I’m on a personal mission to get up and move more. I’m talking about incidental movement. That is – spend less time sitting. And since sharing a goal is a great way to create more accountability – today I’m talking about 31 ways to get more incidental movement into your day!
I have a habit of getting so immersed in my online life that I can forget to move enough. I can also easily spend a whole day reading when I have a good book – if I’m brutally honest, ‘couch potato’ is not too far removed from my preferred state. But, I know that I feel better when I integrate more movement – both incidental and planned exercise – into my day. And, it’s better for my health, too.
This act of physically getting your bum up and out your chair to stand up and move or stretch or bounce or even simply to shake out your arms and legs helps to get your blood flowing.
Human beans are simply not designed to sit for long periods without incidental movement.
Increasingly, in this age of sedentary jobs – where we sit in front of our screens for hours at a time – we are learning just how vital it is to move. Your regular incidental movement is just as important (if not more!), as it is for you to engage in more formal and structured exercise. And, when you suffer from chronic illness and heavy-duty cardio workouts are no longer an option for you, this can be an even bigger factor to consider.
“Exercise is optional. Movement is essential. Exercise is a modern invention. Movement is ancient. Movement was here first. Movement is what the human body is designed for.”
As with so many things in this health caper we are on, the key is consistency.
And just like when it comes to choosing an exercise program, it’s not the type of incidental movement that’s important, it’s the consistency and regularity with which you do it.
I mentioned goals. I’m a BIG fan of regularly setting practical short-term goals as a way for me to prioritise my health caper. This provides me with a framework to bed habits that serve me into my day. It’s this goal setting practice that got me hooked on my morning ritual, integrating legs up the wall into my day, making nutrient density my hobby, and so much more. And now, I’m working on bedding more of that incidental movement ‘stuff’ into my day, too.
What exactly is incidental movement?
Incidental movement refers to any small forms of movement that accrue throughout your day. Cumulatively, they all result in increasing your level of daily activity. This form of activity isn’t formal. It doesn’t happen at the gym or in the pool but instead relies on a series of daily choices you make.
Incidental movement is any situation where you choose to be active. Off the top of my head, this is my list of 31 ways to get more incidental movement into your day.
- Is walking or cycling instead of driving an option? Do it!
- Can you get off the bus or train one or two stops earlier than you need to?
- Instead of heading for the nearest seat on the bus or train, can you surf instead? Stand with your feet planted flat and firm on the ground. Hold on to the nearest handrail and try to stand as straight as possible, while engaging your core, as the bus or train is moving.
- Can you park your car and walk around the block before heading to the office or meeting?
- Can you invest in a standing desk?
- What about taking the stairs instead of the lift (elevator)?
- Is going to the loo on another floor an option?
- Instead of sending that email, can you walk to your colleague and talk?
- What about suggesting ‘walking meetings’?
- When you’re out walking, can you walk faster?
- Instead of using a trolley at the supermarket, can you carry a shopping basket instead? Carrying your groceries from the supermarket to the car counts, too.
- Can you do some bicep curls with that shopping bag?
- What about choosing to walk up and down all the aisles at the supermarket? Even if you don’t need to buy foods in that aisle.
- Take a regular 2-minute stress buster: why not schedule times to get up and walk around to clear your mind, re-focus and feel better? I use the Stand-Up app on my phone for this (and I bounce on my rebounder!).
- Why not consider investing in a rebounder (and using it!). This is the one that I have and I love it!
- Whenever the phone rings, can you stand up to talk?
- While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, can you use that time to stretch?
- Is building a walk into your morning ritual an option?
- What about the old faithful – count your steps? Create a goal to achieve a certain number (and then increase it!) Your food and mood journal is a great way to keep track.
- Can you build yoga/tai chi/ stretching into your morning ritual?
- Is getting a dog (and walk her at least twice every day) something you can do? Having a dog is a GREAT way to increase your incidental movement.
- Do you use the washing line instead of your dryer?
- Can you do the ironing?
- Does the house need a vacuum?
- Can you start that vegetable garden you’ve been thinking about? If not – what about planting some herbs in pots?
- What’s your favourite song at the moment? Listen to your favourite track and have a boogie!
- How about creating a practice of leaving your phone in the other room (so you have to get up to get it)?
- Is starting a ritual of taking a walk after dinner feasible for you (and your partner or pup)?
- What moving, stretching or foam rolling can you do while watching Netflix
- Can you commit to 10 squats (or similar) every ad’ break?
- Can you add a stretching routine to your ‘before bed’ evening ritual?