We all can stand to move more. Regular movement is incredibly beneficial to our overall health and is associated with maintaining a healthy weight, improving cognitive function, and reducing our risk of developing chronic diseases.
And the more we move, the better.
So if more movement is better, then that one hour a day at the gym probably isn’t enough. Yes, there are definitely benefits to lifting weights. It helps you build muscle and maintain that muscle as you age, boosts your metabolism, reduces your risk of injury, promotes heart and bone health, and helps manage blood sugar. But when it comes to overall health and longevity, we need to move regularly. We can’t offset 23 hours of not moving with one hour of moving—I don’t care how intense that gym session is.
The key is to actively look for ways to regularly integrate more movement into mundane daily activities.
Once you start incorporating more movement into your daily routine, it won’t take long for you to get hooked. You’ll start to wonder why you ever parked so close to the store or took the escalator up or down one story at the airport.
To get you started, here are 46 ideas to move more each day.
- Stretch for 5 minutes when you get up and 5 minutes before you go to bed.
- If you’re going somewhere within a mile or two of your house, walk instead of drive. If it’s within 3-4 miles, ride your bike.
- Ditch the elevator and take the stairs. At the airport, use the regular old stairs, not the escalator (and definitely not the travelators!).
- Park at the far end of the parking lot, or better yet, park a block or two away.
- Never sit when talking on the phone. If you’re on the phone you should be walking.
- Don’t do meetings at work in the conference room. Get outside and do walking meetings. (Bonus – walking meetings are probably more productive too!)
- Got a dog? Commit to walking them for at least 15 minutes twice a day.
- Don’t be afraid of cleaning the house. Household chores are excellent forms of regular movement!
- Don’t avoid uneven surfaces. Sidewalks are convenient, but your body would love to get off the beaten path now and then.
- Use a push mower instead of a power mower.
- If it snows, get outside and shovel. Even if it only snows an inch.
- Save money and wash your car at home by hand.
- Do your own yard work.
- Don’t sit to put on your socks. Instead, try standing on one leg as you put your sock on the opposite foot.
- When you get together with friends, don’t do the usual dinner or drinks. Try something more active like tennis, golf, or trying out a yoga class.
- If you’re in the same building or house, don’t text or email. Get up, walk to where the other person is, and connect face-to-face.
- Set a timer to remind yourself to get up and move for 5 minutes every hour.
- Volunteer to be the one who changes out the water jug or carries in the heavy delivery at work.
- Alternate between sitting and standing at your desk throughout the day.
- Swap out the desk chair for an exercise ball.
- Still watching TV with ads? Do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, or burpees during commercial breaks.
- Whenever weather permits, get outside and play.
- If you’re waiting for your kid to finish sports practice, use that as an excuse to move by walking around the field a few times while you wait.
- Get involved in an active hobby like disc golf, hiking, or geocaching.
- Have more sex.
- Enjoy meditation? Try active forms like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or yoga.
- Stay active through volunteering. Run/walk events, helping out with community gardens, and pitching in on clean-up days give you an opportunity to help your local community and move more.
- Deep clean something. Anything.
- When walking around the house, toss in the occasional lunging steps.
- Sit on the floor when you’re watching TV, folding the laundry, or hanging with the dog or your kids. It’s less comfortable than a chair, which will cause you to move around more often.
- Hula hoop.
- Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
- Whenever you’re sitting or lying down, try different ways to stand up.
- Try walking up stairs differently—walk sideways, skip a step, etc. (Just be careful and safe!)
- Jump more.
- Climb more. (Your inner 8-year-old is crying out to climb a tree again!)
- Practice balance whenever you can. Stay on painted lines, cracks in the sidewalk, curbs, etc.
- Go barefoot as much as you can.
- Get the Animal Moves card deck and randomly grab a couple of cards throughout the day and do those moves.
- Jump rope.
- If you’re only getting a few things at the grocery store, use a handheld basket, not a cart.
- No more drive-thrus. You really want that coffee at Starbucks? Park (on the far end of the parking lot) and walk in to get it.
- Reading or studying? Walk (carefully) around the house or hit the stationary bike while you do it. (This can also help you better retain what you’re reading.)
- Drink more water. This will help keep you hydrated and get you up more often to hit the bathroom.
- Been sitting all day at work, but want to relax in a nice warm bath? Take a shower instead.
- Swap out stationary board games at game night with games like hide and seek, kick the can, freeze tag, snowball fights, and other active classics.
What do you think of my list? In what ways do you like to incorporate more movement into your day? Let me know in the comments.