It's common knowledge that the majority of us don't move as much as we should. Even those of us who can manage to fit in a quick workout every day, spend the rest of the day glued to a chair.
As we use our bodies less and less, the effects can show up as back pain, weight gain and other health issues. But there are a few things you can do to combat the effects of moving less. Here are a few tips that won't overwhelm you or take too much time, but will have a big impact:
1. Make your life less convenient.
The best place to start is in the kitchen. Rearranging a few necessities will get your body moving and stretching. Start by placing your lightweight, most-used items up high. That way, when you want them, which will be frequently, you're forced to stretch your body to reach them. Reaching your arms overhead and standing on your toes helps with shoulder and toe mobility.
To work your legs, place heavier items, like pots and pans, in low cabinets to strengthen your glutes.
2. Start walking more, but not on the sidewalk.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise out there — anyone can do it, you don't need equipment and you can walk anywhere. Though to work all of the 100 muscles in your feet and ankles, you might need to take your walks up a notch.
That doesn't mean you need to start speed walking, but you should switch up the terrain you're walking on. Try a trail that's covered with tree roots, or a sandy beach. The uneven surfaces can challenge and strengthen the tiny muscles in your feet. Bonus challenge: Go barefoot if you're up for it!
3. Sit, stand and repeat.
Most of us sit all day long, from our work desks straight to the couch at the end of the day. This lack of movement causes our hips to become tight and glutes to weaken, which can result in back pain. The simple remedy? Find reasons to sit on the floor and get up repeatedly.
Sure, it sounds annoying and not fun at all, but you can work it into your weekly tasks like doing laundry. Try kneeling at a low coffee table while you fold and put things away in phases, causing you to get up and sit down several times. Another option is to squat or kneel while you answer emails.
Making your life a little harder could do wonders for your body. By making these tiny tweaks in your day, you're challenging, strengthening and stretching muscles that you wouldn't ordinarily use. You'll see a major difference in your energy levels and how your body feels.