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How to Get More Movement In Your Day

If you’re trying to add more movement to your day, check out these tips. Even if you don’t have time for a long workout, daily movement breaks can be powerful for your mental health!

beautiful landscape of whistler, BC, canada with mountains and lake

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I’m writing to you from Whistler (think 2010 Winter Olympics), and we’re now exploring Victoria (Vancouver Island) before spending the week in downtown Vancouver.

While we did have planned exercise here (and the most beautiful hikes!), I sympathize with clients who aren’t able to get regular exercise in, due to accessibility, time, kids, scheduling, etc.

So, let’s review some tips for how to get more movement in your day. This doesn’t have to be extreme and is often a non diet resolution I’m recommending.

man and woman in front of olympic rings in Whistler, BC

Why Movement In Your Day is Important

We all know we should be moving more sitting less. And while we are all starved on time, adding more movement to your day shouldn’t feel too overpowering.

On the days I don’t run, I honestly do find it challenging to get to the gold standard 10,000 steps. But when I’m conscious about it, I have found some tricks and ways that help me get there that I wanted to share.

There’s no denying the research about the benefits of exercise, including better mental health and cognition, cardiovascular health, weight management and more.

It doesn’t have to be extreme running or exercise that gets your heart rate through the roof. Walking is a great form, too!

How to Get More Movement In Your Day

Wear an activity band

While this one won’t motivate everyone, having a fitness tracker can be great for accountability and checking where you are.

Even if you don’t want to splurge for an apple watch or Garmin, there are plenty of budget-friendly options!

garmin watch and activity tracker

There’s no way to know how many steps you’ve taken without having something to show them (unless you miraculously can count your own steps).

Plus, it holds you accountable and seeing numbers can be a great motivator for how to move more during the day.

There are also ones that track sleep, heart rate and more now.

There’s an option to input food if you’re tracking calories, but I do not use that function. I also use the Garmin Forerunner for running workouts.

watch data face from ifit vue

Walk around the block or up/down the street when you arrive or leave your house

Alot of tips to add more movement are going to rely on walking more because all of these steps add up!

I have a small loop (about .25 miles) in our neighborhood that I just walk around before walking out to my car, or when I get home for the day. I’ll just play a song and walk the loop. It helps me unwind as well as get some extra steps in. I call it “the scenic route.”

sidewalk in the neighborhood

Keep a pair of sneakers in your car at all times

You never know when you’ll have an extra 20 minutes here or there! Or if you decide to scope out a park (or heck, even the parking lot next door!) on your lunch break, you’ll be prepared.

While you’re at it, get yourself a good gym bag to keep a set of walking or workout clothes in your car at all times.

How many times has it happened that a friend asked you to meet up at an exercise class or the gym, or for a walk, and you didn’t have clothes with you?

This helps for daily movement breaks!

gym bag with exercise clothes and sneakers

If you’re on the phone, walk

If you can’t get outside, just pace inside your living room or office. It’s mindless and steps add up and releases some of the tension from sitting all the time.

Stretch more

Whether before bed or in the morning, a good stretch counts as movement and is important for posture and flexibility.

Do 20 jumping jacks when you get up

You’ll probably laugh at me (my husband does), but it gets my blood moving first thing! You can do them before you go to bed too if it doesn’t amp you up too much.

jumping jacks meme

Do some calf raises when you’re in line or in the shower

If you’re standing in the shower, in coffee line or just standing still, do some calf raises. I do this while I;m microwaving food sometimes.

You are just adding in movement to a standing position you are already in – why not work the muscle a little bit? This can also help incorporate some stretching.

Try doing it with one foot to work on your balance.

Stand up every 30-40 minutes

I don’t care who you are, where you work, what you do…everyone can do this. This is the top tip for how to move more at work.

Sitting too long can be detrimental, and this one is doable for all of us!

Stand up, refill your water bottle, walk around your floor or building, walk down to your coworker rather than calling or emailing him/her – just get up often.

Glass of water

Utilize 1-2lb weights

Feel bad about not getting an upper body workout a couple of days of strength training in per week?

Well, when you’re walking, take 1-2 lb weights with you. You can sculpt your arms, shoulders, and wrists all while walking and increase that calorie burn.

And if you think 1-2 lb weights won’t do anything, you’re in for a real treat. You can feel the burn after a few minutes!

light free weights in a stack

Do pushups, planks or squats during commercial breaks

This comes pretty naturally to me since I can never sit still, but it’s a great way to add in more activity to the environment you’re already in.

Body weight activities are so great for longevity!

Don’t worry about the shameful feeling of not making it to the gym, or not having time to drive there. Just incorporate small changes at home!

Find social events that encourage activity!

Before kids, we did a lot of pub runs. It’s a great social event (especially for marathon training) that ends with cold beer.

Social events and workout buddies can be motivating for all of the right reasons!

sarah and ed with beer after group run

Doing these throughout the day are great ways to keep your muscles active, without taking 20-30 minutes to squeeze in a workout.

You’re just capitalizing on things you’re already doing, and small changes add up.

Behavior change is not about drastically cutting things out entirely or adding everything under the sun into your routine all at once. That would be a very difficult transition and nearly impossible to maintain.

Instead, it’s figuring out things you already do and places you already are, and sparking small changes there.

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  1. In fact, some suggest that we get up and move around every 20 minutes. Others recommend getting up every 60 minutes. Actually, you will probably find that you focus better and are more creative if you step back from your work a couple of times every hour or so. The mind can only stay in laser-focus mode for so long before it needs to be recharged with a little rest. Taking “movement breaks” will not only help your health, but it will also help your productivity as well!

  2. I feel like I’m weird, but after discovering some of my foodie friends do this, I stand at my desk all day and I move around a lot which helps. :o) I like being active, and at the end of the day sitting on the couch is so rewarding. :o)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I try to get up and walk around at least once an hour at work, since I have an office job. I tend to get caught up in paperwork and find it hard to pry myself away from it – but it helps so much, not only physically but mentally, to just get up and walk around for a few minutes. I will definitely be using your tips!

  4. These tips are great. I’m a big fan of walking and talking on the phone. It makes it feel like I’m going on a walk with my parents even if they are miles away!

  5. SO jealous of Vancouver! It’s big time on my bucket list.

    All of these tips are great. Since I work from home, my step tracker is a big help in keeping me moving. I also have a standing desk, which makes me more likely to pace during calls or take mini-breaks to do chores. When I was in an office, I almost always made some excuse to walk around – whether it was taking conference calls from my cell phone or walking down the street during lunch for a quick errand.

  6. I can 100% relate to this post! While my parents and I were on vacation in New York this weekend, we didn’t “workout”. However, we all definitely were very active. One day we literally walked up and down all of Manhattan from Tribeca to the Upper East Side and back. I”m pretty sure we covered at least 20 miles every day just wandering around. Additionally, last year my family went to Bar Harbor Maine for vacation and in addition to morning runs with glorious views, hiking, kayaking, and walking around kept us active. Sometimes I think people over-complicate exercise. Although specific training is really important to improve certain aspects of fitness, it all comes down to just living a more active lifestyle.

  7. I love this! Wearing a Fitbit really made me aware of how much I sit at work during the day. I’ve started parking at the end of the parking lot at work, grocery stores, the mall, etc just to get more steps in haha. It’s such a little thing but it does add up!

  8. Great post! This is definitely something I need to be better about. I’m so bad about getting home and wanting to do a whole lot of nothing. I know being more active keeps me more energetic.
    The cell phone tip is a great one. I do that one as much as I can!

  9. Excited to hear more about your BC travels! I have a Garmin activity tracker so that is super helpful. I also don’t have a car… so that forces me to do a whole lot of walking! I am pretty lucky that where I live, everything is close enough to walk to – that unless I’m running late or feeling super tired, it doesn’t make sense to take transit.