14 Ways to Move More Throughout The Day

Woman doing Yoga on mat in living room surrounded by husband and 2 kids
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7 minutes

Written by Irene Lewis-McCormick

Don’t let a hectic schedule sideline your workout plans. Exercise, even in small doses, does a body good. Mix and match the following exercises to add up to 30 minutes of active time—you’re less likely to get bored or frustrated when you have plenty of exercise options to choose from.

Easy Ways to Move More

1. Find 5 minutes for yoga.

Warrior twoThese yoga poses are designed to improve your balance and strength. Hold each pose for five seconds and repeat each pose five times.

Warrior Two (shown here): Start standing with your feet together, then step one leg back into a lunge. Bend your front leg while keeping your back leg straight. Press your back heel down and turn your back foot to a 45-degree angle. Face sideways and, while keeping your abs tight, lift your torso up, extend each arm to shoulder height and look out over your front hand. Keep your palms open.

Chair Pose: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other. Exhale and sit back, as if into a chair. Keep your weight over your ankles as your chest moves forward.

Warrior One: Start standing with your feet together, then step one leg back into a lunge. Bend your front leg while keeping your back leg straight. Press your back heel down. Face forward and lift your torso up as you stretch your arms above your head.

Learn more Yoga Poses for Strength & Flexibility.

2. Do a 15-minute walking, strength and stretching routine.

Chair SitsThis three-step routine can be a great calorie burner.

  1. Walk or climb stairs for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Chair-sit by standing up and sitting back down into your chair (use your armrest to help you stand up and sit down if you need it). Perform 12-15 repetitions.
  3. Stretch by holding onto a table or desktop for support and bend at the hips, pushing your buttocks back toward the wall behind you. Hold for 10 seconds.

3. Walk when you can.

walking planWalking is the gold standard of fitness because it’s safe, it uses more than 200 muscles and you can do it almost anywhere. Set aside 30 minutes to walk each day, starting with a 3-5 minute warm-up, then increasing your speed to a brisk pace. If you haven’t been active lately, start by walking 10-15 minutes and add 2-3 minutes onto the session each week. End each session with a 3-5 minute cool-down of slow walking.

4. Stretch on the go.

shoulder reachShoulder Reach (shown here): Increase your shoulder flexibility by reaching one hand behind your head to the center of your upper back. With the other hand, reach behind and try to touch your opposite fingers. Hold for five seconds and switch. Tip: If you have difficulty touching your fingertips together, hold a sock or a rolled newspaper in your top hand and grab one end of it with your lower hand.

Chair Twist: Stretch your lower back by turning your torso while sitting in a chair. Grab one side of the chair with both hands. Take a deep breath as you look over your shoulder. Twist as far as you comfortably can, then repeat on the other side.

5. Exercise anywhere in the house.

standing pushupStanding Push-up (shown here): This push-up is designed to strengthen the chest and triceps. Stand a little more than arm’s length from a kitchen counter or sturdy surface and place your hands on the edge of the countertop, shoulder-width apart. Bend your elbows and lower your torso, then extend your arms by pushing up and away from the countertop. Keep your body straight from head to heels. Perform two sets of 10 repetitions.

Heel Raises: While brushing your teeth, stand on one leg and raise your heel off the floor; hold for 10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions and repeat on the other leg.

stair exercises6. Get more out of taking the stairs.

Instead of walking casually up the stairs, try increasing your speed and the number of stairs you can walk in 1 minute. Take two steps at once if you can do it safely.

7. Try these anytime, anywhere strength-builders.

plie squatsAdd these two exercises to your daily routine for a multitasking fitness approach.

Plié Squats (shown here): Try plié squats when talking on the phone, watching TV, working or making dinner. Stand with your feet in a V—heels together and toes apart. Tuck your hips in and lower your body down until your knees are just in front of your toes. Squeeze your inner thighs as you rise up. Do 20 repetitions. Walk and Talk: You can have a walking meeting with a colleague on the phone or in person—you’ll burn far more calories while you walk, and you can catch up on work at the same time.

8. Get out your jump rope for a 10-minute workout.

jump ropeJumping rope is an excellent cardio workout that burns calories quickly. It can also promote balance and coordination.

  • Minute 1: Jump in place to warm up (no rope).
  • Minutes 2-4: Jump with a slight bounce between each rope jump.
  • Minutes 5-7: Alternate feet (as if you were running in place).
  • Minutes 7-8: Slalom jump (keeping feet together, jump a few inches to the right and then to the left as if jumping moguls).
  • Minutes 9-10: Jump in place to cool down (no rope).

9. Do 10 minutes of strength exercises with cardio bursts.

strength exercisesThis cardio sculpting routine will help increase your overall strength and balance.

  • 2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform, and then step back to the floor. Repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Stand with your back against the wall. Slide slowly down the wall until your knees are bent and thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold 30 seconds, then stand up and repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform, and then step back to the floor. Repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Get down on all fours. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, back straight and knees on the floor. Lower your chest to the ground, push up and repeat.
  • 2 minutes: Step up onto a stair or sturdy platform, and then step back to the floor. Repeat.

Learn more types of cardiovascular excercise for heart health.

10. Increase your flexibility.

hamstring stretchYou don’t need any special equipment to do these easy stretches. They’re both designed to increase flexibility, and you can control how much of a stretch you get with each move.

Sit and Reach (shown here): Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Instead of hunching your back and bending forward from the waist, lengthen your spine and bend forward from the hips. With a straight back, lean forward as far as you can without rounding your back. Hold 10 seconds and repeat three times.

Cat and Cow: Get on all fours. With your hands under your shoulders, fingers spread and knees under your hips, round your back up to the ceiling, drawing your navel in (cat). Then arch your back, open your throat and lift your chin as high as you can without stressing your neck (cow). Inhale during cat and exhale during cow. Repeat five times.

11. Tone with simple Pilates moves.

simple pilatesThe following standing Pilates moves can be done quickly and efficiently at home, in a gym or while you travel.

Knee Lift (shown here): With hips level, bring your right leg up and balance. Hold 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Roll Down: Bring your chin to your chest, then slowly bend down toward your toes, rolling one vertebra at a time. Slightly bend your knees and slowly roll back up. Repeat four times.

Footwork: With your feet parallel, rise up on the balls of your feet. Stretch your heels down to the floor and up again. Repeat several times.

12. Get in the water.

Make time in your schedule to head to a pool—once you’re there, it’s easy to get some low-impact exercise. Being submerged in water naturally lifts the body up, taking stress off the joints and allowing you to move freely while making the most of the water’s natural resistance. Get in and walk, jog, lift your knees, do jumping jacks or cross-country ski. If you don’t know how to swim, talk to a lifeguard—most pools have flotation devices that you can use to keep you steady as you move around the pool.

13. Stretch while you’re sitting.

sitting stretchesThese three Pilates-inspired seated stretches can be done discreetly at your desk or while you’re watching TV to help you build flexibility.

Seated Swan (shown here): Press your hands into your thighs and lift your head to lengthen and arch your upper back. Repeat several times.

Shoulder Shrug and Roll: Lift both shoulders toward your ears; roll your shoulders back and down. Reverse. Repeat three to five times.

Figure-Four Stretch: Seated with your right ankle on your left knee, hinge forward at your hips with your back flat. Switch sides.

14. Tone your tummy while checking email.

ball sitsSitting on an exercise ball instead of a regular chair while you’re at your desk or using your laptop at home can give you a core workout without leaving your abs sore. When on the ball, your body constantly makes small adjustments to your posture and works your back, abdominal, glute and leg muscles.

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