Clients ask me for strategies for increasing movement during the holidays. I highly recommend seizing every opportunity to stand instead of sit. If you have an adjustable desk and can stand for at least half of your work time, great. Build opportunities to walk during work meetings or phone calls. Sometimes a hiking buddy actually starts a conference as we return to our cars after a hike. Increase daily movement however you can.
Below are more suggestions for increasing movement, encouraging wellness at home, and maintaining hiking mileage during winter.
Increase Movement During Breaks
- Set an alarm. Remind yourself to move every hour. Use five minutes to stretch, toss laundry in the drier, place dishes in the dishwasher, or run the vacuum cleaner.
- Play music. Vigorously dance to encourage blood flow. Not only is this fun, but it will help minimize brain fog and maximize alertness.
- Incorporate movement at your desk. Set up a workstation at your treadmill, use an exercycle, or try a step-in-place device. Set up stretching bands, TRX loops or a pullup bar and grab a few repetitions as a break.
- Plan short breaks between video sessions. Grab a few short walks in the neighborhood, hug your pet or child, get a healthy snack, or sit outside in the sun and ground barefoot. Yes, even in the dead of winter or while it’s raining – invest in a golf umbrella and comfy blanket. It’s made that much of a difference for me.
Take Additional Steps Toward Health at Home
- Keep water nearby at all times. Take your body weight in pounds and divide it in half. Shoot for drinking that number of ounces daily, more if you’re exercising vigorously for an extended period of time (i.e. hiking). Once you empty your water bottle, get up and fill it. The tactile reminder will encourage you to move more often.
- Make it hard to get high-caloric density snacks. Even better, don’t buy them; once you bring junk food into the house, you’ll either eat it or throw it out. Have ready-made hummus, veggies, hard-boiled eggs, sliced fruit, cheeses, or nuts to eat instead.
- Include several options for managing your stress. Try taking deep, cleansing breaths whenever you feel stressed. Give the suggestions above a try. Or stare out the window and let your mind wander.
- Nap. If you find yourself getting sleepy or increasingly frustrated and you have twenty minutes to spare, grab a catnap. You’ll feel much better than if you use caffeine or sugar to provide a temporary boost.
Maintain Mileage and Gain During Winter Months
If you enjoy hiking year-round and you want to maintain your mileage and gain during cold and snowy weather, try the following suggestions.
- Explore more-frequented trails near the city. This time of year, Pacific Northwest Trails are relatively empty. Cougar Mountain and Tiger Mountain both have tons of great low-elevation trails that provide wonderful hiking opportunities without much snow.
- Consider doing “laps” on a lower elevation hike. Cougar Mountain, for example, has plenty of miles of trails that you can link into longer outings. It all counts toward maintaining your hiking fitness.
- Plan hikes with work companions or friends. Committing to an accountability partner ensures that you follow through on your intention.
- Carry a pack at least once a week to maintain in-season fitness levels so that when you start ramping up you don’t have to start from scratch.
- Complete urban workouts with a pack. Hikes are not the only way to carry weight. Walk to the library to check out or return books. Visit the grocery store and carry groceries home in a pack. Take a garbage bag with you to pick up trash – the extra weight and bending and straightening act as a mini-workout.
With gas prices soaring, I make it a point never to use my car unless I have to drive more than a few miles. I combine local errands with dog walking and pack carrying so we’re both happy. Added benefit? We’re doing our part to save fuel and promote clean green living.