36 Really Easy Ways To Start Moving More
I just had the amazing opportunity to assist Katy Bowman as she taught a retreat based on her book Dynamic Aging at the beautiful Kripalu Yoga Center.
I can’t even tell you how inspiring it was to see 150 people gather to learn how to add more movement to their lives. There were mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and husbands. People in their 20s and people in their 80s. Every single one of us aging every single day, but taking steps to do it better. It was a beautiful thing.
One of Katy’s biggest messages? Just move. It doesn’t have to be hard.
In that spirit, I’m sharing a list of really easy things you can do to start moving more – or even to start preparing to move more. Pick any one of them and start your movement journey today!
Super Easy: Just Start Reading
If you’re not quite ready to move more, how about some inspiration? Here are a few of my favourite books that inspire movement. Want bonus movement points? Get the audio version and go for a walk while you listen.
#1. Read Move Your DNA, by Katy Bowman. Why exercise is different from movement, why you need movement, and how to move more of your cells.
#2 Read The Story Of The Human Body, by Daniel Lieberman. How we got the bodies we have and why modern lives aren’t serving us well.
Still Easy: Try Sitting Around. Differently.
Changing up the way you sit is a no-brainer. Sitting differently gives you movement while you SIT AROUND.
#3 Learn to sit at the edge of your chair with a neutral pelvis. Better loading for your pelvic floor, lower back, and core.
#4 Try sitting on the floor (with a bolster or cushion to help you stay in a neutral pelvis). Now you get more varied hip position and the work of going down to and getting up from the floor.
#5 Sit differently when you’re on the floor. V-sit. Cross your legs one way. Cross your legs the other way. Kneel with your toes tucked under. Kneel with your toes pointed. Place the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop out to the side. Place your legs straight out in front of you.
#6 Try looking out the window at a distance of more than 30 feet while you’re sitting. 20 seconds of this will give your eyes a welcome break.
Change Up Your Home. Yep, Still Easy.
How about rearranging some stuff to naturally build in more movement?
#7 Put your electric kettle on the floor. Squat down – don’t bend at the waist – when you use it and you’ll build a bunch of extra squats into your day.
#8 Rearrange your kitchen so the stuff you use most often is inconveniently high and low. This will force you to rearrange your body to get out the items you use most often.
#9 Make yourself a texture mat with rocks or other natural objects. You can use a boot tray or the lid of a tupperware box or anything else that will stop your rocks from falling out. Then, stand on this box when you’re doing simple daily stuff like washing dishes or brushing your teeth,
#10 Make yourself a standing workstation – this can be as simple as moving your laptop onto your kitchen counter. That’s what I’m doing right now.
#11 Get some simple equipment like a yoga block or a half-round foam roller and leave it where you stand a lot. Use it to build more stretching and balance into time you’re already spending standing.
#12 Switch the side of the bed you sleep on. Or turn over your mattress. Or decrease the number of pillows you use. Each change will get your body to adapt to a small new thing.
#13 If you normally wear shoes in the house, start going barefoot when at home as long as you feel it’s safe for you to do so. If you normally go barefoot in the home, try going barefoot outside more often.
Plan Different Activities. Not As Easy, But Not Very Hard.
How about trying some new hobbies?
#14 Learn how to garden – or even just plant a tomato plant or some herbs. Caring for your plant(s) will give you more movement naturally and a bonus payout – delish food!
#15 Seeing friends? Suggest going for a walk instead of going for a drink or sitting down for coffee.
#16 Making a phone call? Use your headset and go for a walk.
#17 Does your home need some fixing up? Try doing it yourself. You’ll save money, maybe learn some skills, and get lots of novel movement in. I speak from experience – we’re doing most of our current reno ourselves and I have never squatted and reached so much in my whole life!
#18 Try hiking on the weekend. A nature break is one of the best things you can do for your brain and body. Bring lots of snacks and water and have fun!
#19 Go to a movement class or try one online. I just launched a new program called Take10 where you learn how to move better in 10 minutes a day, so it’s perfect for busy lives.
#20 Finished dinner? Go for a short walk with someone you love. Or a good audio book.
Easy ways to add more movement to your walking
If you’re going for a walk, you might as well make it even more movement-y.
#21 Wear your most minimal shoes. Ideally shoes should have no raised heel and no upward lift at the toes (aka toe spring) but have flexible soles, be fully attached to your foot, and have lots of room for your toes. These shoes let your feet move more. If your feet have been in regular shoes your whole life, though, you may want to transition slowly. Here’s how.
#22 Pick a route with some hills – even just cutting through the BMX park instead of staying on the sidewalk counts. Hills give you different movement input than flat terrain.
#23 Try walking on textured surfaces when you find them. Grassy verges, beds of rocks, and other non-paved surfaces are surprisingly common. This is best done in minimal shoes, of course.
#24 If you see a tree or a playground, try climbing or clambering around. Maybe even plan to go by the playground on your walk so you can move your body in unexpected ways. This also works with park benches, low fences that are wide enough to balance on, and other small obstacles.
Back To Really Easy: Try Standing Around. Differently.
Simply learning to stand differently can add more movement variety to your life and give your tissues better loading.
You can practice this all together, or one bit at a time – both count!
How About Moving While You Drink Your Morning Coffee? Easy, right?
I find my AM coffee time is a great time to work gentle movement into my day. In fact, it’s so good that I’m making a YouTube series about it. Here are a few ideas (if you like these, follow my YouTube channel so you’re notified when I put up new videos). You can do some of these while you brush your teeth, chop your veggies, or work on your email, too.
#29 Roll out your feet.
Switch Up Doing Stuff You’re Already Doing. Soooo Easy….
Making your daily activities a bit more movement-y is really helpful. And yes, easy.
#32 Fold your laundry while you sit or squat on the floor. Lots of hip movement, reaching and stretching!
#33 How about not leaning on anything when you put on your socks or shoes? This is harder than it sounds.
#34 When you’re carrying your laundry hamper, keep your body straight up and down instead of poking out one hip. This’ll help you use more core muscles.
#35 Sweep the floor with a pan and brush while squatting instead of vacuuming or using a long broom.
#36 Walk to the grocery store and then carry your stuff home. If you’re like me and can’t possibly carry all the stuff you buy at a single time, you could try getting groceries more often. Or you could use a basket AND a cart at the store. Drop your cart in one place and then walk around with your basket until it’s too heavy to carry. Bring it back, unload, and repeat until finished.
Ok, I’ve gotta get back to working on the reno.
As part of my own commitment to moving more, we’ve been doing most of our renovation ourselves. Today I’m painting baseboards again, and it’s time for me to get back to it. But there are so many more ways to move just a little more and a little better – I bet you have some great ideas I haven’t thought of yet. I’d love to hear them – put them into the comments below!
Petra is a movement educator and personal trainer with a passion for helping people find greater ease, joy and health in their bodies. She believes that better movement can help every body – and she’s always happy to chat about it. When she’s not teaching, you’ll probably find her hanging out on a set of monkey bars.