Getting more exercise is the most-cited new year’s resolution. Personally I’m a fan of making regular resolutions and updates to better myself in numerous ways, and I’m also a fan of a stepwise approach. My resolutions include a list of how I’m going to do them, and that “how” is always made up of smaller steps.
We can all use more movement, so whether it’s a big priority for you right now or something you want to pepper in here and there, the solution is the same: start using your body differently.
The best book to be reading (or listening to) for move-more information and inspiration right now is Move Your DNA. We need to think about movement in a different way if we want to see all the ways movement can slot easily into daily life. From that book, I’ve pulled out three simple ways you can get moving more right away. Consider trying all of these for the rest of the month!
Swap your sedentary seat for “active sitting”
Moving your whole person from place to place is necessary, but so is moving all of your parts. To make sitting more active, you have to choose a way of sitting that uses more of your own body to support you. Scooting forward and away from the back of a chair uses more of your torso. Opt to sit on the floor (or a pillow or two, or lower ottoman). Getting down and back up uses your body more. And when you’re down there, cycle through a few different leg positions to open up those joints: sit with your legs in a V, cross-legged, or in any way that challenges stiff muscles.
Add two 15-minute walks to your day
We’re often discouraged by a schedule that doesn’t allow for an hour-long walk. Not to worry! You will get similar benefits from multiple smaller walks, peppered throughout the day. Get up a half an hour earlier to fit in a mile trip around your neighborhood, get outside and snack on foot for a portion of your lunch break, and make the family or a friend join you for an evening stroll. I've written a ton about how to improve your walk and start walking more. Read through resources here.
Pick one movement to work on
Ten years ago I decided I would work on a chin-up. One year it was a squat, another a 20-mile walk and another jumping up to a 20” high surface. My point here is just pick one thing you want to do: sitting cross-legged more comfortably, hanging from a bar, crossing the monkey bars, lifting your toes one at a time, sticking a 6’ jump, or walking a mile without foot pain. There’s no wrong choice, but just pick ONE so your focus and intention are clear. Once you’ve nailed down what you’re working on, your daily path (and steps upon it) become more clear.
I'm expanding on these three simple tips!
- Read more about how to pace those 15-minute walks here.
- Read more about how to make your sitting positions more active here.
- And read more about picking one movement here.
Want to share this information with your patients, clients, or family members? Print handout versions of this article here.