I am not the first to say it, but it’s worth repeating—we are living in a movement-drought. Even us regular gym-goers, pool-dwellers, and trail-runners are essentially sedentary when compared to the amount and diversity of movement our much healthier ancestors engaged in on a daily basis. And I’m not even talking about some paleolithic, spear-wielding, cartoon caveman. We only have to go back three or four generations to see how much more movement was required and expected in day-to-day life.
Now, since we can’t all get in a time machine—nor do most of us want to, because life is pretty good in the 21st Century—here are some ideas and practices that can help us not fall victim to the trap of being someone who crushes it at the gym and then, for the remainder of the day, crushes the chair.
1. Morning Full-Body Warm-Up Routine
Pretty much every morning, the first thing I do (after a trip to the bathroom and putting the coffee on) is my full-body warm-up routine. This ritual started as a way to deal with some ongoing aches and pains, but over time it has evolved into a real ritual. I use the word "ritual" because this routine means more to me than just any series of movements. It is the way I prepare myself mentally and physically for my day. I truly feel different if I miss it.
I start with my feet and ankles, then move up to my knees, hips, low-back, mid-back, shoulders, arms, neck and face. The series, movements, and the order I do them in has been a work in progress and remains malleable to this day. I have chosen these movements, in this order, to suit my particular needs and no one else’s. You can certainly use my routine as a basis for yours but please change it to suit you and your body. This is not a one-exercise-fits-all situation.
2. Dedicated Exercise Time
I am a morning exerciser. I exercise in the morning not because it is scientifically proven to be the best time to workout but because it fits my schedule and I like the way it kicks off my day. You may not be, but the importnat thing is to find some dedicated exercise time that works for you.
I stand by my claim from a previous article and podcast: “Sure, science says that your body temperature peaks in the afternoon, which means that I might be able to do my hard workouts even harder later in the day. Sure, that could theoretically result in me getting a bigger fitness boost from that workout, but you know what else gives me a bigger fitness boost? Getting the actual workout done.”