- Stretch. When you get up in the morning, do some gentle stretches and movements to help you wake up and get the blood flowing. Do some slow yes and no’s with your head, do some small and large arm circles both clockwise and counter clockwise. Do gentle trunk twists to get the spine moving. Reach toward the ceiling with a big breath and then reach down toward your toes. Do some heel raises by alternating your feet and then some ankle circles with each foot. Simply start to move your entire body with slow, gentle, movements and short holds to get your body warmed up to move for the day.
- Go for a walk. If you own a dog, this should be a little easier to start doing. Instead of letting your dog out on their own, put a leash on them and walk them outside to do their duties. If you don’t own a dog, maybe try to walk to the end of your street and back before heading off to work. If you’re a buy your coffee person, go to a coffee shop near your job and walk over to the coffee shop to get your morning cup of coffee instead of driving through the drive thru on your way in. On your lunch breaks, grab a coworker and walk around the block. Even if it is a short 10-15 minute walk, the fresh air and movement will have a healthy and rejuvenating effect on you.
- Take the stairs. Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. If you have multiple flights to get to your destination, then maybe start off with just walking a couple of the flights before hitting the elevator button. Start off small and manageable, then work your way up to more flights as your body gets used to the stair climbing.
- Drink lots of water. Throughout the day, keep a water bottle with you and drink it. Once the bottle is empty, refill it so you can continue sipping on it as your day progresses. Repeat as necessary. If drinking plain water all day doesn’t sound appealing, try alternating it with some herbal teas for flavor. Tea can be hot or cold, depending on your preference. The point is for hydration, which will keep your body and muscles happy. It is also to force you to get up and take breaks from sitting. The first thing we all think of when we drink a lot of water is that we then will have to constantly go to the bathroom! That is part of the point. If you sit at a desk and computer all day, or find yourself sitting on your couch for a TV marathon, you need to get up, take breaks, and stretch and move your body every hour or so. Sitting all day is not ideal for your body and can cause a lot of pain and stiffness. Take the opportunity to get up to use the bathroom, as well as refilling your water bottle, as a time to walk and stretch a little.
- Try to work out a few times a week. If you do not already have a workout routine, starting one may seem daunting. Start off slow and easy. Maybe you start with walking a track one or two loops a couple times a week. Maybe try a 10-20 minute beginner’s yoga video. (Remember you are not expected to be as flexible or able to hold the positions as long as the instructor does in the beginning. Modify and take breaks as needed and go back into the pose to the best of your abilities.) If you prefer strength training, start off light and keep your session short, maybe start with 30 minutes of gym time. Take your time and start a little lighter than you think and with fewer repetitions. Work your way up to heavier weights over time. You are not in a race or competition with the person next to you. If you try to do too much too soon, you will be left feeling super sore and discouraged from the workout. Start easy and work your way up.
After a cold winter, warming up and springing back into motion is a great way to start your spring. The more active you become, the better you will start to feel, mentally, physically, and even emotionally. Moving your body and getting fresh air will help reduce your stress, clear your mind, and help keep you active in your life. A healthy lifestyle is easy to adopt. Just remember to always start small and work your way up.