Do you tend to put your movement practice on the back burner of life? It can be so easy to get caught up with the day-to-day tasks, and before you know it, the day is over and you haven’t done anything impactful for your body.
You know I’m a big fan of finding workarounds, so I thought I’d write up some ways you can do some goodness for your body when you’re doing the usual daily stuff. Some are more obvious than others, but all are impactful and pretty simple.
Take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator
Whether you’re shopping or going to an appointment, climbing stairs works wonders for your overall health, especially in the cardiovascular department. As long as your knees are okay with it, opt for the stairs when you can. And remember to engage your glutes and core while climbing to help your body work the way it was designed.
Walk instead of drive
If you live close enough to where you need to go, why not use your feet instead of your car? In addition to helping your body, you’ll save money on gas (which is *insanely* expensive at the moment), and you’ll also do great things for our planet.
Stretch at your desk
I spend a shocking amount of time at my desk. I know if I get lost in the tasks on my computer, my body will get super cranky pretty quickly. One way to help with that is to take a few moments between emails or blog posts and stretch it out. Sometimes I’ll do twists in my chair, other times I’ll stand up and do a modified Downward Facing Dog with my legs wide apart and my hands on my desk as I fold forward. Basically, as long as it feels good and helps me change up my positioning, I just let the organic movement happen.
Squats or march in place while brushing teeth
We know that good mouth hygiene happens when you floss and brush your teeth twice a day. An easy way to bring more movement into your life is to do something while you’re brushing your teeth. If your knees don’t mind, try doing squats while you’re brushing (obviously pay super close attention to your foot and knee positioning as well as engage your core so you don’t create an issue that wasn’t already there). Another option is to simply march in place while brushing. Whether your pacing is mellow or you go for a higher level of intensity and bring your knees up closer to your torso, you’ll build strength in no time by implementing this practice.
Twisting while sitting on the toilet
Twisting our bodies in both directions offers many benefits. Things like spinal mobility, organ support, and optimal elimination all are positively impacted by twisting. One easy way to bring twists into your life is to put your toilet paper roll on the toilet tank located behind you as you’re sitting on the toilet. Then, when you need to grab some TP to wipe, twist to grab it. After grabbing the amount of paper that you need, twist the opposite direction to put the toilet paper back onto the tank. A key thing here is to make sure your spine is upright and not rounded when you twist.
Stretching in bed
I have a fantastic bed. And even still, there are plenty of days and nights that I’m under the covers and my body is cranky. If you’re like me, try taking a few minutes and do some gentle stretching while you’re laying down there. Spending a short amount of time to stretch out, do some wrist and ankle circles, windshield wiper actions with your bent knees, and even supported twists will help your body feel happier pretty quickly.
Engage your core when washing dishes
It doesn’t matter if you use a dishwasher or you’re the dishwasher – engaging your core while standing at the sink is a great way to build strength and reprogram your body. And, to be clear, when I’m talking about “engaging your core,” I’m not just meaning your front abdominal muscles. Instead, think of your lower torso as being like your hand making a fist. Everything comes together in basically the shape of a cylinder, with a mild squeezing action happening all the way around. This means you’re activating your side rib cage muscles, your lower back muscles, as well as your front abdominal muscles to help you feel more supported. A bonus is that, while you’re building core strength, you’re also helping to reduce back crankiness.
These are just a few examples of how you can blend beneficial movements into your regular activities. While they don’t take the place of, say, a bike ride, a hike, or a yoga class, they will add up in the big picture of your personal wellness. Just be sure you’re being mindful during your activities so you don’t space out while combining your tasks — meaning doing a ton of squats with improper form while brushing your teeth. Keep your awareness on your body — its alignment and its sensations — while you’re doing the other things to make sure you’re doing good things for yourself. And if a doc has told you not to do any of these types of movements, then obviously listen to that advice.
Have another example of ways to bring in extra movement into your life? Comment on this post and share!