8 Ways to Get More Movement into Your Day

October 6, 2022 1:58 pm

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We are living in a movement-drought. The evidence is all around us, we only have to go back three or four generations to see how much more movement was required and expected in day-to-day life of our much healthier ancestors. While we can’t offset or undo several hours of stillness with a single hour of exercise there are ways we can inject more movement into the day.

Here are some ideas and practices that can help us not fall victim to the trap of being someone who crushes it at the gym and then, for the remainder of the day, crushes the chair.

1. Morning Full-Body Warm-Up Routine
Start every morning with a full-body warm-up routine that will prepare you mentally and physically for your day. Start with the feet and ankles, then move up to knees, hips, low-back, mid-back, shoulders, arms, neck and face. Take a deep breath and focus how each part feels as you exhale. Repeat for each section. In the next round take a deep breath and slowly move each part as you exhale. For the third round think something positive as you move your breath through the body.

2. Dedicated Exercise Time
It is important to find some dedicated exercise time that works for you. Exercise becomes less of a chore if you choose activities that you enjoy and switch it up. For instance, one day laps in the pool, the next day could be a walk to the gym and lifting some weights, or go for a bike ride with the family. There are many options, but important thing is getting a dedicated time into your daily life.

3. Dynamic Work Station
Standing desks are only part of the solution. When you swap one static position (sitting still) for another static position (standing still) it is not the answer to the sedentary question. Create a work environment that allows you to sit, stand, squat, kneel and pace throughout the day. Be dynamic in your work life and you won’t get as stiff or as sleepy.

Swapping two minutes of sitting for two minutes of movement each hour was shown to lower the risk of premature death by 33 percent in one study. If you don’t have a fancy watch that reminds you to stand, set a timer on your phone to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and turn some of those under-used leg, core and back muscles on. Getting up for a few minutes each hour is not only a great way to get more movement but it is also a great way to get energized, refocused and ready for whatever is next on your to-do list.

4. Lunch Time Walk
Reasons to plan for and taking a walk immediately after lunch and before diving back into work are:
*15 minutes of walking after eating, improves blood glucose control.
*Ten three-minute bouts of brisk walking or one 30-minute bout of moderate to brisk walking after a meal lowers postprandial blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
*Walking has cognitive benefits, improving cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents and boosting creativity in pretty much everyone.
*It reduces stress and is a surefire way to lower cortisol.
*Just going for a 30-minute walk increases killer T-cells and other markers of immune function.
*Because walking is not difficult, we can take that time to also concentrate on our thoughts, work through problems, come up with new ideas, and discover solutions.
*Walking wakes you up (especially walking up some stairs) and makes those afternoon meetings much more tolerable.

“Walking is a super-food and it is the defining movement of being a human.” (Katy Bowman)

5. The Commute
What can you to get creative with your commute can not only help you score some extra movement points but it can also lower your carbon footprint?

The Happy Commuter study found that people were happiest when they walked, rode the train, or cycled to work—in that order. People reported lower satisfaction when they traveled by car, subway, or bus—in that order. Interestingly enough, that aligns well with getting some extra movement in our day as well. Don’t fight for a seat on the train, subway or the bus, maintaining your balance on a moving vehicle counts for some interesting muscle activation.

6. Do Errands on Foot
We all have things we need to pick up from the store, or appointments or lessons to get to after work or dinner. That’s another perfect time to ditch the car, grab a backpack and get it done under your own power.

Sure, walking can take more time than getting in the car, but with a little planning ahead and some practice however, the resulting clear head and invigorated body is well worth the extra time. And really, did you need to hurry home to watch yet another episode on Netflix?

7. TV Time is Movement Time
The invention of the TV remote control as the beginning of the end for healthy movement. Here is a challenge: use some double-sided carpet tape and stick your remote control back onto the TV.

During TV time, use commercial breaks as a cue to get up and move. We all hate being advertised to, so why not get up and leave the room? Another option is to put a yoga mat or mat-like rug between you and the TV. If you can spend at least some of your watching time sitting on the ground, stretching, moving and getting your body into some underused positions, you will be contributing to your mobility rather than lowering it. Mobility is a true case of use it or lose it, so use it!

8. Bedtime Stretching

Simple stretching before bed can be very beneficial. If you have aching muscles or joints, some gentle stretching and deep breathing can help ease your aches and allow you to get to sleep faster. This can also help release any tension that you built up during the day and when you go to bed feeling relaxed and at ease, you know that you will have a more restful night.

An added bonus is that the 15-20 minutes you spend focused on your body and your breath is also 15-20 minutes that you are not focusing on the TV, work email, or social media. These activities and the devices we view them on have been shown to disrupt your sleep and even impair your body’s ability to secrete the sleep hormone called melatonin.

Be Creative
Chances to get more movement in your day are everywhere if you know where and how to look for them. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the furthest spot from the building, make multiple trips up the stairs with laundry or groceries, do squats or lunges waiting for the dryer to finish. The more movement you can get in a day, the better your sleep and the better you sleep the better your health.

Aches and pains keeping you from moving? At Body & Soul Massage in Salem Ma our talented Massage therapists use a variety of techniques to alleviate that pain and get you moving again. Visit our website www.bodysoulsalem.com to learn more about our pain relief packages or call 978-825-0040 and start your path to wellness today!