Add Movement to Your Daily Routine: Top 5 Tips to Get and Stay Active

17-03-2021

Posted By: Envision2bWell, Inc

Add Movement to Your Daily Routine: Top 5 Tips to Get and Stay Active

Add Movement to Your Daily Routine:

Top 5 Tips to Get and Stay Active

Author: Jillian Villeneuve, Content Writer

Movement is universally accessible. Everyone can find a way to add movement into their day-to-day lives. Whether you struggle with time, capability, or motivation, there are many ways you can add more movement into your day. But why movement? Sure, exercise is a healthy and necessary habit to build. But what is so beneficial about movement in the first place?

The answer to this question starts with another: How do you define health? Is it just the absence of disease? This is the thinking that many people have adopted when it comes to health but true well-being is so much more. What if it instead we thought of it in terms of wellness and potential? What if it becomes more about elevating quality of life instead of simply existing? This philosophy is why movement becomes so important.

Couple doing yoga at home.

Not only is exercise useful in preventing illness, it can also be used to help mitigate disease. For instance, studies show that patients with breast and colorectal cancer who begin regular exercise post-diagnosis have a 50-60% increase in survivorship. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce incidence of breast and colorectal cancer by up to 40%. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, exercise has been shown to have benefits independent of weight loss, meaning the increase in health is not a result of losing weight, but as a result instead of the exercise itself.

Read our blog here to learn about the transformative effects of movement and exercise on the brain, both short-term and long-term. Turns out exercise is one of the best things you can do for your brain health and will go a long way to increase your mood and outlook, as well as prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease. 

Now are you convinced? Read the following tips to find out how you can add movement into your life, and get started today!

 

Tip #1: Break it up throughout the day.

The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and 75 minutes of muscle-strengthening activities per week. Combining the two, this adds up to about 30 minutes a day. Often, we assume this needs to be done all at once. But does it?

Anyone with a busy schedule can attest to how difficult it can be to carve out 30 minutes. The demands of work, social life, relationships, kids, etc all pull us in so many directions. The good news is that exercise can be broken up throughout the day. It is much easier to carve in 10 minutes here and there than it is to find that large chunk of time.

Morning Routine

Here is what a typical week could look like for you: On Monday morning you do 10 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). On Tuesday, you do a 10-minute Pilates class from YouTube. Wednesday morning is a beautiful day, so you take brisk 10 minute walk outside with the dog. Thursday is spent doing 10 minutes of yoga-like stretching. It’s challenging, makes at a little, and allows you to focus on joint and muscle health. Finally – it's Friday! You celebrate by having a 10-minute dance party with the kiddos.

Mid-day Routine

Next up: shower and get ready for your day. Pack up your lunch and get on the road to work. If you live in the city and can walk to your office, you will most likely hit your daily quota here. If not, try for some time during your lunch break. If you don’t mind getting a bit sweaty, you can always get in a quick lunchtime workout. Otherwise, try to take a walking lunch or walking meeting. If you have a standing desk, march in place for 10 minutes, fit in some calf raises, or practice balancing with your feet in tree pose while your hands are still typing.

Evening Routine

After work, try to fit in another 10 minutes while watching TV or while you are waiting for dinner to cook. Having some small weights can be beneficial here. Practice bicep curls, overhead presses, or rows. Hold a high plank, get in some sit-ups, or try incline pushups on your couch whenever commercials are on.

Another great idea: resistance bands. Bands can help you with strength training and flexibility goals. Keep in mind that flexibility is very important to physical wellness. Not sure what to do? Search “resistance band flexibility workout” (bonus points if you find a total-body 10-minute stretch!) You can also search “strength-based resistance band workouts." Maybe on Tuesday/Thursday nights you focus on flexibility, and Monday/Wednesday/Friday nights you focus on strength. The key is to mix up different types of exercise that engage the whole body and keep your movement fresh!

Overall, there are a lot of resources when it comes to using basic types of equipment, and many are free! Try following a fitness influencer on Instagram or go on YouTube to search for just about any workout you could ever imagine. Get creative, there are no wrong answers when it comes to movement! If it raises your heart rate, you’re in the gold here.

Tip #2: Add movement to your routine with these activity hacks.

There are many ways to live a more active lifestyle without joining the gym or doing a workout. Movement doesn’t always mean intense exercise. It's also about adding more activity into your daily life. There are many, many activity hacks when it comes to movement. None are too big or too small! Here are a few to get you started.

Two women walk up the stairs.

When you run out for groceries or anywhere that you drive, park far away from the store. Take the stairs whenever possible. Use your standing desk. You can combine movement with other goals as well. If your goal is to stay hydrated, make sure that you have a quota to hit every now and then. Drinking a bottle of water every 1.5 hours during an 8-hour shift equals five bottles of water, for instance. If you take a 5-minute walk around the office every time you need a refill, you'll get an extra 25 minutes of activity that day!

Staying active is easier if you are out and about throughout your day, but there are some at-home actions you can take as well. Have you heard of the fake commute? Start like this: set your alarm clock for the same time that you would need to if you were commuting to your job. Get up, shower, eat breakfast, and do anything you would need to do if you were leaving for the day. Now add this twist: try to stay on your feet this entire time to give yourself some exercise. If you can, walk around your apartment complex or your yard. Maybe walk up and down your stairs a couple of times. Watch the morning news while sipping your coffee and doing some squats or marching in place. Adding this time in the morning gives you structure and routine as well as some extra activity.

Setting daily goals is easier if you have a way to track progress. Here are some ideas: Get a fitness tracking watch and count your steps. Certain watches can remind you to stand up every hour, measure your heart rate, and even track sleep or recovery. Devise a way to tally up every time you take the stairs, garden, carry heavy groceries, or other forms of activity. Getting a full picture of your overall activity level will encourage you to find new ways to add activity into your daily routine!

Tip #3: Accountability is KEY.

Having some sort of accountability is paramount to success. Everyone has different methods of keeping themselves accountable but if you need some suggestions, here are a few good ones:

Get a workout buddy.

This can be absolutely anyone, and it does not need to be the same person as your gym buddy. Having a friend to help with the initial fears of a new gym or fitness class can be helpful, but trying to get your workout in at times that work for both your schedules can present an obstacle in itself. Try to find someone who is super flexible, or just take the relationship virtual. Text your accountability buddy your workout plan for the week. If you need them to check in with you daily to see if you got it done, let them know that you will do the same for them. Use your friend, your significant other, or even your kids! Teaching your kids to enjoy being active can be as easy as “hey, I’m going to move my body after school today. Do you want to do something with me? Maybe we can go play kickball at the park!” Make sure that you use language that shows you enjoy exercise, and your kiddo will follow suit.

Join a gym with a close-knit community.

Read reviews of local gyms and search for the keyword “community.” Check out their Facebook page and see if they often post group shots. How do their members look? Genuinely happy to be in the picture, with an arm thrown around the person next to them? You can usually tell if a photo is forced or if their members look uncomfortable. If all else fails, take advantage of trial memberships until you land on one that's a good fit.

Invest in your fitness.

Hey whatever motivates you, right? Spending money on new workout outfits, equipment, or a gym membership is worth it if it helps you feel motivated (within reason). Investing in your fitness can provide a lot of accountability. You won't want to waste all the money that you just spent! Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that when you feel your best, you work harder. Take this as a sign to go purchase those new leggings you have been eyeing.

Join a gym or studio with a late-cancellation fee.

Gyms have limited spots when it comes to fitness classes, which means you will most likely be required to sign up in advance. Ask about their late cancellation policy to see if they charge. You will be more motivated to get to the gym if you know you will be charged a fee or lose a class if you cancel at the last second.

Tip #4: Understand that movement is accessible to everybody.

Older couple exercising.

Let’s break the stigma of needing modifications! If you are a beginner or have joint issues, past injuries, or another workout concern, use modifications without shame. Starting a new habit is the hardest part, and you do not want to be dealing with injury or lost motivation because your first couple gym sessions were too difficult. Honor where you are and be happy that your body is able to move. Form is more important than anything else to prevent injury, so modify, modify, modify!

Here’s how to start: Work through basic exercises and find where you struggle the most. Identify if it is due to endurance (you are out of breath) or if the move is too difficult. Perhaps you struggle with balance during the exericse or it's out of your range of motion. These are signs that you could modify the exercise by slowing it down, altering the move, or changing it entirely.

For example, if pushups from the toes are difficult for you, you may want to do them on your knees, against an incline, or standing up against the wall. This is an example of an alteration. Another example is with Russian twists. Many women who are healing from C-sections have trouble with rotating their core in this way. Focusing on the same group of muscles, you might instead opt for sit-ups or a hollow hold.

Lastly, if you find yourself struggling to keep up with the pace, slow down or take a water break. It is important to recognize your boundaries. Trust that the more you do an exercise, the better you'll get at it!

As a reminder, because it is not said enough in the fitness industry, modifications are amazing. They make workouts accessible to everyone, celebrate your unique abilities, and allow you to keep active under any circumstances. No more body shame here. As we always say at Envision2bWell - Everybody is different and every BODY is different! Your Body. Your Health. Your Life!

Tip #5: Find something you love.

Finding a workout that keeps you coming back is so important. There is no right or wrong answer here. No special mix of workouts to do in a given week. The overarching goal is to move and exercise every day in a way that is sustainable for YOU. Here is a look at some popular workout trends and their benefits. We wish we could list them all, but there are so many options when it comes to exercise, it’s nearly impossible! This will give you a good start though!

Yoga

Yoga combines mindfulness, meditation, and exercise all in one. Yoga has been proven to increase muscle strength and balance, promote flexibility, help with endurance, and support the mind in navigating stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction. It can even improve your sleep!

Spin

Taking a spin class.Spin is a great exercise for people with joint issues. In the seated position, your legs are free to move without any pesky knee or hip pain caused from bearing weight on your legs. Without the joint pain to hold you back, people with these issues can really dedicate themselves to getting some good and sustained cardio. Cycling is a great exercise for people of any age, but especially people whose bodies are aging! Remember, age truly is a number when it comes to fitness. The aches of an older body settle in once the body becomes stagnant. Staying active throughout life is important to keep the body in motion.

Pilates

If you want to focus on your core or your flexibility, Pilates will be a great exercise for you. Although intense at times, Pilates is less about aerobic exercise. This means that you probably will not be out of breath at the end of your workout, but you will feel that good, slow burn in your muscles. Hello core strength!

Kickboxing

Most kickboxing studios offer introductory classes to learn the moves. Once you’ve got the sport down, you gain a whole host of benefits. Kickboxing is great for maintaining balance, providing intense cardio, and toning and building muscle. Kickboxing also builds a strong core with every twist into a punch or raise of the leg. Imagine doing a core workout for an hour long – but enjoying it. This is what you will find with kickboxing.

Running/Walking

Perfect for endurance, running will give your lungs a 'run' for their money. A terrific way to approach this exercise is by starting off small. Try walking for a full hour (treadmill or elsewhere). For every 10 minutes, spend 1 minute of that running. You may start with 15 second intervals, move up to 30 seconds, and then run for an entire minute. Once you master that, consider moving to 2 minutes. From there, 3 minutes. Eventually, you will work yourself all the way up to maintaining a run for an entire 10 minutes. Congrats! You’ve trained your body to accomplish something amazing, and your lungs will thank you for it.

Walking is also great exercise, although not as much of a lung workout. Try to walk at a brisk pace, enough so that it is difficult, although not impossible, to carry on a conversation. The great thing about both walking and running is that they often get you outdoors! Two benefits for the price of one!

Mountain Biking

Say hello (again) to the great outdoors! Biking can be an intense cardio workout. If you want to kick it up a notch, try your hand at mountain biking. Similar to indoor spin classes, you’ll get a break from joint pain, and instead work on balance, coordination, and an intense burn in your legs (especially when going uphill!)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT workouts are great for fat burn and cardio. To get the most out of HIIT, you will want your heart rate to rise and then come back down incrementally throughout the workout. There are many ways to achieve this. A good example is with high knees in place. You may sprint out these high knees for 20 seconds, rest for 20 seconds, and then repeat a few times. The beauty of HIIT workouts is that they give you a lot of flexibility to pick exercises that you enjoy, ensuring that you get some good cardio in as well.

Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

LIIT has a remarkably similar set of standards, but the exercises are not nearly as intense, and you can typically enjoy longer periods of rest. In this regard, LIIT is great for building muscle. Exercises may include squats, arm curls, or presses. Slowing down and focusing on building strength is as important to your health as cardio exercise. Muscle building increases bone strength and helps with weight loss.

Barre

Unleash your inner ballerina at barre class. With a focus on flexibility, posture, balance, and coordination, Barre is a great way to keep your body feeling young. Low-impact and high-intensity, it's intense without being too rough on the body. Each movement is intentional and technique is central to the practice, making it a mental workout as much as it is a physical one. In this way, learning barre as a new skill will help to establish a mental connection to your body.

man swimmingBootcamp Classes

These workouts are known for their intensity. Bootcamp is about "leaving it all on the floor" so to speak. Some people love the intensity of these workouts and the endorphins that come after. For others, it's not for them. But it's definitely worth a try!

Water Sports

Swimming, water aerobics, or other water-based activities are great for people who struggle with joint pain or have issues with balance. Or for people who love the water! As a participant, you get the same benefits of exercise with less risk of injury. More intense swimming, like doing laps in a pool, can be great for cardiovascular health and endurance as well. Even treading water can be an intense workout!

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing can be done inside or outdoors, but look for inside practice with an instructor if you’ve never done it before. Great for grip strength, balance, and agility, it's a way to get lost in the moment and stay in the present! You can only think about what to do next when you're rock climbing, making it a wonderful exercise for stress relief.

Tai Chi

Often described as meditation in motion, tai chi involves series of slow, focused movements accompanied by deep breathing. It can improve balance, posture, flexibility, and strength, plus it is a great stress reliever. Because it is low-impact and slow, it is a wonderful exercise for older adults to try.

Go forth with confidence!

When making the effort to remain active throughout all ages, all lifestyles, and all abilities, understand that there are many options for you to pick from. Take tips #1-3 to help support a more active lifestyle, and understand that tips #4-5 will change as you move through various stages of life. Collage of people exercisingThe beauty in exercise is that there are many ways to get it in, so find something that feels right in the moment. Overall, you want to look for something that challenges you, that you look forward to, and that makes movement fun. Trust me, you will know when you find it!

Last note – think about why you want to exercise. Where is the motivation coming from? It’s helpful to look at exercise with an appreciation for your body. If you start a workout routine because you feel you are unacceptable or unworthy as you are, you’ll never be happy with the results. Instead, understand that you are unique, beautiful, and worthy at any size, in any body. Don’t do it because you hate the way you look, instead, exercise because you love and appreciate the person that you are, and you want to do all you can to support yourself, your health, and most importantly, your happiness.

Getting into an exercise routine can help give structure to your daily life (we are creatures of habit, after all!), allow you to connect with new people and communities, and help you to balance other areas of wellness. Movement is TRULY amazing. It boosts your quality of life, gives you confidence, and releases endorphins that make you feel happy and care-free.

Lastly, remember this: There is no right or wrong way to do movement. Find what works best for you and move your body every day!

Download the EnvisionWell app today on Google Play or the App Store to help track your movement easily in our feature, My Moves. EnvisionWell syncs with over 300 devices including fitness trackers, wearables, and in-home clinical, health and nutrition devices! It's never been easier to track your health and well-being! 

 

 

 

 

 

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