With summer approaching, fitness might be on your mind more than usual. It always is for me this time of year!
I know how hard it is to get the workout gears in motion, especially when life gets busy. Don’t worry! There is hope for those of us that want to get more fit but can’t seem to find the time or motivation to squeeze it into our day.
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The trick is to let your house help! As an architect that specializes in wellness, here’s how I naturally incorporate movement into my clients’ homes.
1) Want to watch TV? Sit on the floor
Does your nightly routine involve watching TV on the couch after a long day? I hear ya. Sometimes zoning out is a much-needed break. But next time you turn on the TV, skip the couch and sit on the floor. Couches are designed for comfort and will suck you in once you’re down.
If you opt to sit on the floor instead, you are much more likely to move around while you watch TV. You’ll be inclined to reach for things to play with, hop up to get something or frequently change positions which all require movement.
Start by adding a floor pillow to your living room since it will entice you to sit on the floor. You can also try removing extra chairs or love seats from your living room to make more space on the floor and take the temptation away from plopping on the couch.
2) Put small exercise equipment in your living room
Now that you’re sitting on the floor while watching TV, place an exercise ball, dumb bells or a foam roller near where you sit. Having these work-out tools within reach will make it easy to grab them while you’re hanging out. You will notice that you might mindlessly grab one of these tools and start using it while you’re watching a show.
Another great tool for the living room is a jump rope because it takes up very little room and is rather fun. Keep the jump rope hanging by the TV or some other highly visible spot so you will be reminded to grab it while you are in the living room.
No matter what workout tools you want to keep in your living room, make sure you keep them out so they can always be seen. The act of seeing the equipment will remind you to use them.
3) Work from home? A standing desk will make it easier to get into workout mode
I’m sure you have heard that sitting all day is pretty bad for your health. Health effects of prolonged sitting have been equated to obesity and smoking. Because of this, standing desks are becoming very popular and affordable. If you work from home, whether by day or by night, invest in a standing desk or make your own.
Not only is standing better for your heart, it encourages you to move your body. When you are standing, you are much more likely to walk around than when you are sitting. A standing desk also makes it easier to take a workout break. If you’re parked in an office chair, it’s easy to get comfortable and settled, and the idea of getting up to go for a run is painful. But if you are already standing, your body is more alert, energized and ready to go for that run.
4) Do you have stairs in your home? Use them, a lot!
When I first moved into my house, I was annoyed that the laundry room was in the basement. Then I realized that every time I had to do the laundry, I was getting in some extra movement. And every time I got a little extra movement, I had a little more energy. And the next thing I knew, I’d be getting my workout clothes on. Little bursts of movement have a wonderful snowball effect, eventually providing the energy needed to get in a workout.
Find reasons to go up and down the stairs at your house. You will be amazed how such a short burst of movement energizes your body.
5) don't hide the workout room
If your workout space is out of site, it is probably going to be out of mind. Put your workout space in a prominent location, one that you walk by on a regular basis. If you have to look at your workout room every time you walk from the kitchen to the living room, you will be reminded to (and guilted into) working out.
If you are an ‘out of site, out of mind’ type of person, definitely do not put your workout room in your basement. It will never get used! You also want to avoid putting your workout room in the basement if your basement was not designed to be a livable space. Air quality is often the worst in basements, and you don’t want to be huffing and puffing in a place with poor air quality.
6) carve out a workout space
If you have the convenient excuse that you can’t workout at home because you don’t have any room, I challenge you to find the room! You will be amazed how rooms can be utilized if they are properly furnished.
First, determine which room you will work out in: Working out in the living room is often a convenient spot if that is where your TV is located. I’m a fan of workout and yoga videos, so having space near my television is essential for a workout. But if you prefer working out to your own routine and don’t need a TV, use any room that you visit regularly.
Second, make some room: Assess your living room and notice what furniture gets used more than others. Also, assess what furniture gets used wisely. Do you have book cases for books that haven’t been looked at in years or a desk that has a years’ worth of papers piled on top of it? Clear out furniture that does not serve a useful purpose.
Third, designate your workout spot: Once the extra furniture has been removed, create a designated spot for your workouts. If you are doing a workout video, you may only need as much room as an exercise mat with a little breathing room around it. Now that the workout spot is determined, do not use that area for anything else. If you need to move a chair every time you plan to workout, you’re going to get sick of moving the chair, and the workouts might not happen.
7) Make it playful
You don’t have to be a kid to be lured into the joy of playing. If you own your home and have room to install (with a contractor’s guidance!) a small climbing wall, you will be enticed to climb on a daily basis. You could also install rings (again, with the help of a contractor), because who can resist the temptation of swinging and flipping on a set of rings?
If the idea of structurally attaching objects to your walls and ceiling doesn’t appeal to you, go simpler by adding a hop scotch or other playful pattern to your floor. Find ways to make movement a playful act, and you will notice how much more active you’ll be in your home.
Movement needs to be a part of your whole day, not just a 30-minute snippet of it. By incorporating natural movement strategies into your home, you are more likely to keep your body moving for longer, which will keep you healthier and happier! Plus, even small movements like a trip up and down the stairs can be enough of an energy boost to propel you into a full-blown workout.