When we think about being physically active, the ideas that pop into our minds are usually running, hiking, doing yoga, or hitting the gym. We don’t often think about small moves that are nonetheless essential for our body’s wellness, movements that can make a difference in how we feel throughout the day. Being sedentary can lead to problems that go beyond gaining weight; heart disease, diabetes, depression, and several other mental health disorders are just some of these problems. However, there are simple habits we can include in our lives to prevent them. 

Working from a home office, as so many of us have had to do over the past year, keeps you from the benefits of walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or using your lunch break to get some quick exercise. So, what are some small moves and activities we can do to keep our bodies active and the energy flowing? 

Here are some healthy habits you can add to your life to foster a more dynamic lifestyle no matter where you are or how much time you may have to spare.

 

Have a desk? Why not stand?

If you can get a standing desk, and it’s something you’d feel comfortable with, go for it! Some of the benefits? You won’t risk being hunched over your computer or documents, and your body will be more active just from standing. Studies have shown that you can burn more calories, as well as lower your blood sugar levels and the risk of heart disease, and you may feel less fatigue, tension, and confusion while being more productive.

Pace around during the call

If possible, walk around when you’re taking a call; the brief (or not so brief) activity can get your blood flowing, and it’s a good way of interjecting small moves into your routine without interrupting your workflow. It’s an easy way to work on weight loss if it’s something you’re interested in: you’re burning around three times more calories when you’re walking than when you’re sitting! 

 

Stretch, stretch, stretch!

Take breaks to stretch your body! A few minutes can do wonders for your back, neck, shoulders, wrists, and ankles. Taking a break to stretch 5 times per day, for 5-8 minutes, has been shown to not only improve flexibility, but also physical self-perception. Another plus? The increase in circulation, which leads to a reduction of muscle soreness through an increase of blood flow and supply of nutrients to muscles and cartilage. Further benefits from stretching include a reduction in stress (as we’re alleviating the muscles that may contract when we’re stressful) and mood improvement (due to a release of endorphins from the exercise). We often dismiss small moves like these that can help lessen or prevent future sprains or aches, but they can all add up to make a difference at the end of a long day’s work. 

 

Cooking (Small moves such as dancing)

Believe it or not, another overlooked activity that keeps us active is cooking. Cooking at home helps you save some money by avoiding takeaway while keeping you better aware of what you’re feeding your body, and you’re staying energetic even if it’s in a subtle manner. For added motivation, have some fun music in the kitchen and dance around. Ways of staying active while you’re cooking? Small moves such as walking around or stretch as you’re waiting for the water to boil, march (in place) while you’re stirring, place utensils or ingredients in places that force you to stretch or make a physical effort to reach, and thoroughly clean things after you’re done! 

 

Fidgeting is not, in fact, bad for you

Have you ever been told to stop fidgeting? Well, as it turns out, fidgeting is actually good for you! Pace around, move on your chair, and stretch your arms and legs, fingers and toes; work out that impatience or edginess — you’ll thank yourself later.

Daily movements, no matter how small, can make a noticeable difference with regard to our overall health, beyond just our weight and posture.