Bringing more movement into your life doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. I’m always looking for movement hacks that let me work a few extra steps into my day, keeping my body and mind in motion. Here are a few habits I like to suggest to add movement to your workday:
1) Create your own “Employee of Your Own Life” parking spot. Make it the parking spot farthest away from your front door. Adding extra steps to your day is just easy movement. Plus, making a conscious choice to take the farthest parking spot eliminates the stress of rushing to find the “best” parking spot.
2) Hydrate. Staying hydrated is an obvious need, but the fact is that the majority of us are dehydrated during the workday. Water consumption is the most basic way to keep the body moving, both internally and externally. When we are hydrated our body's systems can be more efficient and the increased demand to get up out of our chair to use the bathroom gets us physically moving on a regular basis. Instead of drinking out of a big water bottle that lets you hunker down at your desk for long periods of time, try a smaller bottle or cup. Drinking from a smaller cup will force you to get up more often to walk to the water cooler for a refill. Hydrating and walking? It's a win-win.
3) Add a walking meeting slot. If you are like most people, your calendar is full, and every new meeting draws away from your personal time. Simplify your schedule and add more movement to your day by making a daily “standing meeting” window available on your calendar. People can take time out of that slot—but only if they agree to take a walk. If no one schedules it, you have a chunk of time to take a walk and innovate. Taking walking meetings will not only give you guaranteed movement time, but it will also boost creativity, improving the quality of the conversation and inviting new perspectives.
4) Make mobile—mobile. Any time your cell phone rings or you make a call, require yourself to stand up and take some steps. The average American makes or receives five cell phone calls a day—that’s a lot of potential steps. Considering that the average length of a cell phone call is 1.8 minutes, walking during your phone calls can add an extra ten minutes of movement to your day.
5) Breathe deeply. Taking two minutes every hour to simply focus on deep breathing creates a positive internal flow in our nervous system. Focus on a three-part breath that first fills your stomach, then your abdomen and then your chest, all while breathing through your nose. Hold your breath for a couple seconds after the inhale and then slowly exhale through your mouth. (Kelly Heath shows you how here.) You can do this even when you're stuck sitting in a chair during a meeting. Breathing is intuitive, but you are shortchanging your body of movement if you're only taking shallow breaths. Deep breathing helps MOVE your upper body, reduces any stress and pain you’re feeling (thanks to the endorphins your body releases when you breathe deeply), lowers your blood pressure, and increases your energy level.
6) Opt for face time. The next time you need to get in touch with a coworker to set up a meeting or check in on a project, take the time to walk over to their desk. You’ll spare their inbox and get a chance to stretch your legs. In addition to adding extra movement to your day, personally delivering messages is one of the most effective ways to communicate.
For a bit of bonus movement at home, walk while you brush your teeth. You will brush for longer, use less water, and work a couple extra steps into the start and finish of your day.
– Joel, Founder of FluidStance®