• Sarah Tian

Want to Move More? Here Are Some Tips! (Without Going to the Gym)

Updated: Jul 15

I recently strained my back and it took me a month to recover from it. While I was in pain, I could not stay in one position for too long, or my back pain would worsen. There is a silver lining to every bad experience. I was forced to keep my body moving more frequently throughout my day, and this habit has stuck with me!


When I Googled the causes of back strain, among the numerous reasons, one particular one screamed at me: "sedentary lifestyle". Like other office workers, I am guilty of spending the majority of my workdays sitting down. It took me a month of back pain to change that and start to move more, but I hope you don't need to go through that.

If you want to avoid pulling your back like I did and the variety of other detrimental health effects associated with prolonged sitting, including risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking (see What are the risks of sitting too much?), I strongly advise trying out these micro-steps listed below for boosting activity during your workday:


💡 Place a yoga mat somewhere visible in your home


For example, you can place it right beside your workstation (if you work from home). The yoga mat will serve as a constant reminder to stretch your muscles. For instance, after a lengthy meeting, I like to practice the child's pose to relax. Stretching is the simplest and quickest way for me to release muscle tension and ease pain. It feels like giving myself a massage!


💡 Learn some moves you can do right at your desk (while sitting/standing)


For example, while sitting, you can do arm & finger stretches, neck stretches, leg raises, bend down to hug your knees; while standing, you can exercise by tip-toeing, performing squats, walking on the spot, etc.


Get inspired by watching videos like chair workout by Desk Yogi, until you find a few exercises that you enjoy the most. For example, if you tend to have neck pains, you may want to check out specific neck-pain relieving exercises that you can do while you are at your desk.



💡 Schedule mini-exercise sessions in-between work activities


For example, you may want to establish a routine where after every meeting, you perform five squats and five pushups. Make sure to add it to your calendar so you don't forget!


💡 Move whenever you have a moment


After you swtich-on your "move more" mindset, you will soon realize you can fit in movements during many moments in your daily life. For example, you can exercise while:

  • watching TV (e.g.: Russian twists, scissor kicks or squats on the mat)

  • in bed (e.g.: hug your knees to chest, sit-ups, bridge, push-ups)

  • you go to the toilet (e.g.: neck stretches, shoulder rolls etc.)

  • waiting in line (e.g.: tip-toeing, arm stretching, shoulder rolls)

  • waiting for the food to heat up in the microwave (e.g.: any movement that works in the space you have!)

  • carrying your groceries (e.g.: arm raises like when you lift weights in the gym)

  • standing on the bus (e.g.: pull-ups)

  • walking at home (e.g.: lunges)

  • ...

Trust me, many of the movements on the list will make you laugh, which helps you burn even more calories!

I hope this article has inspired you to start thinking about practical and creative ways you can embed more movement in your daily routines!


Don't underestimate the power of these micro-steps for helping your build the habit of moving. Keep at it for a while and discover how it improves your physical well-being over time!

 

Take Action!


Try out one of the tips above and see which one works for you!

 

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