6 Ways to Add Movement to Your Busy Everyday Life
By: Dr. Cindy K Dao, PT, DPT, CSCS
Let’s get moving! We spend a lot of time sitting and not enough time moving. Most of the time, we do not have a choice but to spend most of our day sitting due to our job, our commute, and simply because we are just tired and want to sit after a long day. I am sure moving around is the last thing most of you want to think about when life has you focused on other things.
But do not let your busy life win this battle because I want to encourage you that taking the time to move is so so so good for you and your future. You will not see the instant reward right away, but by adding movement to your life now, you can avoid years of pain and discomfort in your future.
I see countless patients who have chronic neck and low pain due to years of a sedentary lifestyle. I find myself thinking, “If only they knew when they were in their 20s and 30s the importance of being active, all of the pain they are feeling now could have been avoided.”
This is why I am here writing all of this because I am thinking of all of you who still can make the change and can avoid years of chronic pain.
Adding movement in your life does not have to be difficult.
Here is the challenge and honestly, it is not much of a challenge. It is actually pretty easy! Every day for the rest of the month, choose one simple and easy change to add movement in your day from the list below. Try and pick 1 routine out of the 6 until the end of this month. Feel free to try different things each day to mix things up! I am sure by the end of this month, you will start feeling more energy, less stiffness, less aches and pain, and just overall feeling a whole lot better.
Here are 6 easy and simple ways to add movement to your everyday busy life:
1. Walk 15 - 30 minutes a day. Find time in the morning, during your lunch break, or in the evening to go for a quick and brisk walk. I am sure you have the time to spare to go outside for a few minutes. If you do not want to go out and walk alone, invite a friend, co-worker, or family member to join you for a short 15 - 30 minute walk.
2. Do a Short Youtube Exercise Video. The great and wonderful thing about technology is that it has made working out at home so much easier and affordable. On Youtube there are so many free and easy workout videos of all time lengths. Do not have the time? Try doing a short 15 minute workout video. One of my favorite Youtube channels for workouts is Fitness Blender.
3. Do a 10 Minute Stretch Routine. There are not only a lot of workout videos on Youtube but also a lot of stretching routines. Try doing a stretch routine first thing in the morning or right before you go to bed. Daily stretching will help you feel better throughout the day and will help you sleep better throughout the night.
4. Get Up From Your Desk Every 30 Minutes. Your body is not meant to stay in the same position for an extended amount of time. You are meant to move move move. Make an effort to get up every 30 minutes from your desk and move. Whether it be taking a short walk down the hall, doing a one minute stretch, or getting crazy with some high knees. Whatever it is, any kind of movement is better than none. Worried that your coworkers will think you are crazy with your constant stretching or random walks? Just remember, it is say more crazy to sit for 8 hours a day, 5 times a week.
5. Minimize the Amount of Time Spent Sitting. With the time you do have control over, try to limit the amount of time sitting. While watching Netflix, get up off the sofa and do some stretches. We all know you want to jump up and down while watching Stranger Things. Instead of catching up with a friend over coffee or a meal, go on a hike or a walk. Planning a hangout with friends? Get the crew together to go kayaking, or for a bike ride along the beach. Life is busy but there are choices you can make to add movement in your day.
6. Walk to Get to Places: Work, Supermarket, Coffee shop. Driving has become the normal for many of us. For many of us, walking is not practical with our busy schedule and takes too much time. But making the time to walk is worth it. The benefits are worth it for your future and your health. Do you really not have the time to walk to places? Try parking further away from stores rather than taking the extra few minutes waiting for a parking space that is closer to the store entrance. Make any small and little change to walk more. A little goes a long way.
There you have it! 6 easy and totally doable ways to add movement to your everyday busy schedule. Make the choice to get moving and to change your future. It is easier than you think and you are absolutely capable of doing it. I believe in you.
The Movement Doctor
Dr. Cindy K Dao