Transform Your Health And Wellness With 16 Movement Tips From Top Experts
Your body doesn’t know if you’re at the gym or if you’re in the shower – as long as you’re moving, it’s going to be happy!
Since movement is a lot easier to work into our busy lives than carving out gym time, I asked my favourite popular movement experts for their best movement tips to move more in daily life, no extra time required. They really came through with amazing, creative ideas that show how easy it can be to increase your movement nutrition. There’s something for everyone here, including my personal favourites from Katy Bowman, Brooke Thomas and Brea Johnson. Plus, I couldn’t resist slipping one in myself. I hope you love this list as much as I do!
When you’re done reading, I’d love to hear your favourite trick for adding extra movement to your day, in the comments!
#1 “Multitask Your Daily Life!”
I’m busy and don’t have time to set aside one or two hours every day to work on just corrective exercises. My trick for sneaking a little bit more movement into my day is to use up the little bits of time when I’m not really doing anything, or nothing important. Ya know, multitasking! 🙂 Like holding hands with my feet doing a figure four stretch while washing my toes, so I get a toe stretch and hip stretch at the same time in the shower. I try to do single leg balance and forward hip hinging while loading the dishwasher. And I work on my toe extension (toe lifting) and abduction (spreading) while sitting on the toilet.
These sorts of things get me greater positive change and help me create a new body shape – one that feels and works better – faster!
#2 “Get your hips and glutes to do the work instead of your lower back!”
I have three little people in my life. On the regular, I’m wiping faces, fixing hair, giving baths, etc. Instead of mindlessly bending over to help them, I use a standing squat (with vertical shins, of course) to get down the their level. Self care and kid care all at the same time!
Jennifer Hoffman, Healthy Moving
#3 “What’s worked really well for me is cleaning my house as movement breaks.”
I use cleaning the house for my movement breaks. It’s quite entertaining to watch – I will go out and sweep the patio and water my plants, which requires a lot of larger shoulder movements – alternating between right and left side and using my less dominant side to do the work. I squat to check my plants for caterpillars or aphids. Then inside, I may squat down and walk around washing the floor with a hand rag other than a long-handle mop. I will also crawl and mop with the hand-held rag, to the amusement of my husband. You can use any household chore and make it fun – forward bends for laundry, filing papers while standing on one foot, jumping stairs between floors…the sky is the limit for what you can do to transform dreaded chores into movement opportunities.
Galina Denzel, Move Well Studio
#4 “I use my phone time as movement time.”
Getting enough movement into my day is something I have had to think about much more in this last year than ever before. I lived in NYC for 10 years, and living there meant I walked anywhere from 5 to 8 miles every day, just getting around to see all my private yoga clients. Now that I live in a car based culture, I have had to look for ways to keep my body moving!
I try to avoid sitting down in a chair while taking phone calls. As much as possible, whether I have a personal or professional phone call to make, I grab my phone, ear buds and head out to walk the trail behind my house. If walking outside doesn’t feel like an option– than while I’m on the phone I move between gentle yoga shapes like sphinx, side lying savasana or upavista konasana.
Francesca Cervero, Francesca Cervero Yoga
#5 “Your garden can be your best work-out – and a chance to help the planet.”
#6 “Change the shape of your habitat.”
Out of all the changes I’ve made over the years–to my workout routine, my footwear, my diet, my lifestyle–changing the shape of my home, by getting rid of living and dining room furniture, adding river rock to my foyer, and ditching my cushy mattress and pillow, has been the most effective and efficient way of changing the shape of my body. My hips and knees and core and leg muscles carry me to and away from the floor a hundred times a day. The wobbly, textured rock paths I walk over forty times a day force me to pay attention and keep my feet and ankles strong. While you move through your habitat, your habitat moves you right back.
Katy Bowman, Nutritious Movement
#7 “Playtime with my dogs gives my body a break, too!”
#8 “I like to create little movement scavenger hunts for my son and I to get extra movement into our days.”
I like to create little movement scavenger hunts for my son and I to get extra movement into our days. The way it works is to pick a natural movement or two- things like jumping, carrying, climbing over things, walking- and either use them as a theme for the day, or for some time out on the trail. So for example, on a full day that we deemed a carrying day, I wouldn’t use a cart at the grocery store, and maybe I’d carry my son (aged 9) around the neighborhood for a bit, and instead of dropping my clean sheets off at my office by parking nearby (I’m a Rolfer, we always need clean sheets…), I would park far away and head-carry them there in a bundle or simply chest carry them.
On the trail my son loves creating movement scavenger hunts. We’ll head out into the woods and at the start of our walk he’ll pick a few things, say balancing, lifting, and throwing, and then we look for as many opportunities to do those movements as possible. We’ll balance on fallen trees, lift heavy stones and logs, and throw rocks into the pond. It’s an easy way to see the world through a movement lens and to turn everything into your playground!
#9 “I brought the gym into my home.”
When our 2 year old son was diagnosed with Autism we decided that it’d be best for our family if I stayed home to be there for his intensive therapy. So as a former personal trainer who got plenty of movement in throughout the day this new lifestyle required me to find ways to integrate natural movement into my daily life without extra time.
I had to expand the way I saw my home and find opportunities to nourish my body with multi-dimensional and complex movements that I otherwise would miss out on due to our very busy schedule. I made a few modifications in my home that easily reinforced frequent movement breaks– -which actually help me feel more productive and energized to tackle daily tasks. For example, I have a 2×4 board that I can lay out on the floor for balancing movements while playing with my son. I also installed a pull-up bar into a door frame so that I can brachiate on the regular and reap the many benefits of hanging whenever I walked through the door.
Finding more ways to move your body without adding in more time to your already busy schedule really requires you to look around and get creative with your environment. Immerse yourself and explore all the possibilities to move, play, and restore.
#10 “Work in more walking with what you’re already doing.”
#11 “Treat your feet while you brush your teeth.”
#12 “This simple strategy reminds me to move more while working, and makes me more productive, too!”
When I get in the flow of work, I can find myself stuck in one position for hours. I use the Pomodoro Technique to remind me to get up and move for just five minutes every twenty five. Pomodoro improves productivity by keeping your mind fresh and focused, and the movement breaks are great for improving blood sugar, insulin response, and keeping your body healthy and mobile.
#13 “I wake up my hips while I make coffee to wake up my brain.”
#14 “Take the road less traveled. Literally.”
#15 “Stand up for shoes on.”
#16 “Transition to a movement-friendly wardrobe.”
Building in more daily movement is the perfect way to stay healthy and active! But sometimes we get busy and forget. So I made you this super handy cheatsheet to help you out – hooray! Just print it out and stick it somewhere you know you’re going to see it. Each time you do one of the expert movement tips, check it off. Then, repeat all day. Or, you can use the fillable PDF version to keep on top of all these simple but powerful ways to add more movement to your life!
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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. She's on the road right now, travelling the world and moving in as many ways as possible. When she's not out exploring or working on her movement practice, you can probably find her hanging on some monkey bars.