Woman on beach with hands raised to the sky with text overlay: 21 Small Ways to Move More

21 Small Ways to Move More

Do you have a hard time exercising? Do you want to improve your wellness but dread working out? Today I’d like to talk a little bit about some small ways we can start to move more.

We are becoming more and more sedentary, which is causing serious health concerns. The Sedentary Behaviour Research Network defines sedentary behavior as “any waking behavior characterized by an energy expenditure ≤1.5 metabolic equivalents (METs), while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture.” So basically, more and more of us are spending our days expending very little energy.

The current recommendation for physical activity is 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. If you break it down, that’s 30 minutes per day. The problem is that many of us aren’t anywhere near meeting those recommendations, for various reasons.

The effects of a sedentary lifestyle on our health can be devastating.

According to medicalnewstoday.com, “Leading a sedentary lifestyle is becoming a significant public health issue. Sedentary lifestyles appear to be increasingly widespread in many nations despite being linked to a range of chronic health conditions.”

There’s hope for us though. So often, we think if we can’t make it to the gym every day, we can’t get any exercise at all. While it’s true that consistent, focused exercise is vital to good health, there are also lots of little things we can do to get more movement into our day.

I’m not saying that these things replace the moderate-to-intense exercise the Physical  Activity Guidelines recommends. What I’m saying is we can cut down on the amount of time we spend being sedentary. In addition to that we can increase our energy expenditure when we’re involved in other activities.

21 Small Ways to Move More

At Home:

  • While you’re watching TV or bingeing Netflix, every 30 minutes, get up and move around for three minutes. If you just can’t bear to get up in the middle of your show, you could always move around for 6 minutes once the show’s over.
  • While you’re cooking dinner or doing household chores put on your favorite music. Who can resist moving when your favorite song comes on?
  • Move around while talking on the phone.
  • Declutter daily. This not only keeps your house looking great, it gets you moving each day.
  • Take a short stroll after dinner.
  • Plan family get-togethers around being active.
  • Find little ways to sneak some exercises into your daily activities, i.e. do some heel raises while brushing your teeth, squats while drying your hair, etc.
  • Weed the garden or your flower beds.
  • When reading, get up and move around every 10 pages or so.

At Work:

  • Use a standing desk (if available). Even better, move around while you’re standing there.
  • Take a walk during your lunch break.
  • Set a reminder to move around every 30 minutes or so while working at your desk.
  • Do some light stretching or take your joints through their full range of motion at your desk. This can help you move more and keep you from getting stiff.
  • Whenever you drink water, take a movement break as well.
  • Instead of emailing a colleague, go talk to them.
  • If you take public transportation to work, rather than looking for a seat, stand up for the commute. This can have the added benefit of strengthening your core since you have to use it to remain standing when that bus or train is lurching around curves and corners.

When Out and About:

  • Park further away from the the building you plan to visit.
  • Use waiting time wisely – if you have to wait in line anyway, you might as well make it count. Even shifting from foot to foot can expend a little more energy.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible.
  • If you’re stopping for food, skip the drive-through. Parking and going in will help you get some extra steps in.
  • Visit local parks. They can be a great place to explore the great outdoors and move a little more.

Every little bit of movement helps, especially when there are factors or circumstances in our lives that keep us from exercising regularly. Doing small things to increase movement and improve energy expenditure can help us take those baby steps toward improving the physical dimension of wellness.

What are some small things you do to help you move more? Please share!




10 Quick Ways to Disrupt Sustained Sitting, ACE Fitness Journal, Jul-Aug 2019, Len Kravitz, PhD, CSCS



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  1. I’m not sure this is helpful considering smoking in itself is bad for you. But I leave my cigarettes outside so that I have to get up and move each time I want one. I have also started making sure my groceries are separated by things that HAVE to come in the house immediately from those that don’t and then carrying in one bag at a time… not very productive but does keep me moving

    1. Thanks for sharing Grace! Those are some great tips! I would imagine the thing with making sure your groceries are separated that way is really helpful also for days when energy levels are low and you need a little break after shopping. Hope you’re doing well!

  2. Like the standing desk at work idea! I haven’t sat behind a desk in the last year since I have one for my computer. Love it, and much healthier to stand than sit!!

    1. Thanks for sharing Jeff! Is yours one that is standing-height all the time or is it the one that adjusts from sitting to standing? I’ve looked at the latter, but it was too hard for me to move up and down easily. Of course, I saw some at Office Max that were electric. Our breakfast bar in the kitchen is the perfect height to stand and work, so I just decided to get my MacBook so I could work anywhere.😊 Thanks for stopping by!

      1. Mine slides up or down to sit, but I just put it at highest height and left it up, so I don’t know if it’s hard to move or not. Those electric ones are nice! Thanks for the ideas!

  3. Great reminder because before you know it you have been sitting for over 1/2 hr. or even an hr. depending on what you maybe doing, ie. sewing, crafting, surfing for that particular interest, etc. Not much on the tv thing but like to read my devotionals and for get absorbed and forget to move it, move it. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Janet! Like you said, it’s easy to lose time while we’re doing something and then realize we’ve been sitting in one place for longer than we’d like. Sending hugs your way!

  4. Thank you Terri. These are all great ideas. It has been a very rainy week here and getting outside is challenging, although I did visit a garden this week with the aid of a large umbrella.

    1. Thank you Brigid! We’ve had a lot of short bursts of rain and brief storms over the last week or so, but they didn’t stick around. I look forward to hearing about your visit to the garden!

  5. There are so many small, manageable things here that can make a difference day to day. “Every little helps”. The one where you say about making use of time while brushing your teeth and waiting for things made me remember I used to do push-ups against the kitchen counter and squats while boiling the kettle and making toast. Did it for
    a few years as it became habit, until my ops. I’ll have to get back to doing that again!
    Brilliant suggestions, Terri.
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks so much Caz, and thanks for sharing! It’s amazing how the tiniest things can add up throughout the day. Since my pup has been sick, my activity has increased just taking him out for additional potty breaks. He’s doing better and not needing quite as many breaks, but they don’t ever complain when I want to take them out.😁

    1. Thanks so much Jennifer! It definitely works for me – I can’t be still when there’s music playing.😊 Blessings to you sweet friend!

  6. As always Terri, I love reading your weekly posts. This one especially; perfect timing. The at home and out and about ones are easy to follow but the one at work is the one that most of us needs to concentrate on. We seldom realize that we can be sitting at our desk for hours on end without moving. It’s something that we need to realize and do something about. I’m currently trying to make an effort to get up from my desk and move about. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much Mark, and thanks for sharing! I know what you mean about sitting at your desk for hours on end. It’s easy to get busy doing things on the computer and lose track of time. My Fitbit alerts me at 10 minutes before the hour if I haven’t gotten up and moved around, so that’s helpful. I just have to be sure I don’t ignore it.😊 Hope you have a great weekend!

  7. What a great post, thank you for sharing! I am a fitness trainer, l still have to remind myself to get up and move around daily. During the summer, I usually get my brisk walking and stretching done in the early morning, and then few minutes of muscle training and stretching in the early evening. This routine helps me to keep my health condition under control 👍💫

    1. Thank you so much Ellie! It’s good to “meet” a fellow trainer. I’m glad your exercise helps you keep your health condition under control. Thanks for stopping by – I’m going to pop over to your blog now.

  8. Great ideas! I used to love to move, go, do. 🙂 When I was working I had set a timer so I got up and walked to the kitchen or bathroom once an hour, as able. I also set a timer to relax my eyes every so often. Now I daydream about going for walks, but that day will come, I just know it! Hoping all is well with you!

    1. Thank you so much Mishka! I especially love your idea of setting a timer to rest your eyes every so often. I’ve just gotten through a period of having to stay off the computer (and therefore blogging) so I recognize how very important it is to take those rest breaks. I’m believing with you that you’ll be taking those walks again sweet friend!

  9. Hi Terri, at our office, we actually have “standing” meetings – if a meeting is 30 minutes or less, it’s accepted that people may choose to stand. I also schedule “walking” meetings with my colleagues. So if we need to meet to chat about a project, we walk outside while we get our business done. I find being outdoors helps us all be more creative!
    Joan Senio
    My Best Friend Adeline

    1. Thanks for your comment Joan! I love the idea of “walking” meetings. It’s a great way to get more movement, increase creativity (which often helps us think out of the box), and benefit our brain health as well.

  10. You’ve done it again, Terri! Another amazing post filled with easy, actionable steps for anyone and everyone to apply. You’re amazing. You take the overwhelming nature out of changes, and encourage us all as a result, to live our best lives. What a gift!

    Small changes really do add up to big gains down the road. We can be so easily discouraged in life, since we’re already facing a million and one to-do tasks. When we’re overwhelmed, as you know, we’re much more likely to engage in habits that are bad for us to begin with. A sedentary life is no different. We get stuck in our patterns and don’t realize our health is declining until it has gotten to a breaking point. Your tips prove we don’t have to live that way!

    Sneaking exercise into daily activities is a fantastic way of gaining more movement! I do squats and lunges while putting laundry in, or taking laundry out. 😊 When vacuuming, I try to do the same. Walking around during a phone call is a fantastic tip too. It also helps a little with anxiety, if one is prone to that. Decluttering — absolutely! I LOVE that tip. It’s amazing what simply putting things where they belong in an organized fashion can do for our physical and mental health! A cluttered home often does equal a cluttered mind. (At least it does for me.)

    Visiting local parks is probably one of my favorite tips on the list. Nature is incredibly healing. We can get lost in the natural beauty around us, and forget we’re even exercising! When activity becomes fun, it’s much easier to maintain.

    I love it, Terri. Every word has me shaking my head in agreement. Thank you for being such an inspiration, and a helpful guide on the journey to wellness. No one could do it any better! 💕

    1. Oh Holly, you are far too kind!!! I’m glad you found these tips helpful. I think sometimes we make things much harder than they have to be. Sometimes the smallest things we do are the most impactful. I love the idea of doing squats and lunges while you’re doing laundry or vacuuming! Like you, I love being out in nature. As you said it’s so healing, and you can forget that you’re exercising. Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words my sweet, sweet friend. Sending love and hugs your way!

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