Life Hacks for More Everyday Movement
Many of us find that we do not have the time to be as active as we know we should be. Work, everyday tasks, and family chores consume most of our waking hours, and if there is some time left it can be hard to prioritize exercise over a moment of peace in your favorite chair. But Elsa has the tips which actually make it possible to have the time for that vital activity.
To start off, consider where your current level of exercise and everyday movement is. Are you way too sedentary and rarely increase your pulse? Or do you want to increase and improve your exercise from an already reasonable level? Be honest with yourself. Your current level is your starting point, and going forward you should compare yourself with this baseline, not with others.
Challenge yourself to see what is possible and start thinking anew. In most cases, only a small change is needed to rid yourself of certain thoughts, and you will be free from your preconceived notions of what is possible.
Can you make it without the car for a week by walking or biking instead? Or decide to swap out your wasted minutes scrolling away towards an investment in your body? Make an assessment at the end of the week—how did it go? What difficulties did you encounter? How can you deal with them? Can you see yourself continuing this challenge, or trying a new one?
Get rid of the misconception that a workout always needs to be 30 or 60 minutes long. All movement counts and makes a difference! Browse apps and workout videos on YouTube, and find short workouts if you are short of time. Ten minutes of exercise before you are going to shower in the morning anyways means that you do not need to get up that much earlier. Just make sure that you have committed yourself to it the night before, and that you have laid out your workout attire, water bottle, and anything else you need.
Do you have a sedentary job?
If your work results in you being stationary during the day, try to break it up with some movement. It is entirely possible, providing you have the determination.
If you have meetings, suggest to your colleagues that some of these meetings during the week are conducted as walk and talks. This is most appropriate for meetings with fewer people and that do not require a lot of notetaking. And it is perfect for discussions or conversations where you are working on ideas—research shows that most people are more creative when they are on the move and in that sense, these meetings are more productive.
Try new places for lunch a little further away than usual—and go on foot! If you packed a lunch box, seek out nice, new outdoor environments and make your lunch a picnic when the weather permits.
Do you work from home?
Going for a walk works just as well if you are talking on the phone, or need to think out and solve a problem. By doing so, you can take the majority of your important daily steps during working hours. You can also set a timer that reminds you to move around once an hour, and schedule your meetings with a five-minute gap in between, to make time for some squats or to walk up and down the stairs a few times.
If you belong to the cohort that previously worked in an office, but now due to the pandemic work from home, there should be some spare time that you previously allocated to travel to and from work. Try to squeeze in a walk or some other movement before you sit at your desk—let this be a routine that marks the start of your workday. Similarly, you can create a routine that signals the end of the working day to your body.
Another way to use the time you normally spent commuting is an extended lunch break. Consider the possibilities. Is there a nearby outdoor gym? Or could you do some yoga in the living room? You increase your chances of pulling it off if you have decided to do it in advance, and maybe even put on your workout pants or rolled out your yoga mat already in the morning.
Do you want to focus on improving strength?
Maybe you already take a lot of steps during working hours, but instead need to strengthen your back, shoulders, and abdomen? If your priority is to improve your strength, there is a lot to gain by making the most of small moments—even a little exercise can make a big difference. Pick out one or a few exercises and do a couple of sets with 10–12 reps each while the pasta is boiling, you are waiting for the washing machine, or the kids are tying their shoes.
You will probably notice results quickly if you are trying out new exercises. Take advantage of the fact that you feel driven by the progress by setting new exercise goals and developing your workouts.
Are you driven by a challenge?
Even if the aim is to challenge yourself, it can also be encouraging to involve those around you. If your employer gives the nod to drive creativity through movement, find out if you can split the workforce into teams, and challenge each other team-wise to achieve a certain number of steps or to move a specific amount of minutes per week or month. Or challenge a colleague, friend, or neighbor on your own.
Consider whether some kind of an activity tracker would motivate you. Such a device could measure things like your active minutes, number of steps, and remind you to get moving when you have been sitting still for too long.
Get inspired by the run streak trend. Run streak is about running a short distance every day, regardless of the weather, motivation, and other circumstances, for a longer period of time. Think openly—it could also be about doing a certain amount of push-ups or picking up the kids with a bike instead of with the car every day for a pre-established period. The focus should be on maintaining the routine and carrying out what you have planned, not to perform better and better with each day.
So, consider how you might override your preconceived notions of exercise and think anew! Next week, the blog is about setting goals for exercise.