The Natural Path – 5 Simple Ways to Incorporate More Movement into your Day

by Dr. Marita Schauch, ND, Tall Tree Integrated Health Centre – 

As we shake off the hibernation of the winter season, the rebirth of spring or the promise of summer may be giving you a bit more inspiration to get up and get moving.

Movement is a crucial part of maintaining good physical and mental health, and yet only about 16% of Canadian adults are meeting the recommended amounts of physical activity.

Sedentary lifestyles increase risks of health complications such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Daily movement is also linked with improved mood, and mental health, yet for many people they simply feel too busy or overstretched to head to the gym every day.

Incorporating just 20 minutes a day of physical activity into your day will allow you to meet the recommendations, and there are some simple ways to work movement into your regular daily routine to feel almost effortless!

Take a walk after lunch and dinner. Taking a short walk after eating helps you digest and can leave you feeling refreshed to get back to work, or wound down for the evening. You could do all 20 minutes at once, or split it up into two shorter walks if time is an issue. Walking is an excellent and often underappreciated form of physical activity.

Do a 10- to 20-minute yoga flow or exercise class. Don’t have an hour to carve out for a yoga class? No problem! There are hundreds of free yoga videos on YouTube in short segments of 10 to 60 minutes. Just type in the amount of time you have and the word “yoga” (ie. 10 minute yoga) and roll out your mat. You can also find plenty of higher-intensity workouts in short segments too if you’re in the mood for a quick sweat!

Park on the far side of the parking lot and take the stairs. When parking for work or running errands, park at the far end of the lot and take advantage of the extra steps. Same goes with skipping the elevator. It may not seem like much, but those steps add up!

Take phone calls while walking. Pacing or walking around when on the phone is something many of us feel naturally inclined to do anyway, and it can help you get to your 20 minutes, maybe even in one call! Try to schedule your calls where you can take them outside on a walk if possible, to get some fresh air as well.

Have a dance break. No one said this had to be boring! Turn on your favourite song and dance around to it. One song is about three to five minutes typically, so taking a few breaks to dance it off during the day can help you get to your 20 minutes with pizazz.

Finding creative ways to slip in some movement often creates a bit of a snowball effect, and you may feel yourself inspired to do more and more. Keeping a positive, curious mindset around moving is key. Remember: this isn’t a punishment. This is an investment in yourself.

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