An object at rest stays at rest, an object in motion stays in motion... unless acted upon by an outside force.
Outside of being a wiz at grade school science material, odds are you've experienced this phenomenon in your own life. Maybe Newton wasn't necessarily referring to our ability to keep moving well once we start, (or those moments when the opposite holds true), but it certainly applies.
Let's say you've established a pretty consistent routine with your workouts. You spend one hour 3-5 days out of the week at the gym, move through your exercise routine for the day, and then get on with the rest of your day. You've even started to look forward to this process, and you feel kind of off if you have to miss it. (If this is you, take a moment to acknowledge this accomplishment. This is no small feat. If this isn't you, it's okay! There are nuggets of gold here for everyone. Stick with us).
What does the rest of your time look like? If you're like most people, even if you make a point to stay consistent with exercise, you're spending a lot of time sitting at a desk, staring at a screen. Whether it's work, school, television, your phone, driving a car, heck even reading a book, you're sitting down. And maybe you're doing it in the same kinda weird way you always do, without even realizing it.
How are you moving when you're not thinking about it? How are you not moving when you're not thinking about it? Ie. The other 23 hours.
Start by taking note of the following:
1. How do you move through your day? (walking the dog, doing the laundry, unloading the dishwasher, taking out the trash, picking up the baby, carrying the groceries, etc.)
2. How do you not move through your day? (ie. waiting in line at the store, sitting in front of the TV, curling up to read a book, lying down to take a nap)
The goal here is not to drive yourself completely crazy by analyzing your every move, rather to start to draw intentional awareness to your movement patterns in all kinds of contexts. You might notice some patterns, or become aware of correlations between aches and pains and your go-to postures. From there, you can start to implement the following ideas into your daily life.
Here are 5 tips to help you maximize your movement
1. Good posture in stillness
One of the most basic ways to improve your posture is to stand and sit up straight. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, your chin parallel to the ground, and your ears in line with your shoulders. When sitting, keep your feet flat on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Avoid slouching or leaning forward in your chair.
2. Take frequent breaks
Sitting for long periods of time can cause aches and pains, especially in the back, neck, and shoulders. To prevent this, take frequent breaks throughout the day. Stand up, stretch, and move around every hour or so. This can help improve circulation, reduce stiffness, and prevent muscle imbalances. If you find you struggle to do this, set a timer on your phone to go off and remind you to take a break.
3. Use a standing desk
If you have a job that requires you to sit for extended periods of time, consider using a standing desk. This can help reduce the amount of time you spend sitting and improve your posture while working. Be sure to adjust the height of your desk so that your computer screen is at eye level, and alternate between standing and sitting throughout the day.
4. Practice good posture during everyday activities
Good posture is not just important when you're sitting or standing still. It's also important during everyday activities like walking, carrying bags, and using your phone or computer. When walking, keep your head up, your shoulders back, and your feet pointed forward. When carrying bags, distribute the weight evenly between both sides of your body. And when using your phone or computer, keep the screen at eye level and avoid leaning forward.
5. Incorporate movement into your daily routine
Finally, one of the best ways to maximize movement and improve posture outside of the gym is to incorporate movement into your daily routine. This can include taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your destination, and going for a walk during your lunch break. You can also try stretching or foam rolling while watching TV or during commercial breaks.
Getting moving more often isn't just about burning calories, and improving posture and maximizing movement doesn't have to be limited to formal exercise. Whether you're someone who already works out 5 days a week, or you struggle with consistency, making a point to maximize your movement (and stillness) outside of the gym will help build a better base of support to help you feeling better and moving better in all areas of life. Don't wait to start looking for more opportunities to get up, move around, and stretch throughout the day – your body will thank you for it!
Looking for some extra accountability to help keep you moving well in the off-hours? Click the link below to schedule your free consultation calls with one of our skilled coaches and find out about our 6 Week Challenge!