Just like our tummy likes regular snacks, our bodies (joints, muscles, spine) like regular movement. These “movement snacks” don’t have to get your heart rate up or blood pumping, and they may not always feel like they count as “exercise,” but if they get you moving your body more then that’s a win!
Movement snacks can be anything that increases how much and how often you are moving throughout the day. Trying to include more frequent and varied movement into your routine is especially helpful if you spend long periods of time not moving much – like if you spend all day at work on the computer and don’t get up often. You may find that including more movement snacks in your day can help reduce pain, discomfort, stiffness, and stress. You may find you sleep better too.
Here are some ideas for movement snacks:
Do some calf raises while you brush your teeth/waiting to cross the road
Run around playing chasey with the kids or the dog
Have a dance when a good song comes on
Pull out a yoga mat and do some of your favourite stretches while watching The Bachelor
Park a little further than usual from work or the shops
Choose the stairs instead of the elevator
Instead of eating your lunch at your desk, take a little walk to the local park to eat
Stand up and walk around the house or your office while talking on the phone
Spend 5 minutes doing some easy stretches in bed before going to sleep (this can also help you relax and may help you sleep better)
If you don’t have the time (or energy) for a long walk or full work out session today, take 10 or 15 minutes to do some yoga or body weight exercises at home (there are lots of options for easy at-home exercises that don’t require any special equipment)
Do some simple neck or back stretches while standing around waiting for the kettle to boil
At work, get up and go for a walk to the printer or for a glass of water more often
Do some neck stretches in the car while waiting for the lights to turn green
Personally, I stretch my neck, low back, and hamstrings regularly throughout the day. I like to do a few of my favourite yoga stretches before bed some nights (often with a short breathing exercise too), and I try to park further away so I have to walk a little more to work and the shops. These snacks are on top of my regular exercise “meals” including walking the dogs and fitness classes.
Tips for adding more movement snacks:
If you are trying to include more movement snacks in your day, its best to start by picking 1 or 2 things that you think you can implement easily and that feel good.
It might even help to set an alarm to remind you!
It can take some time and repetition for these kinds of habits to become second-nature, but it is well worth it.