This article originally appeared in “Chicago Tribune”
et’s talk for a minute about your fitness regimen. Are you a runner? Do you lift? Go to Zumba? This is all great stuff, but what about the other 23 hours of your day? Let’s talk about your commute, your job, your favorite TV shows, the time you spend watching your kids’ activities, your social life and what you’re doing while you read this article.
Are you moving?
Some of the most disciplined gym-goers and athletes I know are also the most broken (I used to be one of them). They’re constantly battling injuries, they have poor posture and they’re chronically stressed. On the contrary, some of the fittest people I know don’t do any formal training. Granted, most of them are under age 5 – but they all have one thing in common: They move. All. Day. Long.
Here’s the thing: Our bodies are not designed to sit for eight hours and then move for one. They’re designed to lift, carry, run, jump, squat, twist, crouch, reach, push and pull – from the moment we wake up until we put our heads on the pillow. When we move frequently and in a variety of ways, we keep our bodies in balance and functioning at their best. And we feel better. We have more energy, we aren’t sore or tight, we think more clearly and we aren’t stressed about getting to the gym.
I love watching my kids because they remind me of this. They literally hit the ground running when they step out of bed, and their little bodies are constantly in motion. Obviously, we don’t have the luxury of playing all day long (and yes, age does play a factor in how well we move). But I bet if you just take a few hints from your kids, you’ll feel fitter within a week.
Wear play clothes. When you put a button-down and khakis on your little guy, he throws a fit, right? It’s because he can’t move in this stuff! If you want to move more, you’ve got to dress the part. Take the squat test: If you can get into a deep squat and then sit on the floor (without showing stuff you don’t want to show), you’re good to go.
Which brings me to my next point: Squat. Like, a billion times a day. Watch your kids – if you have little ones, they are squatting all day long. When you pick up their toys for the millionth time, use it as an opportunity to use your booty.
Go outside. Even when it’s really cold or really hot. There’s something about the great outdoors (and even your own backyard) that inspires movement.
Take off your socks. It drives you nuts when your kids do this, right? Well it’s actually a really good thing for your feet and toes to be totally unshod. So go barefoot as much as you can, and when you need to wear shoes, lose the heels and keep them as minimalist as possible.
Go up the stairs to get that one thing you really need. Then come down. Go back up because you need something else. Then come down. Do this as many times as possible throughout the day.
Watch what you eat. If you don’t let your kids eat it because you don’t want to deal with the sugar high and crash, maybe the same should apply to you.
Play. Set up an obstacle course outside. Play hot lava in your living room. Do the monkey bars at the park.
Don’t sit still. Seriously, that fidgeting your 5-year-old is doing while he colors his art project is pretty awesome. Oh, and sit on the floor. Chairs do terrible things to your posture.
Sing. Put on music. Dance. It’s impossible to sing along to your favorite song and not move.
Roll around on the floor because it feels good. Skip. Frolic. Don’t worry about how you look – just move.
Nicole Radziszewski is a freelance columnist. She lives in River Forest and is a certified personal trainer and mother of two. Check Nicole out on Facebook at Facebook.com/mamasgottamove.