10 natural movement snacks for everyday life

Want to train but don’t have the time? Are you rusty but can’t get to a trainer, physiotherapist or massage lately? You could do some easy exercises, but are missing some ideas to get you going? In cases like these – and just for body maintenance – incorporating short, easy, few-minute mini workouts or ‘movement snacks’ into your daily routine can be a useful solution!

The term ‘movement snack’ I have heard first time in my MovNat trainings. Many people quickly snack on some food looking stuff when they are hungry and only later have the opportunity for a larger meal. It’s not the best option for a healthy diet, but there are life situations where it’s okay.

With modern sedentary lifestyles, I think our muscles and joints are constantly starved for a bit of movement. In an ideal world, everyone would have the time and energy to exercise regularly, even daily, and do basic natural movements regularly.

1-2 workouts a week is better than none! If there’s not enough time, capacity – or it just feels good to get some exercise – then maybe 5-15 minutes is possible for everyone. ‘Movement snacks’ keep our muscles, joints, basic movement patterns and even our brains oiled!

Feel free to use these or similar ones, keep moving and get creative!

1.Walking: If I had to choose one form of exercise out of millions, which is the most practical and beneficial for the maintenance of the body, it would be walking! It’s low intensity, but it moves the whole body and even stimulates brain function! Walk, preferably every day, as much as you can fit into your time!

2. Balancing: Many people don’t even think about it, but it is a basic natural form of exercise. In fact, it’s the foundation of all our other movement. Even when standing or walking, we are constantly balancing to avoid falling over or falling on our face… I hope standing still and walking is going pretty well, then you could walk back and forth on a few cm wide, a few meters long wooden beam or a fallen log (even with your eyes closed!), squats, twists, crawlings, carrying techniques, etc. For advanced users, you can also walk on higher surfaces, e.g. on a handrail! I also used to walk backwards and forwards on this particular beam at home while making phone calls.

3. Hanging: If you see an available horizontal tree branch, pull up bar in the park or perhaps have a pull-up bar that can be attached to the door frame at home, use it for a short time each day. It’s a great exercise for a stiffened spine and shoulder girdle from sitting too much.

4. Sitting on the floor: Why is it that for the modern man, “sit down” means to sit on a chair/bench/sofa with your backside down? Sitting in this way is a very narrow slice of a wide repertoire of resting positions. One could, for example, rest in a deep squatting position, as native people do, or as some oriental peoples do when waiting for the bus. I can think of at least 10 to 20 different postures that can be used to sit on the floor, relax, work or even use the phone. The spine and hip joints will thank you if you do not just spend time in positions like sitting on a chair.

5. Carrying: Another basic natural movement, and one that kills several birds with one stone! You’re walking, strengthening your core muscles and your grip strength. You can carry the stuff in your hand, on your lap, on your chest, on your shoulder or over your head. I love it when I have to walk home after a big shopping with a few kilos of stuff or come and go with a well-packed gym bag all day.

6. Quick yoga, pilates: If you’ve ever taken a yoga or pilates class, feel free to pull out some of the exercises you’ve learned for a few minutes of re-energizing exercise! If you’ve never been to one, give it a try!

7. General warm-up exercises: If you don’t know what they are or are looking for more ideas, I recommend my previous article or short videos on the subject! Get started with a full-body, all-over warm-up exercise routine! Even if there’s no workout afterwards, you’re guaranteed to feel fresher and better in your skin!

8. Play: Relive your childhood or get inspired by today’s kids. Now, I’m not talking about hours of staring at phones or playing video games, I’m talking about free, improvisational, fun forms of movement!

9. Juggling: Start juggling 2-3 tennis balls, you’ll have a fresher brain and be better able to concentrate on the rest of the day, maybe even generating new ideas. For advanced players you can try it with 3+ balls or juggleing while balancing! (an idea for gym rats, I also use stones or heavy petanque balls…)

10. Target throwing: A fun movement and also a great brain exercise for concentration! Go out in the garden or park, pick up some pebbles (or take a spear) and try to hit a small target, a tree trunk, from 5-10-20 (100) meters away. As a right handed person, I have recently started shooting left handed. At first, I was clumsy, but pretty soon I’ve gotten the number of successful hits with the left up to a reasonable level!

And there are much more ways to enjoy movement snacks…

I hope I’ve given you some ideas and motivation to make exercise part of your everyday life!

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