More Daily Movement Practice

Dance to music in the living room, clean a closet, weed a section of your garden...Screen shot 2011-06-03 at 6.26.20 PM

You know fitness is important for your health and well-being. However, while you may want to get more active your days are a blur of commitments: work, household chores, errands, and time with family and friends. Setting aside enough time to sleep, let alone exercise can be tough. So how can you find time for fitness? The key is to be flexible and make fitness a way of life and remember that all physical activity, not just formal exercise programs, add up to a healthier you. Just making small changes in your life to add in more activity can be a step in the right direction.

Think about physical activity as a lifestyle rather than just a single task to check off. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here, there, and everywhere.

Screen shot 2011-06-03 at 6.25.29 PMThere's no single best way to fit more movement or physical activity into your day. Your lifestyle, job and family responsibilities will point to the most convenient time and place for fitness. Do what works for you - and makes daily physical activity a habit you keep.


You can expect: increased energy

Level of Effort: Easy

Time Involved: 30 minutes (or more)


Getting Started:

  1. Start an activity journal
  2. Add at least one extra amount of movement everyday
  3. Find possibilities for adding physical activity to your daily routine


What to Consider:



1. Start an activity journal

In your journal record your daily activities - include all the types of activities you do - be as broad and detailed as possible - include walking, taking the stairs, cleaning the house, etc. Be come aware of how much you move each day and begin to identify areas where you could add more movement. Think about what things motivated or deterred you from physical activity. Learn more about keeping an Activity Journal…


2. Add at least one extra amount of movement everyday

Dedicate yourself to increasing your daily movements and physical activity by adding at least one extra amount of movement everyday. You can use the list of possibilities below for this addition or come up with one of your own - anything that gets you moving counts, it can be as simple as parking in the space farthest from the grocery store entrance in order to take a few extra steps or taking a walk around the block. Be sure to record these intentional additions to your movements in your activity journal.


3. Possibilities for adding physical activity to your daily routine

General daily activities:
  • Take the stairs whenever you can. If you have a meeting on another floor, get off the elevator a few floors early and use the stairs or skip the elevator entirely.
  • If going to an appointment, park a few blocks away and walk to your destination.
  • When you go to the mall or grocery store, park toward the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. If you have a little extra time, walk inside for a lap or two before you start shopping. Revamp your rituals. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids or your best friend could be reborn as your weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.
  • Bike or walk to an appointment rather than drive
  • Briskly walk to the bus stop then get off one stop early


In and around your home:
  • Clean the house
  • Wash the car
  • Tend to the yard and garden (Raking and hoeing strengthen your arms and back, and digging works your arms and legs.)
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower
  • Sweep up the sidewalk or patio with a broom
  • Mop the floor, scrub the bathtub or do other housework at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping.
  • Rearrange your living room - pushing around or carrying heavy pieces of furniture (solo)
  • Boogie to music
  • Gently stretch while watching television
  • Get off the couch to change the channel or adjust the volume while watching television.


At work and on the go:

(Fit in more physical activity while you're on the job or out and about)

  • Make the most of your commute. Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Take fitness breaks. Rather than hanging out in the lounge with coffee or a snack, take a short walk.
  • Start a lunchtime walking group. The regular routine and the support of your co-workers may help you stick with the program.
  • Take it on the road. If you travel for work, plan ahead. Bring a jump rope or choose a hotel that has fitness facilities. If you're stuck in an airport waiting for a plane, grab your bags and take a walk.


With your family:
  • Jog around the soccer field during your kid's practice
  • Make a neighborhood bike ride part of weekend routine
  • Play a game like tag, outside, with your kids
  • Walk the dog in a new place
  • Plan active outings- make a date with a friend to hike in a local park, or take a family trip to the zoo.


In your free time or just for fun:
  • Go to the beach or take a hike
  • Take a class in martial arts, dance, or yoga.
  • Get social - try a dance club, hiking group or golf league. Encouragement from others can help you stay active.
  • Join a team- sign up for a softball, soccer or volleyball team through your local parks and recreation department. Making a commitment to a team is a great motivator.
  • Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. (Have an exercise video queued up and ready to go when you get home at night.)
  • Step outside for a brisk walk. (Start with a walk around the block. Don't give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you'll no longer feel worn out.)


Around the house

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Review your activity journal

  • Review your activity journal and notice how much additional activity you added. Think about how you feel and if you have noticed any changes in your body or disposition.
  • Consider if you are ready to add a structured exercise plan to your routine or increase the intensity of your current program…


Tips for making your practice a habit

  • Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. Remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.
  • Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car so that you're ready when you find a few minutes for exercise.
  • Remember even short spurts of exercise; such as 10 minutes of walking spaced throughout the day offer many benefits.


Additional Resources and Articles