Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the average person's lifestyle was pretty sedentary. Now, we’re sitting at the kitchen table working all day and then decompressing on the couch watching Netflix at night. Even if you're getting the recommended amount of exercise per week, the periods of sitting throughout the day can really add up.
Not to worry — it's easy to work more movement into your day. Here are a few unexpected places for you to get more active in your daily life — in an achievable and tangible way.
1. In the morning: sink side steps
First thing in the morning, you can start to improve your flexibility, movement and joint comfort. While you’re brushing your teeth, do side lunges and hold them to one side with a pulse.
Step your right foot to the right, about 3-4 feet away, bend the right knee and keep the left leg straight. With the right knee tracking over the right ankle, pulse three times. Then, press down through the right heel and come back to center. Repeat this 10 times, and then switch to the left side.
This will increase mobility in the hips while also strengthening the lower body muscles!
2. While you're sitting during the day: chair taps
If you’re sitting down in a chair in your office or in your car, you may notice your joints and body feel stiff after sitting for too long. Our bodies were made to move!
Step it up and do small movements to help improve your range of motion even when you’re sedentary. If you’re sitting in an office chair, just stand up and turn to face the chair. Here, you can do modified high knees. Bend your right knee up towards your chest and tap the foot onto the chair, then place it back down on the ground. Repeat with the left knee and foot. You can do this slowly, or you can step it up and add a bounce without a pause between each side. Repeat back and forth for 30 seconds.
3. Using the stairs: step-up steps
While the stairs are great for an intense workout, I really encourage my clients to start small. Some movement is better than no movement!
Improve your range of motion in your hips and your lower body flexibility by doing this exercise: Step up onto the step with the closest foot. Stretch, lunge forward and then bring the other foot up to meet it. Go up the entire flight of stairs this way. This will boost your energy, get your heart pumping and you’ll instantly feel more energized!
4. Lounging on the couch: couch dips
Sometimes nighttime is the first chance that you've been able to slow down. Yet, even when you’re relaxing on the couch, you can still integrate small movements to keep your body loose and limber and to help improve joint mobility.
Let’s loosen up and strengthen the upper body. Sitting on the edge of the couch, walk the feet forward. Place your hands on the edge of the couch, with the fingers towards your body and hold onto the edge of the couch. Keep the knees bent, and lower down into a tricep dip. Pull your abs in and bend at your elbows so that your back is almost grazing the front edge of the couch. Hug the elbows in towards your body as you lower down and press back up. Repeat 10 times.
To make this exercise more challenging, you can straighten your legs all the way, making sure to keep your back straight and still almost grazing the front edge of the couch. This helps with upper arm and core strength as well as improving shoulder mobility.
By integrating these moves into your everyday life, you’ll feel more accomplished and maybe motivated to move even more. If you’re just starting an exercise routine, remember to start slow. Do small, simple movements throughout the day to gain flexibility and mobility, and to awaken your mind and body to the ease and accessibility of movement anywhere, anytime.