I’ve talked about this before: In my 20s I used to workout to get better abs. Now I strive for daily movement for my mental health. I get anxious and feel “stuck” if I don’t find a way to move every day.
Some days I’m in one of those movie montages where the main character is laser-focused and ripped by the end of “Eye of the Tiger” while others I struggle to get my butt out of bed. That’s why I try to incorporate movement throughout my entire day to counteract any dips in my energy or focus (aka parenthood).
Here are five ways to work more movement into your everyday routine to enhance the workouts you already do and keep your entire body happy:
Do a simple yoga flow every morning.
Not everyone can jump out of bed and immediately start running, lifting weights or kickboxing (kudos to those morning warriors). But moving right away will wake you up inside and out, loosening tight muscles and joints and improving circulation throughout the body. Adding some sun salutations (Surya Namaskar) to your morning routine is a great place to start. Flow through these eight postures, timed with your breath, as many times as you can:
- Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
- Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
- Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
- Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
- Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Take a walk after lunch.
Raise your hand if you’re always sleepy shortly after lunch? Seriously makes me envious of preschoolers with their afternoon naps. Who decided we had to give those up? I want a name. Rant over … We tend to get sleepy in the afternoon as our blood sugar levels fluctuate, especially after a particularly heavy lunch. Taking a short walk (aim for 30 minutes) after eating lunch helps your body digest your meal and will give you a boost of energy to get you through the rest of your day.
Stand up every hour.
If you sit at a desk or on the sofa working, you might feel stiff or sore by the end of the day and you and your pants may no longer feel like friends. Start setting a timer to stand up every single hour and move around a bit. Now that you’re on your feet, take a lap around the office or house, do some standing stretches or climb up and down a flight of stairs. Want more? Add a single exercise into the mix each hour like squats, lunges, bicep curls (if you have weights or water bottles handy) or even jumping jacks if you’re feeling extra sleepy.
Build cardio into your after-work tasks.
After every conference call, I do 20 jumping jacks. The little burst of energy is just enough to get me focused. As I fill up my water bottle, I do air squats by the sinks. As I’m waiting for my coffee, I do hip isolations that center on my core. I have also been known to run errands while wearing ankle weights. Does it look ridiculous? Yes. Yes it does. Do I care? Nope.
Stretch before bed.
Wait, we’re starting and ending the day with stretching? Yes. Both routines serve a different purpose and as you get older, you should stretch more and more. Taking five or 10 minutes to stretch before bed helps support the body’s natural detoxification, improves circulation and can reduce aches and pains in the morning. Lastly, it’s a chance to put on some music, light a candle, lock your partner and kids out of your room (just me?) and clear your mind in peace.
Committing to regular movement throughout the day supports your physical and mental health in so many ways. And if you’re at the start of your fitness journey, it can also be the first step in a healthier direction. Share how you move throughout the day in the comments.