gym, joining a fitness class, or following an at-home workout program, formal workout routines provide an opportunity to engage in targeted exercises that work for different muscle groups, improve cardiovascular health, and help us lose weight.
By allocating a single hour or even a few minutes each day for formal workouts, we can significantly lower the risk of various health issues and achieve our weight loss goals.
Stretches and Balancing Exercises
Stretching is an essential component of any exercise routine. It helps improve flexibility and range of motion and prevents injuries. Long stretches that target different muscle groups, such as the mid back, can alleviate tension and improve posture.
Also, practicing balancing exercises, like standing on one foot or using a stability ball, can enhance stability, core strength, and overall body control.
Quick Walks and Taking the Stairs
Walking is one of the simplest yet most effective forms of exercise. A quick walk during lunch breaks or throughout the day can add movement time to our routine, helping us burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and boost our overall well-being.
Similarly, opting for stairs instead of escalators or elevators provides an excellent opportunity to get our heart rate up, engage our leg muscles, and fit in extra movement.
Do note that the most important forms of exercise movement are the ones that work for you and can be incorporated into your daily life. Finding ways to stay physically active, whether through formal exercise routines or by adding movement to daily activities, can have a significant impact on our health, weight loss goals, and overall well-being.
By finding opportunities to add enough movement to daily tasks and embracing the joy of moving, you’ll discover that fitness doesn’t have to be confined to a gym or dedicated workout time. It can be a part of your everyday life, which should be, in the first place.
Start small and gradually increase your movement over time. By taking consistent steps towards a more active lifestyle, you can experience significant benefits for your body and mind.
So, seize those moments from the start of your day to the tasks you perform, move your body, and enjoy the added bonus of improved health and well-being!