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) 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.
2) Use hydration to promote movement. Instead of drinking out of a big water bottle that lets you hunker down at your desk for long periods of time, get a small cup. Drinking from a smaller cup will force you to get up at least once an hour to walk to the water cooler for a refill. People who got up to move around for at least two minutes every hour in a multi-year study had a 33 percent lower risk of dying during the course of the study, according to researchers at the University Of Utah School Of Medicine. Walking for two minutes every hour is an easy goal to reach when you’re taking frequent water cooler breaks. Bonus: drinking more water means you will have to use the bathroom more, requiring even more walking.
3) Breathe deeply. You can do this even when you are stuck sitting in a chair during a meeting (aka waiting to appeal your death sentence). Breathing is intuitive, but you are shortchanging your body of movement if you're only taking shallow breaths. Make it your goal to take 10 deep, diaphragm-moving breaths throughout the course of your meeting. This will MOVE your upper body, reduce any stress and pain you’re feeling (thanks to the endorphins your body releases when you breathe deeply), lower your blood pressure, and increase your energy level. Correcting your breathing can even help to correct the bad posture that’s so easy to sink into when you sit.
4) 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.
5) 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.
But wait, there’s more! Home bonus: Walk while you brush your teeth. You will brush for longer, use less water, and work a couple extra steps into the start or finish of your day.
– Joel, Founder of FluidStance®