4 ways to add 5 minutes of movement to your day

Statue of family skipping through grass field

Moving Meetings: walking and talking

If you need to get on a call (that doesn’t involve video), try pacing around the room (or up and down the hallway, or outside) during the entire call. For a 20-30 minute meeting, you could end up walking over a mile even at a relaxed pace, without having to add another event into your day. 

  • Level Up: If you have a small group or one-on-one meeting that doesn’t require computes or presentation gear, why not make it a walking meeting? Bonus points for feeling like you’re co-starring in the West Wing. You can even take your video meeting on the road if it’s somewhere the signal won’t drop (I’ve been known to do this with midday WordCamp Volunteer meetings).
  • Take It Easy: Even standing or doing some stretching is better than staying in your chair, and can help with increasing your flexibility or alleviating any soreness you already have. If you’ve got a desk job, stretching the hip flexors and chest muscles (which tend to be contracted from sitting and leaning forward to use a computer) will make a huge difference in how you feel the rest of the day.

Compiling Crunches: exercise during waiting periods

What to do when a huge file is uploading, a large chunk of code is compiling, or your software is updating? You could scroll through social media on your phone for the billionth time, or you could get moving! 

  • Level Up: Can you break a sweat? Jumping jacks, planks, pushups, crunches, and any number of body weight exercises can get your heart rate up in a very short period of time
  • Take It Easy: Use that time to get up out of your chair and walk around the room. If there is a window nearby, go focus on something far away to give your eyes a break from the close-up brightness of the screen

Stair Strategy: get some extra steps

I like to refer to stairs, ramps, sidewalks, and paths as part of the “free worldwide gym” that exists all around us. On days where I don’t have the time or energy for a traditional workout, I can still get my heart rate up just by electing to replace escalators, elevators, or moving sidewalks with the “manual” option.

  • Level Up: Run up those stairs! I personally will run up any stairs 3 stories or less in almost any circumstance (impractical footwear or carrying something awkward in my arms being the exception). If you’re going to do this, though, maybe give yourself an extra minute to cool down before your next meeting.
  • Take It Easy: If taking the stairs makes you weak in the knees (literally) even getting some more walking time on flat surfaces is helpful. Can you take a slightly longer path to where you are going? 

Procrastination Pushups: exercise as a diversion

We all have those tasks that we don’t want to get started on. Usually, this desire to procrastinate will quickly send us down an internet rabbit hole of random videos, articles, or social media posts. Why not use this moment instead as a trigger to get up and be active?

  • Level Up: Increase the difficulty level of the exercise to directly correlate with how much you do not want to do the task at hand. Mildly annoying? Do a few squats. Can’t stand the thought? Well, no one likes burpees either, so let’s do that!
  • Take It Easy: You can follow the same rules with stretching and flexibility exercises. Got a task that’s a bit of a pain? Try some traditional stretching. Really don’t want to do it? Bust out the foam roller and go to town (ouch!)

How do you add movement to your day? Would love to hear more ideas in the comments!

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