In our fast-paced, sedentary world most of us are spending hours and hours hunched over a desk or engrossed in digital screens with little to no movement. In fact, a recent study found that many adults spend more than 70% of their waking hours sitting!
Knowing how pervasive sitting culture is, the common belief is that an hour or so of exercise during the day will offset the negative effects from long periods of sitting. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and prolonged periods of sitting have been linked to cardiometabolic disease, higher risks of all-cause mortality, diabetes, obesity and other conditions. In reality, our bodies do best when they get smaller, more frequent movements sprinkled in throughout the day.
Current research suggests that moving 5 minutes every half hour can offset the harms of sitting. Even moving every hour is still good and will help lower your blood pressure and provide other health benefits.
The point is – just move!!! It doesn’t have to be hard. And by taking more “movement snacks” throughout your day you’re not only getting physical health benefits, but mental ones as well, including decreases in fatigue and increases in creativity and productivity.
So today I’m sharing a list of 15 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!
Just Start Reading
Tip #1: Movement books
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.
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.
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.
Read Playing With Movement: How To Explore The Many Dimensions Of Physical Health And Performance, by Todd Hargrove. Learn about solving ‘movement problems’ and a wide range of other topics, including stress physiology, fitness, complex systems theory, and the role of the environment in shaping health and behavior.
Learn How To Sit Differently
Tip #2: Discover how to sit with a neutral pelvis
And changing up the way you sit is a no-brainer because sitting differently gives you movement while you SIT AROUND.
Tip #3: Try Floor Sitting
Sitting on the floor (with a bolster or cushion to help you stay in a neutral pelvis) instead of in chairs gets you so much more bang for your movement buck! Think more strength and mobility, zero extra time!! In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about why it’s so great and how you can get started.
Tip #4: Change Up Positions When You’re On The Floor
Variety is SO important for the body. Why not switch things up (often!) while you’re sitting 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. Get creative and have fun exploring!
Tip #5: Move Your Eyes
Eyes are an essential part of our bodies and spending lots of time in front of computer and phone screens isn’t great. Why not give your eyes a welcome break by 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 nice reprieve!
Learn To Stand Differently
Tip #6: Hips over heels alignment
Almost everyone stands with their pelvis pushed way forward which can causes issues with the feet, pelvic floor and lower back. When you practice standing with your hips over your heels you not only add more movement variety to your life but also give your tissues better loading.
Add Some Gentle Movement Into Your Daily Routines
I find my AM coffee time is a great time to work gentle movement into my day. Here are a few ideas you can easily do while enjoying your morning coffee. (You can do some of these while you brush your teeth, chop your veggies, or work on your email, too!)
Tip #7: Roll out your feet
We spend a lot of time of time sitting which can lead to stiff, painful feet. Grab a tennis ball and try this yummy massage to wake up foot muscles, mobilize your feet & toes and improve toe strength & range of motion. Best of all – it feels amazing and is one of my favourite things to do after a long walk or hike.
Tip #8: Stretch your shoulders & upper back
If you’re like me you probably spend a lot of time hunched over computer and phone screens. This creates tension in the upper body, especially in the shoulders and upper back. Here’s a really easy stretch for your shoulders & back that feels amazing and can be done anytime of the day (though I love doing it first thing in the morning while I’m making your coffee – multitasking for the win!!)
Tip #9: Practice squatting
Squatting is a key natural movement pattern that has almost gone extinct in the modern, chair sitting, shoe wearing world. It’s a super important movement because it impacts – at a minimum – the health of our ankles, knees, hips, pelvic floors, spines, digestive systems and our metabolic health. And not only is it great for our bodies but it can be done anywhere, anytime with no extra equipment required!
If it’s been a minute since you last squatted and you’re not sure where to start, click here to join my FREE Start Squatting Challenge and learn how to remove your squatting barriers, increase your mobility and improve your strength in just four weeks!
Tip #10: Practice balancing on one leg
Did you know that 80% of the time you spend walking is actually on one foot at a time? Good balance is a lifelong necessity for healthy movement that helps prevent falls and reduces your risk of fractures. Work on improving your balance with this one-legged exercise.
Make Your Daily Activities More Movement-Y
Changing up the way you complete your daily activities is easy and can be really helpful. Here are some things to start doing right now!
Tip #11: Fold your laundry
Fold your laundry while you sit or squat on the floor. You get all the benefits of floor sitting and squatting (lots of hip movement, reaching & stretching) while still getting things done on your to-do list.
Tip #12: Practice balance while putting on your socks/shoes
How about not leaning on anything when you put on your socks or shoes? This is harder than it sounds and a great way to improve balancing on one-leg (refer back to Tip #10 for how important good balance is).
Tip #13: A different way to carry your laundry
When you’re carrying your laundry hamper, keep your body straight up and down instead of poking out one hip. This is a great way to practice hips over heels alignment and will help you use more core muscles.
Tip #14: Ditch the vacuum
Sweep the floor with a pan and brush and get in some squatting practice instead of using a vacuum or a long broom.
Tip #15: Change things up at the grocery store
Instead of driving, why not walk to the grocery store and then carry your stuff home. Walking is a super important natural movements that’s not only good for us physically but mentally too! And, if you’re like me and can’t possibly carry all the stuff you buy at a single time, so you could try getting groceries more often (thereby walking 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. This is a great way to work on strength and mobility with no extra time required!
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re looking for more great movement tips & wellness hacks, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter!