If you’re like most New Yorkers, you’ve been sheltering in place for the past month or so. Maybe you’ve been working from home. Maybe you’ve spent your time trying your hand at making bread from scratch. Maybe you’ve been working on puzzles. Maybe you’ve pulled out some hair trying to explain converting fractions to decimals to an equally frustrated fourth-grader.
However you’ve been spending your time, you have certainly experienced a change to your routine. Some of those changes have been welcome: sleeping in a little later, fewer (ok, no) evening commitments. But one downside to this new normal for many people is that they are moving less.
Think about your normal (pre- covid-19) workday. Throughout the day you’d be getting up several times to walk around. You’d walk between your car and office. You’d walk from your desk to the kitchen for coffee or water, you’d get up to go to the bathroom, you’d leave for lunch. You’d walk over to coworkers’ desks. You might have had a break-time walk buddy.
Now, you’re home all day. And you’re moving less often.
Why is movement important? Remember your fascia, the membrane that covers and connects all of the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons in your body? A healthy fascia is key to a body that moves freely and without pain. One of the things your fascia needs to remain smooth and supple is movement. If you remain immobile for long periods of time, your fascia will tighten, making your body feel stiff and creaky.
It can be tough to remember to get up periodically to stretch your legs when you spend the majority of your time in your house. Here are some tips to get moving.
- Set an alarm. Instead of waking yourself up for work, use your alarm clock or the alarm app on your phone to tell you it’s time to take a couple laps around the house.
- Get a movement buddy. Did you and a coworker take walks on your breaks? Do you have a friend who is also looking for a way to stay active? You might not be able to exercise together, but you can still hold each other accountable. Set movement goals and then check in each day to see if you each met your goal.
- Make an appointment to move. Just like you’d schedule a dental cleaning or massage therapy appointment, block off time in your calendar for movement time.
- Reward yourself. A personal coach I know encourages motivation through rewards. Set a goal (five laps around the house, three times a day, for example) and pick a reward (watching guilty pleasure tv, perhaps). Knowing you have something to look forward to can be great motivation.
- Pick a movement trigger. Maybe it’s a word or phrase, or perhaps it’s an action like the phone ringing or someone walking their dog past your house. Every time you see or hear the trigger, you have to stretch.
Just because your daily routine is different, your focus on your wellbeing shouldn’t lag. There are many things you can do to ensure you’re staying active and moving. The important is to just keep moving.