It’s interesting to think about how we humans live in present-day society vs. how we lived in the past. Not that long ago, we were outside foraging our food, walking to find shelter, or at the very least making meals from scratch vs. calling Uber eats. Many of us work from home on our laptops at our office jobs. But, If you’ve noticed, popular hiking trails have gotten even MORE popular once the pandemic hit. People seem to have realized how important it is to get outside, breathe fresh air, and move our bodies! Besides reaching and physical goals you may have, there are so many (even more important!) benefits to moving your body daily. Your mental health improves, your gut health improves, and your overall stress level decreases if you’re able to get at least 20 minutes (yes, just 20 minutes) of movement into your day. Bonus points if it’s outside, but hey, baby steps!
- Take the Stairs vs. the Elevator. I know you’ve likely heard it before, but it does make such a huge difference. Any additional steps you can take during the day, especially ones that will increase your heart rate a little bit, will bring more movement and essentially, once added up, more health and wellness into your life too. Your body will start craving taking the stairs and getting more exercise than you’re used to, especially if you’re more used to a sedentary lifestyle. These changes can seem minor at first, but they do add up. Your body and mind will thank you!
- Park further away than you need to. Granted, it is exhilarating when someone is leaving that very first spot closest to where you’re trying to go! So in that rare case, take it and celebrate. But in most other cases, parking your car at the back of the supermarket parking lot will cause you to take quite a few extra steps that you may not have taken before. Sure, it might add a few minutes to your shopping trip, but if your goal is to be a healthier and better version of yourself, it’s an opportunity to move your body more than you usually would.
- Put on some music and dance! Did you know that dancing to music that lights you up is healing to your body? We carry a lot of unprocessed emotions as well as trauma in our physical bodies. When you are moving to music that makes you happy or to a beat that brings you joy, you are actually helping your body to process old grief, sadness, or whatever you might be subconsciously carrying with you day to day. That is why after a great night of dancing with good friends, you usually feel energized and connected, and the reason is that you’ve made the connection with yourself and your body. Try it on your own. You might be surprised at how energized it makes you feel!
- Lift some small weights while cooking, while making coffee in the morning, or during commercials when watching TV. This one was a tip from a world-renowned doctor that I heard on a podcast once. He specifically suggested keeping a 10lb Kettleball next to your coffee machine so that while you’re making your coffee in the morning you can do a couple of quick swings or squats just to keep your body moving, during a time that you would typically just be standing there. I think if you have a Kettleball, that is fantastic, but if you keep a simple hand weight there, or heck, even doing a squat or two with no weights at all is better than nothing. The idea is to try and incorporate some exercise into the moments that you’re “waiting” in life- such as when a commercial is on during your favorite show. Instead of taking the time to catch up on social media, do your body a favor and do a lunge or two. I suspect you will start to see a difference sooner than you think!
- Stretch first thing in the morning. This may be a good entry point into incorporating all of these into your day because you’re sure to see a benefit from it right away, and it doesn’t take too much effort at all. Honestly, putting a little reminder in your phone that goes off at the same time as your alarm will be an excellent reminder to put your body in the forefront of your mind first thing in the morning, vs. whatever to-do list you might have hanging over your head. All of those things can wait. Taking a few minutes to stretch and wake up your body in the morning gently will end up paying off tenfold.
These simple tips seem easy enough when you’re reading them, but taking the time to do them can be another thing altogether. If you ever need some motivation, I would love to be your health coach to help guide you through the best practices and personalize a routine just for you. Of course, taking a brisk 20-30 minute walk or hopping on your treadmill is a fantastic way to get your exercise, and I would never deter you from a traditional workout. But if you’re finding yourself busy or just lacking the motivation to get your body moving, start with a few of these baby steps, and I promise you’ll begin to feel better.