I’m going to say it: movement is non-negotiable. If you’re looking for a silver bullet to address your physical, mental, hormonal, heart and bone health…it’s movement.
Yet, why are we putting movement to the end of the to-do list, kicking the can down the road? I think for a lot of women, myself included, we have a certain idea of what movement or exercise needs to be. Like if I just can do 20 squats and 10 push-ups, what’s the point? If I’m not dripping sweat with a trainer yelling at me, is it even worth it?
I’m here to tell you, whatever you decide to do is worth it. What’s not worth it, is not getting any movement at all. In fact, it’s hazardous to your health.
So today, I wanted to give you some ideas on how to fit movement into your day. You need to start where you are now (not where you were when you were 25). Once you commit to yourself, even for a little bit each day, you will slowly gain momentum and be able to increase your activity.
Walking is a great way to get some movement in during the day. It’s my preferred movement activity because I can walk my dog, listen to a favorite podcast or a new album. You can also do this with a friend and/or a kid in a stroller.
Walking in nature has been shown to decrease pain and increase mental wellbeing. So if you have some nearby parks or trails, check them out.
I also like having an idea of how many steps I’m getting each day. I aim for over 10k, but the days I’m in the office, it’s not happening. It’s ok, it just helps motivate me to step away from the computer and take a short walk.
Intervals (walk fast for a minute, slow pace for a minute and repeat) are a great way to incorporate HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your walk. HIIT has been shown to be most beneficial for brain, heart and bone health especially for women in mid-30’s to menopause.
Break It Up
Fit in your exercises when you can throughout the day. Pick 5 exercises and commit to doing them throughout the day. They don’t need to be done all at once to be effective. Nor do you need a special outfit, equipment or perfect home gym. Just MOVE! On a walk? Great, sprinkle some of them into your walk.
My five favorite bodyweight exercises are:
Bear Crawl to Downward dog
Lunch Break = Movement
If you have access to an office gym, take advantage! If not, no worries!
Head outside for a walk
Go up and down a few flights of stairs
Bodyweight exercises at your desk or an empty conference room
Grab an office mate and buddy up
Have a door to your office? Close it and move. If you have to pump, steal an extra 5min and do a few exercises.
You can also look into if your company has any health challenges you can join
If you’re home with kiddos, get them set up for lunch and entertain them with your exercises or let them join you!
Body Before Business
So whatever you have to do or think you “should “be doing, put your body first. Kids are asleep? Yay! Take advantage and move. The dishes, crumbs, toys will all be there in 30 minutes. You’ll feel better and feel better equipped to deal with all of the mundane tasks that are waiting for you.
Advocate for yourself with your partner. Let them know this needs to be a priority for you for 30 minutes. You deserve this time and do not need to feel guilty for taking time to take care of YOU.
Get Up Early
Get up and get it done. This is the hardest one for me, but it’s something I really want to train myself to do. I’m most productive in the morning, and let’s face it, once I’ve put my son down for bed, I’m done. No matter my intentions for the day, if I miss exercise earlier in the day, I am MUCH LESS likely to do it at night.
I understand this is not realistic for a lot of women. I get that and that’s ok!
Whatever you do, remember it counts!
If you are able to get to the gym or a class 3-4x/wk- awesome. For a lot of busy women I work with, that’s just not feasible at this time in their lives.
I also recognize the diet and fitness industry has warped our thinking that if it’s not this intense sweat sesh, it doesn’t count. Well, that’s just not true. Whatever you’re wearing, whatever the environment, make some space amongst the chaos and move!