We move every day, from getting out of bed first thing in the morning, to resting our head on the pillow last thing at night… and everything in-between. But have you ever sat back and considered the type and amount of movement you are getting in everyday? Firstly, I like using the term ‘movement’ instead of ‘exercise’, as so many people are put off by the latter. Whenever we break it down, exercise is just movement. So rather than saying to someone ‘did you exercise today?’, ask them ‘how much movement have they done?’
A great example of this is trying to reach 10,000 steps a day. When trying to achieve this target, many people will aim to achieve this by moving throughout the day. If they have a planned run or exercise class, it always seems like an added bonus if they reach their step count. You will hear people say ‘I ran 5k today AND I hit my 10,000 steps’.
As well as 10,000 steps, you can add other movement targets throughout the day, and there is no better time than first thing in the morning. I, myself, have developed a habit of performing a stretching routine every morning. This isn’t exercising; it’s movement.
I will start off by raising the heart rate and waking the body up to perform a simple flow routine that moves my body the way it was designed to work. This will take me anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
Next, I will follow it with a walk outside which takes me 12 minutes to complete. During this time, I’m listening to some form of audio – either a book or podcast. Movement and knowledge in one go – multitasking at its finest.
In addition to this, I have added a kettlebell movement series into my morning routine and this is simply 10 goblet squats, 10 swings, 10 bent-over rows and 10 press-ups (three sets).
I don’t classify this as exercise. After this routine two/three times a week, I will exercise in the gym and follow a programme. But every other day I’m not in the gym, this kettlebell routine is just movement.
For some people this may seem like a big commitment to do every day -in total it’s around 30 minutes – but you don’t have to spend that long. It could be a simple five minute stretch or walk first thing in the morning, or follow my simple kettlebell routine or similar using a dumbbell or body weight.
The point is that it’s all about moving. No need for fancy workout programmes or trying to hit certain miles each week. Just get up and move. Even dance around the kitchen – it’s movement! Throughout the day, depending on what I am doing, I will focus on my movement.
If I’m on the computer most of the day, I will take movement breaks and go for a short walk or do my morning stretching routine again.
If I’m out coaching, I’ll make sure that I’m always walking around the group and not standing in one place.
You could choose to park the car a little bit further away from the entrance to your work, or walking or cycling to work or taking the stairs instead of always using the lift.
In the evening time, your movement could focus more on relaxing with light yoga moves, stretches or even an evening dander with a loved one or the dog (who you probably love more than anything else).
If we focus on movement every day to help maintain our bodies and keep us healthy, then we can focus our exercise on what we really want to do rather than just for keeping active and maybe putting our body under extra stress that it doesn’t need. What I mean here is that if you are not focusing on movement throughout the day and thinking that a one-hour blast of some form of activity will make up for sitting around all day in a stressful environment like work, you may be inviting even more physical stress to the body.
Using exercise as a means for doing something you enjoy like playing sport, entering a race or even for the social aspect can be a better way of looking at it rather than making sure you stay fit and healthy. You can easily achieve this goal by focusing on your movement every day, and if you want to push on to that next level then add in some exercise.