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Sedentary lifestyles are not only becoming increasingly common in our society, but they can be incredibly damaging, especially for cardiovascular health. Some have gone so far as to call sitting the new smoking. If that’s not enough to get you up off your rump and moving, I’m not sure what is. To enhance overall health, we must seek to incorporate more movement each day. And moving more every day might be easier than you think.
Each of the ideas below is based on the concept of creating a habit stack. A habit stack is taking an existing habit and stacking another on top of it to make it easier to adhere. In my experience, habits are far easier to incorporate when combined with something we’re already doing.
Get to stepping before you go inside
When you pull up in your parking space at work or home after being out, walk to the end of the street, parking garage, block, whatever before heading inside. This does double duty with increased cardio and an opportunity to clear your head and reset before entering a new environment.
Squat while you wait
If you’re on the phone with someone who asks to place you on hold, do air squats in place until they pick back up. The longer the delay, the more booty work you get.
Double up on stairs
Disclaimer: You might feel a little crazy with this one if you do it in public, but it shouldn’t be an issue to do at home.
If you live in a house with stairs, do double duty each time you go up or down. If you’re heading up to the office to charge your laptop, go up, come down, and go up again. This will essentially increase the number of stairs you’re doing per day threefold, which will add more cardio to your day and more climbing, which is better for your muscles. Be careful, though; you might be a little out of breath after that third set!
Deadlift the laundry
Picking up and setting down the laundry basket is an excellent practical application for a deadlift’s bend and lift movement. Instead of taking it to the gym to pull weight with a barbell, do ten reps each time you pick up the laundry basket to move it.
Opt for a basket
If you’re planning to grab some things at the grocery, opt for a basket instead of a cart. I love using a basket for two reasons; it works grip strength like a farmer’s carry and also prevents you from buying more than you can hold. That’s a win-win in my book!
No more princess parking
Everyone feels like royalty when a front row parking spot opens up. But seize the opportunity to incorporate extra movement by choosing to park at the far end of any lot. You’ll get additional steps on the way in and on the way back, which can seriously add up over time!
Move workout equipment to your desk
You’re far more likely to use workout equipment if it’s somewhere you can see it. Space permitting, set a resistance band* or light kettlebell* on your desk. Then, make a plan to use it! Try doing ten face pulls or ten kettlebell swings at the top of every hour.
Create a bathroom habit
Taking a break to go to the bathroom means you’re already taking a mental break from what you were doing. This makes it an opportune time to incorporate some movement. Squats or calf raises are a great way to go if you’re in a public stall. But if you’re home and have more freedom, do a set of walking lunges, push-ups, or leg lifts to get your blood pumping instead.
Dance while you cook
Perhaps my favorite way to incorporate more movement is to shake your groove thing while you’re putting together a tasty, healthy recipe. Most recipes leave periods of downtime like while the pasta is cooking, the onions are sauteing, or the casserole is in the oven. Use these moments to crank up your favorite jams and dance. You can likely offset a few bites of your tasty dish by dancing while you cook!
Move between episodes
“Are you still watching?” It’s a terrible feeling to see this message pop up on Netflix only to realize it’s been hours since you’ve moved. Make sure you get up and take a few laps around the house between every episode of your favorite show. Pausing between episodes to do something active could lead to shifting your attention away from the tv entirely, and that’s probably not a bad thing.
Do you have other ways you move more every day? Tell me about it in the comments!