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Flex Your Mind and Body: Easy Ways to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Day

We’re back! Quick – somebody knock on wood. The world is reopening, people are getting vaccinated, and we’re slowly getting back to our old ways of pre-pandemic life. So as we move into our “new normal” way of living – how can we keep up all of the amazing self-care we started integrating into our lives at home?

Things that seemed easy to handle during the pandemic like taking an at-home workout class or meditating may not be as easy to keep up now that we’re not working in pajamas all day long. That being said, self-care, exercise, and eating right are more important than ever as we move back into our busy daily lives.

I’ve really taken the past year to take stock of everything in my life. I tried to use the extra time to examine what is important and what isn’t. What do I want to keep with me from before the pandemic? What do I want to let go of? One thing I definitely want to bring with me from the pandemic is the time I created for myself for journaling, meditating, and exercising.

Exercise helps our bodies stay active, keeps our minds going strong, and gives us the energy we need to be back out in the world. So now that we’re expected to be back in the office – how do we find the time?

Maybe you don’t have time to take an hour-long workout class every day. That’s no problem. You can add in little moments of exercise during your day and you’ll be surprised how quickly a few minutes here and there add up and make a real difference for you!

Here are five tips on integrating exercise into your daily life!

Squats

They say the best way to create a new habit is to marry a new habit with an already existing one. Look at your already established habits and get creative about what exercises you can marry to your current habits. We brush our teeth at least twice a day for two minutes a day. Try squatting while brushing your teeth. This can help you track time spent brushing. It’s also a good way to get your day started laughing because this will definitely feel and look a little silly when you first start out.

Standing

Typically we spend a lot of our day seated working behind a screen. You don’t need to make the full leap to a standing desk – you can make a game out of your day and come up with certain tasks that could be completed while standing. Every time I take a call at work I stand and walk around the office while I take the call. It’s a great way to break up all of the sitting and get a few more steps in. What are you doing seated that you could be doing while standing?

Biking or Walking to Commute

I live in New York City and we’re so lucky to live in a city set up for biking. You can ride a bike to work on nice days rather than driving or taking public transit. Not only is this great for the environment – it’s great for you! Biking and walking around your city will reduce your chances of coming in contact with Covid-19, save you money, and help you burn calories at a rate of about 400 – 700 per hour.

Stairs

We so often take elevators or escalators without even thinking about it. Taking the stairs will help get your step count for the day up and boost your cardiovascular health. Obviously, it’s not practical to take the stairs if you’re going up 40 floors but in that case, try taking the elevator part of the way and the stairs the rest of the way.

Shower Meditation

This is my daily necessity. When I started back to work a couple of months ago I was worried about how I could keep my daily morning routine of meditating, journaling, and a quick yoga flow going. I needed to be at work by the time I was waking up the past year. How could I find the time? Then it hit me – of course! I can just marry this new habit to an already established one. Now I mediate in the shower. You can find guided meditations in apps or on YouTube to listen to while you’re in the shower. I connect to my waterproof Bluetooth speaker and hop in! Now, I’m not just seated with my eyes closed and breathing during my meditation but I still am reaping the benefits of taking some time to clear my head before starting my day.

I think the best way to get back into the swing of things is to take it slow. Allow the past year to affect you. It was a big year with a lot of stress, sadness, and grief. Don’t try to power through and continue as before. Allow yourself to be changed and take the lessons learned with you and use them to help create your ideal version and vision of “new normal.”

Image credit: Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

Bradley Matthews

Bradley Matthews is a children’s artist and educator who specializes in early childhood education. After spending three years touring the world as a member of the children’s band, The Ohmies, he began teaching music and yoga classes for kids all over New York City. Follow him on Instagram @mrbradleynyc

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