10 Tips to Increasing Movement in Your Daily Routine
At the foundation of your health are the habits you stick to each day. Taking care of your body on a day-to-day basis improves your productivity and mental health in the short term while promoting longevity in the long term.
While many people look for the "magic pill," the "secret" has always been to exercise consistently.
The Importance of Having a Daily Movement Routine
Keeping your body moving throughout your day prevents you from living a sedentary lifestyle, which significantly raises your risk for disease. That said, activity-packed days are critical in the long run. However, incorporating movement throughout your day also has benefits for the short term.
According to a study published in Sports Medicine, the correlation between a sedentary lifestyle and chronic fatigue is well documented. The reverse is also true; the more you incorporate movement into your daily routine and break up sedentary activities with active ones, the more energy you'll have as you go about your day.
Exercise also lowers stress levels and promotes better sleep. As you get older, staying fit and active each day will also protect your range of movement and help you maintain more muscle mass.
Exercising once a day, however, isn't enough to offset eight hours of sitting, such as during work. To truly offset this amount of sitting, you need more activity. Activity refers to how much you move throughout the day as a whole. If you work at a desk every day, you have to get a little creative to stay active.
10 Ways to Improve Your Daily Movement Routine
Here are 10 of the easiest ways to get more movement into your day:
1. Start Moving in the Morning
Get out of bed and begin your day with a walk, jog or run outdoors, hit the gym early, or attend a morning yoga class. Whatever you choose to do, make it routine each morning. If all you can spare is 10 minutes on your yoga mat before heading to work, that's fine. Starting off the day with movement, you'll start it off right.
2. Change the Way You Commute
If you can get to work on a bike instead of by car, start cycling. Or create a route that combines public transit with cycling. Pedaling your bicycle each day replaces sedentary time with exercise. Plus, it will build up your legs in no time.
3. Do Desk Exercises During the Workday
Every 20 to 30 minutes spent at your desk working, do two or three minutes or desk-friendly exercises. You can do mini squats at your chair, stand and do calf raises, and even do wall push-ups. If you're a little more confined at work, simply walk around the office to keep your blood circulating.
4. Schedule Your Workouts
While you don't need to work out seven days a week, you should be working out on a weekly basis. Getting into a workout "slump" where you aren't exercising properly is a slippery slope to a sedentary lifestyle. Whether you go to the gym three days a week or exercise in your own space five days a week, pencil in your workouts so that you don't miss them.
5. Take the Stairs
Whenever the opportunity, opt for taking the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. If you live in an apartment building or work in an office on a high floor, this can quickly become a huge source of activity in your day. Stair climbing gets your heart rate up and strengthens your lower body.
6. Try New Activities or Hobbies
Have you ever wanted to take up a hobby like gardening? What about a sport like tennis? Activities you enjoy that also get you moving are a double win. Even better, try to do the hobby with a friend or loved one who can hold you accountable. Find out what you like and stick to it to get more physical activity embedded in your routine.
7. Stretch Regularly
Stretching is a great way to inject more activity into your routine. Plus, it preserves your flexibility and range of motion over time. Stretch your largest muscles before bed while you slow down your breathing. This can help you wind down for bed, and it helps prevent muscle soreness after exercise.
8. Go for a Walk
It only takes 10 minutes to go for a brisk walk and go right back to what you were doing. Breaking your day up with walks where you listen to music and get your blood flowing can do wonders for your mood while keeping you from sitting too long.
9. Log 10,000 Steps Per Day
Experts say you need to take at least 10,000 steps per day to stay active. Try getting a pedometer to count the steps you take in a day and see if you're there.
10. Move While Watching TV
If you sit most of the day at a desk, spend some time in the car, and then sit down on the couch for TV, you're racking up a ton of sitting hours. Unwind in front of the TV if you want, but why not do some light aerobics while watching?
Finding More Ways to Get Moving
By no means is this list complete. If you start with these suggestions and think of more ways to get moving daily, you'll be able to keep yourself active every day, even if you have a desk job.