Movement, defined as “The act, process, or result of moving” (your body, in this case), is the 5th of the Primal 6 keys of optimal health. We all know that movement is important, yet all we ever talk about is exercise, defined as “bodily (or mental) exertion”. By definition, they are not much different. However, exercise seems like something we have to make time for, sign up to, schedule in. Yet we have many opportunities for movement every day!
Here are at least 35 ways to maximise the amount of movement in your daily life to improve and maintain your health, mood and fitness, defined as “The condition of being physically fit and healthy”.
How to add movement into sedentary activities
Sit on a Swiss Ball at your desk
This simple change will make a huge difference to how your body feels at the end of the day, or end of the night if you spend an evening on the internet. Your hips and spine will stay loose and your core will remain active, all while sitting!
– Continually swivel your hips in circles, figure eights, and laterally side-to-side and front to back.
– Learn 5 more ways to reduce computer pain.
Get off the couch and onto the floor
When you are watching TV or a movie at home, you can be doing a variety of things with your body on the floor. As an added bonus, these will also keep you from mindlessly eating while you’re staring at the screen.
– Stretch your muscles that feel tight.
– Get into some yoga poses, changing poses when the scenes of your show change.
– See how long you can balance on one leg in different positions.
– Do some planks.
– Get something heavy and do some basic strength-training movements.
– See how many push ups and jumping jacks you can do on the commercials.
– For motivation and more fun, set up personal challenges or compete with a friend or family member who’s watching the show with you.
Stand up and walk around as much as possible
– When talking on the phone, stand up and pace or walk away from your computer.
– Instead of sending an email to a co-worker in the same office, stand up and visit them instead. It’s faster!
– When you get invited to sit and have a coffee with a friend, say “Let’s go for a walk instead.” If you spend a lot of time sitting in cafes, imagine how much walking you could be doing instead!
Do ‘airplane exercises’
Long commutes in the car, bus, train or plane mean lots of sitting and no way to walk around. However, you CAN do the exercises that they teach on long airplane rides – just wait for red lights if you’re driving!
– Lift your heels and stay on tip toes for seated calf raises. Extend your leg, put your heel on the floor and lean forward for seated calf stretches.
– Put your hands on the seat behind you and twist your body both ways.
– Roll your shoulders front and back. If you have room lift your arms with elbows bent, then rotate arms forward and back.
– Do tricep stretches (one arm bent over and behind your head).
– Put one foot on the other knee and bend forward for a butt and hip stretch.
Commit to skipping the shortcuts
No more drive-throughs!
This is a movement-killing trap, especially in America, where there are drive-though banks and pharmacies.
– Park the car and walk in! Which leads us to…
Park far away
– Especially if it’s not too cold or hot out, why not park really far away? This everyday exercise opportunity is continually overlooked in our competition to find the best parking spot, which usually means the closest. How about we start competing for the farthest spots?
– If you are going to a large mall, school campus or work complex, how about parking on the opposite side to the area where you need to go. Then you have to walk the entire length of the place!
No more escalators!
Forget this invention ever existed. Make a pact to yourself to never take an escalator again. If your fitness level or health is in such bad shape that climbing stairs is a huge challenge, then at least you’ve got yourself an exercise challenge without paying for a gym. Stairs are one of the easiest ways to get in some great cardiovascular exercise, without ever making time for it. Which leads us to…
See you later, elevator
Climbing steps in a high-rise building is like doing an aerobics class, so it would be silly to skip this perfect opportunity for incidental exercise. If you need motivation, try this:
– Make a pact with a co-worker to do the steps every day before you can eat your lunch. At the beginning of your lunch break, walk all the way down the steps to warm up, then climb all the way back up and back down again. Then go feed your well-earned hunger together.
– Get some co-workers together for a daily morning or lunchtime stairs race.
– Time yourself climbing the stairs every morning on your way up to work. Try each day to beat your previous times.
No excuses for parents
As parents of a toddler ourselves, we know that kids are often a great excuse for not having time for the type of workout you want to do. However, kids are the perfect catalyst to unscheduled, unbridled movement in your everyday life. Instead of being annoyed by their high energy, be grateful that they are basically tiny personal trainers, begging you to move your body.
– Dance along with your kids in the living room.
– Push your pram (stroller) up the biggest hills you can find.
– Play on the playground equipment while you’re there, instead of just watching your kids do it.
– Play chase, even when you are just walking together a short distance (except in the parking lot!).
– Give horseback, piggy back and shoulder rides.
– Safely twirl them around until you’re exhausted. “Again, Mummy, again!”
– Have a Kid Workout!
Put on some music
Whether you are cleaning the house, cooking dinner, or walking to the bus stop, good music will get your body moving in a different way.
– Vacuum to good music for guaranteed speed in your work, spring in your step and plenty of healthy movement.
– While you’re at it, do some squats while doing the laundry. Use less chemicals and more elbow-grease on that shower. The beat of the music will keep you going.
– Listen to your favourite tunes while cooking, and let yourself have a dance. Moving your body uninhibitedly is so fun and freeing.
– Follow the huge trend of commuters wearing earphones. The music may inspire you to stretch your legs on the bus or walk faster down the street.
Which of these everyday ‘exercises’ can you start doing today?