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10 Movement Snacks and Other Small Steps to Wellbeing

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Snacking is bad for you, right?

Well, not necessarily. Let’s consider the idea of movement snacks.

When we use the idea of “snacking” for exercise, or just movement, and other aspects of wellbeing, it can take us far on our daily goals to live better.

We still need our full, well-balanced “meals” of gym workouts, running or biking, etc. But these little “sneak ‘em in” tactics can help us move more, improve our mobility, manage stress, and feel better. They can also be a good way to start healthy habits.

But too often, we think of movement and healthy living decisions as strictly “all or nothing” options.

  • “I will work out 5 times a week and get in the greatest shape of my life” – or do nothing.
  • “I will eat only organic vegetables from local farms” or whatever is handy and tasty.
  • “I will manage my stress better than anybody ever, boy” – which really misses the point entirely.

Say no to the false choice and enjoy doing whatever you can for yourself, whenever you can.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking in the right direction:

10 Ideas for Movement Snacks

  1. Start the day with stretches. If a body in motion stays in motion, then why not roll out of bed and do a short, comfortable series of stretches to get the blood flowing and limber you up right away? Go crazy and toss in a few body weight squats or pushups.
  2. Take a short walk. Yes, longer walks are better – but when you can’t plan your day around going around the block a couple of times, remember that you don’t have to. Just get up and out and moving. Or even march in place for a few minutes in front of your desk for a quick work break.
  3. Breathe deeply. You can do this anytime, no matter what you’re doing. Just pause and take a deep breath and slowly exhale three times, paying attention to nothing but the air going in and out of your body. If this leads to a longer, quiet period, that’s even better. (You don’t even have to call it meditation.)
  4. Simple leg exercises. Can you do 10 squats during a TV commercial? Raise your heels a few times? Stand up from a chair and sit back down again?
  5. Park far from the store. The extra steps matter and they add up quickly.
  6. Take the stairs. Even better!
  7. Put the phone down. Pick up a book. Or your journal. For 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed.
  8. Slowly sip a glass of water. You’re replenishing your body, lubricating your brain, and paying attention to what you’re doing.
  9. Have some almonds. Or pecans or walnuts. This is smart snacking, literally, and much better than opening a bag of chips. Just watch portion sizes.
  10. Dance, dance, dance. During housework. While folding laundry. During a commercial break (yes, you’re sensing a theme here).

Are you thinking of more ideas for movement snacks? Are you realizing how much more you’ve been sitting during the pandemic? I’m here to help, so let’s talk. The point is to move your body, eat mindfully, manage your stress, and sleep as much and as well as you should. Those are many of the components of wellbeing, after all. And sometimes just a “snack size” portion of movement leads to a longer duration exercise session – you just needed to get started.

We all need AT LEAST 250 minutes each week of moderate exercise, according to the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And every little bit helps. So, snack away.

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