When we’re children, we’re encouraged to play every day. As we grow older, it’s easy to misplace that curiosity and love for silliness. This year, let’s all focus on adding play back into our day so that we move our bodies more and fill our hearts with moments of joy – both of which bring great health benefits! Try these 5 ways to move more in the new year.
1. A skip and a hop
Do you remember skipping on the playground when you were little? It’s such a fun, whimsical movement that actually requires a great deal of muscle strength and coordination. The next time you’re moving around, try adding a few skipping steps into your day. Not only is it fun, but it is also a great exercise for your leg and core muscles.
2. Curbside exercise
For those who have sidewalks, add a few minutes onto a daily walk for some exercises using the curb. A curb is essentially a step, which has a wide array of uses for strength, flexibility, and balance training. You can do forward step-ups, lateral step-ups, eccentric step-downs — and if you’re really up for a challenge try alternating toe taps to the curb or jumping up and down from the curb. Ever walk across a balance beam? Apart from being a step, you can walk across the curb one foot after the other like a balance beam or tight rope. You can get creative and use your imagination this new year.
3. Dance parties
Sometimes the best way to take a break during the day is to move around and dance it out! Especially for those who work from home or at jobs that require a lot of sitting, it’s easy to feel stiff after a while. Take a break, turn on some tunes, and do a little dance! You can make this a family activity or leave it as self-care time. Dancing doesn’t have to require formal movements or choreography for it to count as exercise. Just have fun with it!
4. Play charades
Gather some friends, a partner, or save this one for your next family game night. Whether you have an actual game or just want to write a few prompts on index cards, using your body to act can get you moving in no time! Maybe you have to hop like a frog or tip-toe like a ballerina. Charades is a fun way to not only share laughs with your family and friends but participate in an activity that requires you to move your body to get your point across. They say laughter is medicine and so is movement!
5. Take a stretch break
Stretching is an important part of movement and exercise that sometimes gets left behind. While some enjoy yoga classes or following a structured stretching routine, it can be as simple as picking a few favorites to do at your desk at work or when you wake up in the morning. The key is to build them into your daily life so they become a consistent habit in the new year – just like any type of new exercise or movement.
Consult with a physical therapist
It is important to always consult with your physical therapist or other healthcare providers before starting a new exercise or balance program. They will be able to show you activities that are safe and suitable for you. The activities mentioned in this article are for educational purposes only. Feel free to reference them in discussion with your healthcare provider so they can help you find safe and fun ways to move more this year.