Successfully adding movement into your workday.

In regions where so many kids are in virtual school, like in my own city of Toronto, a lack of movement has become a problem. One of many.  After spending all day on google classroom you’d expect young kids would be eager to head out to the park and run around. But parents report it’s often not the case. They have to be prodded off the couch. Many parents point to explanations such as kids having a developed a fear of safety surrounding covid. I think another reason is even more simple.

If we don’t move we don’t want to move.

Sit on the couch long enough and we don’t feel like moving. It’s the same for kids and adults alike. So how do we counter the lethargy and get inspired to move? With kids we often force the park on them in spite of resistance and they’re happy once they’re out. With adults it’s not so easy.

Having worked a lifetime in non sedentary jobs the corporate culture is a bit foreign to me. Watching my husband, Don work from home this past year has been eye opening. My first thought was:

Oh, since you work from home, it will be easy to get up and stretch frequently. No colleagues around to see you do the Spine Twist.

But that doesn’t happen as often as I’d expect. Even when married to a nagging Pilates teacher.

When the work and stress load is really heavy, it can feel impossible and almost stressful, to add another thing to your day. Like stretching or taking a Pilates class. It’s yet another burden.

As with so many things developing new movement habits can more more successful when starting with smaller pieces.

Here are a few tips to get started.

  1. Pre decide. Have a set mini workout that is your “go to” series that requires little thought. There’s enough decision making in your day.
  2. Have a super short option. 10 mins sounds short but in reality it’s often not short enough. Have a 2-3 minute option.
  3. Avoid what you hate. If you hate kneeling don’t have a kneeling exercise in your routine. Impossible to lie down due to lego spread everywhere? Don’t include mat exercises.
  4. Love your starter exercise. Is there a stretch that really feels great? Side Bends or a calf stretch? The motivation to might be easier if you start with that.
  5. Remind yourself that small bouts are worth it. Yes. It’s true that a 1 minute stretch won’t give you the results of a 15 minute HIIT workout. But it can help counter the stagnant circulation and stiffness that arise with long bouts of sititng. And importantly, frequent bouts of movement can make us want to move more. Maybe we’ll be more likely to go for that walk after work.

My 5 minute desk workout on YouTube has some super accessible options, or use a private session to create a personal workout.

I read a phrase on an athletic wear tag years ago that stuck with me.

Move so often that sitting still becomes the challenge.

A tag that makes a great tag line.

I could go on….but who’s got time for that?

Laura Helsel Gauthier

Pilates Process™ Director
Toronto, Canada
Pilates Teacher
Franklin Method® Educator L1
Writer, Presenter