12 ways to move more every day

"The entrepreneur's dilemma: maintaining friendships, building a great company, spending time with family, staying fit, getting sleep. Pick 3."

Randi Zuckerburg famously tweeted this back in 2011, and it really rings true for me this year. I took on more hours in my part time teaching job, got pregnant with my third child, and decided to treat my blog as more than just a hobby. This was all in addition to my existing responsibilities of caring for my two very young children, keeping the house clean and running smoothly, and maintaining my health and wellness home based business. 

Juggling all of these roles and tasks, coupled with morning sickness and fatigue from my pregnancy forced me to decide what my priorities were for this school year, and let other things go for the time being. As a result, my exercise routine became almost non existent with the exception of my daily 2 mile walk with the double stroller and the dog. 

For awhile I allowed myself to feel guilty about not getting out the free weights and exercise DVDs, especially because I know how beneficial exercise is during pregnancy for both mom and baby. However, my situation got me thinking about something I had read a few years ago in the book The Blue Zones- getting lots of natural movement in your day is wonderful for your long term health. I became determined to increase my activity level in the absence of a full fledged fitness routine. 

I suspect many parents find themselves having to make the decision to cut out their fitness routine in certain seasons of life, and can relate to wanting to stay fit or get fit while making small changes. Here are 12 easy ways I have found to sneak in some extra movement, burn some extra calories, and stay more active as part of my daily life and responsibilities.

12 Ways to Move More Every Day

1. Park far away. This is a tip I've been using since I learned how to drive. It eliminates the stress of trying to find the perfect parking spot, and incorporates extra steps into your day.

2. Move while you brush. Pick an exercise you can complete while you brush your teeth, such as wall sits, calf raises, or squats. Set your timer for two minutes (the amount of time you should spend brushing your teeth) and kill two birds with one stone!

3. Dance party! My kids love this one! Blast some music with a great beat and bust a move - you will be surprised by how your heart rate skyrockets!

4. Embrace the wait. If you know you're going to be spending time waiting for something, such as picking up a child from an after school activity, use that time to walk laps.

5. Do a deep cleaning chore every day. Mopping, cleaning out hard-to-reach cabinets, washing windows, and doing laundry all burn calories and can actually be physically challenging. Pick one each day and spend 10 minutes giving it your all.

6. Take your kids to the park. My brother-in-law inspired this tip! This past summer we spent a week on a family staycation, and a few of us wanted to make sure we were still getting some exercise to counteract all the junk food we indulged in on the trip. My brother-in-law took charge and designed some bodyweight workouts for us to complete outdoors, and one of our workouts took us to the park. We used monkey bars, swings, and other playground equipment for some seriously challenging exercises. If nothing else, just chase your one-year-old up and down the stairs and slide. That will have you huffing and puffing in no time!

7. Pick a longer route. Choose the bathroom that is on the other side of the house or on a different floor. Go back and forth to empty the dishwasher instead of carrying a stack of dishes to their cabinet. 

8. Set a timer. If you're doing work at the computer or watching tv, get up every 20 minutes or so to fill a water bottle, put something away, or simply walk a lap around the house. 

9. Do a 10 minute clean up. Set a timer at the end of the night and challenge your whole family to clean as much as possible during that time. You'll find yourself racing around trying to beat the clock, and getting some extra movement in at the same time.

10. Play with your kids on the floor. Crawling is actually really hard. 

11. Commit to walking every day, even if it's just for 5 minutes or around the block one time. If for some reason I can't get my walk in during the morning, our family likes to do a quick after-dinner walk. It helps the kids wind down, and gives us adults some time for conversation.

12. Get out of the house. This one is vague, but I find that I get more steps in when I take the kids on an "adventure." This could mean running errands, going to the park, walking on the boardwalk at the beach, or just playing in our own yard. 

Coupled with good nutrition, incorporating more natural movement in your day can be a very effective way to stay healthy. What are your favorite ways to stay active during the day?

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