Daily movement is important. It’s easy to get to the end of your busy day and realize that you haven’t moved in hours, but as studies show, our sedentary lifestyle is harming our health. The good news? Daily movement can be integrated into your routine without rearranging your life. Here’s how:
1. Add a morning routine: five movements in five minutes.
With a quick morning movement routine, you can set a tone for the day that allows you to control your schedule, rather than the other way around. Take five minutes and spend one minute doing each stretch:
Roll your feet: While standing, roll each foot out on a tennis ball from heel to toe. Give extra attention to any areas that feel tender. This helps with foot flexibility, which aids balance and coordination.
Forward hang: Bend forward from the hips, holding opposite elbows, and let your head hang heavily. Nod your head yes and shake it no, gently.
Easy seated twist: Sitting on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, cross your right leg over your left, keeping your left straight. Plant your right foot flat on the ground and use your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to twist. Turn from your core, and then look to the back of the room.
Chest opener: While standing, interlock your fingers behind your back, palms facing in. Extend your arms out and up, behind you.
Back opener: Still standing, interlock your fingers in front of you, palms facing in. Extend your arms forward, out and up, parallel to the floor. Then flip your grip so your palms face away from you. Push your arms away from your body and hollow your chest, look toward the floor and feel the stretch in your upper back.
2. Swap your daily commute for exercise.
If you’re working from home these days, you’re not commuting to work. That’s time you can add back into your day for good use. Consider spending the time to go for a walk, stretch or create a warmup routine before you sit down for the day. If you don’t have time for a walk, just step outside and take a few deep breaths. The fresh air can help cleanse your lungs and release tension.
3. Take phone calls standing up.
As you start your day, look for opportunities to move a bit. Phone calls are a good time to stand up for a few minutes while talking. And studies show that walking during a meeting is better for communication, as the increased blood flow to your brain helps you articulate ideas better.
4. Stretch at your desk.
If you are sitting for long periods of time, remember to keep it loose. Relieve neck and shoulder pain with a quick daily movement routine. Try this routine:
Complete 10 shoulder rolls in each direction.
Bring your right ear to your right shoulder and hold for a breath.
Switch to the left side and repeat.
Roll your wrists out in each direction, and then shake out your hands.
Rotate your torso and look to the back of the room.
Switch sides and repeat on the opposite side.
5. Let the music move your daily movement.
Move with the music. Having tunes in the background can inspire you to move without even noticing it. Try a work-from-home playlist, like this one, that will be easy to work to, while also adding some energy to your day.
More movement every day will help your mental clarity, energy levels and productivity. Active reflection at the end of each day will help you subconsciously reward yourself for doing things that made you feel better. This should motivate you to do it again the next day because you’re building a habit.
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