Although the covid-19 pandemic is certainly not over, things are finally starting to move here in the US in some positive ways. The number of cases and hospitalizations are down and slowly folks are reentering aspects of life that have been on hold since March of 2020. While this is great for getting back to all those parts of life we’ve missed, what about those habits that we may have picked up during the pandemic that were actually to our benefit, like increased movement!?
Multiple articles like this one from the New York Times and this one from the World Bank noted the increase in walking and cycling during the pandemic. That might mean walking and talking with a friend in the neighborhood to keep connection while avoiding indoor spaces. Or, maybe that means taking the dog for more walks to get a break from those long stretches in front of the computer while working from home. Bike sales jumped during the pandemic as did sales of bike parts for all those folks who pulled that dusty old bike out of the garage or basement. Use of hiking trails jumped as well.
All of that is great! More movement is good for us. But now that things are shifting back towards normal again, how do we keep those newfound movement habits?
Don’t talk yourself out of that new movement habit
Part of keeping up with the movement habit is simply not talking ourselves out of it.
Take a big-picture perspective when it comes to movement. Consider some of the points in this article from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). Although it’s written with massage therapists in mind, its main points apply to all of us.
We can talk ourselves out of a movement habit in many creative ways. Sometimes we set ourselves up to take on too much and then give up the whole effort. But some movement is better than no movement! It doesn’t have to be 2 hours or nothing. Find something that fits in your life and feels sustainable. We can also convince ourselves that it doesn’t count if movement isn’t high-intensity. While high-intensity exercise does have benefits, consistent low-intensity movement has benefits too. Again, better to do something low-key that fits in your life than nothing at all.
Deciding how and when we want to keep movement happening in our day can help us follow through on that intention to move. Consider planning your movement activities during the day. Think about when you want to take that walk with a friend or walk the dog and plan on it.
Try a local event
Signing up for events or group activities in a sport you enjoy can also help keep up the motivation to move. In Asheville, walkers, runners, and cyclists can find great local events and group activities through idaph Events and the Blue Ridge Cycling Club among other sources. Meetup.com is another great place to find out about events and find others looking to walk, hike, or ride a bike. You can find many groups in Asheville.
Find small ways to move during the day
Finding small ways to move during the day can make it easier to be consistent. Movement during your commute, like biking or walking to work is one way to be a little more active during your day. Biking or walking to do errands can add some movement to your day as well.
To support movement myself, I’ve done all of those things over this past year. I schedule time for movement, sign up for events to motivate myself to train, and often ride my bike or walk to nearby errands. And if I’m feeling low on energy, I just do something that takes less time and energy, like a short jog or a walk with the dog, rather than doing nothing.
Think of movement as part of your larger wellness plan
When we think of movement as part of our overall health and wellness plan, we’re often more likely to make time for it. And we’re more likely to find those small ways to fit it into our day consistently. If you have tips for maintaining your movement habits, share them in the comments section!