Eights Ways to Move More
Make all your daily movements count as exercise with these eight simple tricks.
By Sharon Liao
There’s no question that physical activity is good for your joints and overall health. But Americans are more sedentary than ever. Adults sit an average of 6.4 hours a day, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. That’s up 16% since 2001. One solution: Sneak in small doses of movement throughout the day.
“You don’t need to carve out a lot of time to exercise,” says Corey Feger, a physical therapist in Louisville, Kentucky. “Doing a few minutes here and there adds up.” And every little bit counts: Research shows that doing just 20 seconds of exercise several times throughout the day can improve your fitness level, according to a 2017 study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Use these little moves to make a big impact on your daily quota.
1. Do heel raises while you floss. While holding on to the counter with one hand (if you need to) and using a floss pick with the other, lift your heels and rise up on your toes, then lower and repeat, says Theresa Marko, owner of Marko Physical Therapy in New York City.
2. Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth. Hold the counter if needed, and balance on one leg. Switch legs after one minute.
3. Park a little farther away. You’ll get a few extra steps everywhere you drive.
4. Take the stairs. Or get off the elevator a few floors early and finish on the steps.
5. Stand up to chat. Get up when you’re talking on the phone. Even better, march in place.
6. Work weights while you watch. Keep some light weights on your coffee table and do exercises, such as overhead presses, biceps curls and triceps extensions, while watching TV.
7. Do squats during commercials. Sit at the edge of your chair, feet pointing forward, and – without using your hands – slowly stand up, then slowly sit. Repeat until the show starts again.
8. Go the long way. Whether you’re headed to the office printer or grabbing a drink from the kitchen, take an extra turn or two to get in some extra.