So, you missed a day or two of exercise? Yeah, I do it all the time which actually surprises a lot of people. I’m a bona fide fitness pro who doesn’t workout every day? Nope!
Integration matters more than conflagration
The little motions mean more than the big, burning workouts. I usually enjoy a “workout” 3-4 times a week and the rest is integration. By that, I mean that I integrate so many small things that some might consider “exercise” into my day, that it would be considered a workout if I did it all at once. But instead of doing one workout, I spread it out throughout the day.
When I mention the small things I’m doing throughout the day, I’m not just referring to stretching here and there, parking the car a bit further from the store to rack up extra steps, or incorporating a few extra motions like squats during daily habits like brushing my teeth. No — it has to be things I do every day and the extra motion has to make integrative sense. Sometimes I squat while I brush my teeth, but sometimes I forget. Sometimes I park further away from the store, and sometimes it’s raining, and there’s a lovely spot too close to logically pass by when I have my kids with me.
I’m not opposed to adding random moves to random chores and habits. In fact, I’ve designed several workout routines for the members of Fit2B that cover how to add extra motion to various places in our homes. However, I’m not going to bust out some bonus butt-blasting moves in the grocery checkout line. I’m passionate, but I’m not desperate.
3 Daily Exercises I Do Consistently
Here are three exercise that I like to integrate into my daily life so that even if I can’t get a single, long workout session into my day, I’m still getting these key motions:
Didn’t I say this wasn’t about adding squats? Yes, but squats don’t have to be added to naturally occur throughout your day in logical ways. Far too often, we bend our backs and tuck our buns to pick something up or peer into a low cabinet when it would make more sense to squat to do those things. I’ve counted 29-93 squats in any given day (and a lot less back pain!) when I choose to squat instead of bend over. That’s basically the equivalent of 2-6 sets of 15 squats I might do in a group fitness class. If you stink at squatting, I can help you improve your technique with this squatting tutorial here.
#2 Lifting heavy things:
It comes naturally with the territory of motherhood, housekeeping, and gardening. But when we do it with intention, everything changes. I used to go to the gym and lift heavy weights and then come home and let my husband buck the hay or move the furniture or reach for the high items. Now I’m like a toddler — I want to do it myself!!!
Not sure how to integrate this into your life? Reframe your perspective on the following activities like this…
- You climb on the counter to reach something in a high cabinet which equals 5-6 tricep presses and deep lunges.
- You apply weight lifting principles to loading, unloading and putting out the dog, cat and chicken food which consists of 6-8 upright rows or deadlifts depending on how I do it.
- You haul the firewood into the house which equals 12-15 deadlifts, rows, bicep curls, or farm carries depending on how high the stack of wood in the woodshed is.
- You use a reverse lunge every time you get down on the floor to talk to your toddler or change the baby’s diaper. Then, you purposefully lunge back up and do the opposite leg next time.
As for playing, I invest in healthy home updates and toys for myself and my family that encourage daily exercises to happen more naturally. If you walk into my home, at first glance you’ll see all the normal furniture, but look again and you’ll see a foam block tucked in with a stack of books.
You’ll see two half-foam rolls my kids like to use for balance; I use them to stretch. You’ll see a kettlebell and stretchy band next to a basket of blankets. You’ll see climbing rings dangling in my son’s bedroom doorway. You’ll see sensory toys for feet, and dumbbells in strange places. One of my friends said my home “looks normal but it’s really a jungle gym!”
I admit, these are just random ideas from my own life. Your life isn’t the same as mine, so you’ll need to have fun and be creative to suit your own family’s needs and home environment.
How to Integrate More Movement into Your Daily Life
In closing, consider that part of our problem with gaining strength is that, like natural movement experts say, we have outsourced a lot of the heavy lifting to technology. We don’t need to work hard, so we don’t.
We have to reclaim motions we’ve given up. Then, when we milk everyday chores for more motion and quit lazing our way through life, we end up stronger and more flexible overall. When we use good form and technique AND STOP SAYING NO to hard things, we will see more tone in general.
You start to frame your daily demands as potential moments for exercise, and not only will you be less tired and sore at the end of the day because you moved better, you will be stronger for your family, community, and world!
Join the Discussion: How do you integrate exercise into your daily life? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below!