Physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy life. But being physically active means so much more than exercise. Moving is something that should happen all day long.

This can be difficult in the context of our sedentary culture. Everything around us is designed to make it easy to be still. Meeting our movement needs requires creativity and sometimes a willingness to be a little different from the status quo.

People who are more active live longer, have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, are stronger, more agile, and sleep better. (1) And this is just the shortlist of movement benefits.

Many of the improvements we hope to make to our wellness come from being more active. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean more time exercising. Sneaking movement into daily activities is the most effective way to move more.

1. Dress to Move

While this isn’t a movement, the clothes you wear will determine what movements are available to you. That doesn’t mean you should dress in workout clothes all day but take a look at your wardrobe and footwear and consider how restrictive or tight the options are.

Ideally, your clothes and shoes allow you to bend, twist, reach, get up and down off the floor and walk comfortably.

Dress to Move

2. Put Your Socks on Standing Up

This might feel silly at first, but you will quickly find out how much balance and flexibility are required. The more you practice, the better you will get.

Put Your Socks on Standing Up

3. Eat Your Breakfast Standing or Sitting on the Floor

Start the day with a goal to sit less. Skip sitting in a chair for breakfast; you’ll likely be doing plenty of that later. Choose a different position, such as standing or floor sitting. Getting up and down off the floor is an important skill to practice.

Eat Your Breakfast Standing or Sitting on the Floor

4. If You’re Standing in Line or Waiting for a Bus, Stand on One Foot

Maintaining balance as we age is critical to independence and to literally keep us on our feet. (2) Without regular practice, standing on one foot will quickly become more of a wobble.

If your balance is not the best, you can make this practice less conspicuous by keeping just the tip of one toe on the ground. That way, you still challenge your balance, but don’t flail and knock into your neighbor.

If You’re Standing in Line or Waiting for a Bus, Stand on One Foot

5. Each Time You Walk Through a Doorway, Reach Your Arms Overhead and Stretch

Because so much of our daily activities are performed directly in front of us, i.e., on a computer or screen, you could potentially go hours without raising your arms. Over time this can lead to poor posture, upper body tension, and even headaches.

Using an ordinary activity like walking through a doorway is an excellent reminder to lift your arms, straighten your spine, and stretch.

Each Time You Walk Through a Doorway, Reach Your Arms Overhead and Stretch

6. Make Your Workspace as Active as Possible

The extent to which this is possible is highly dependent on your unique work situation. However, many companies are willing to accommodate requests for active workspaces. Standing desks, exercise balls, and even treadmill desks are more common than ever.

It never hurts to ask, and it could pay off in a lot of additional movement time during the workday.

Make Your Workspace as Active as Possible

7. Park Farther Away in Parking Lots

We’ve heard this recommendation for ages, and yet, at the store, you still the standard cluster of cars in the spaces nearest the entrance and “spot surfers” on the hunt for something closer.

You can do better. Park as far as you can and congratulate yourself as you make the trek in.

Park Farther Away in Parking Lots

8. Carry Your Groceries

After you have parked your car at the back of the lot and walked all the way to the entrance, skip the cart and grab a basket. Unless you are purchasing a week’s worth of groceries, try carrying your items through the store instead of letting the cart do all the work.

Of course, this won’t be practical every time you shop, but you may find many opportunities to add more lifting and carrying into your day if you start paying attention. While lifting weights at the gym is great, those muscles are all for show if it doesn’t translate into real-world activities.

Carry Your Groceries

9. If You’re Stuck Sitting, Do Some Upper Body Joint Circles

Circle your neck, wrists, shoulders, and upper back regularly. Even little movements like these add up over time to a body that feels healthy and less tense.

If You’re Stuck Sitting, Do Some Upper Body Joint Circles

10. Be Less Efficient

If your job is particularly sedentary, be creative about ways to get up and move. This could mean intentionally being less efficient.

Make more trips to the printer, go talk to a co-worker instead of emailing (if it won’t be an inconvenience to them), drink more water, so you need more trips to the bathroom, offer to grab items from the supply room for your co-workers, etc.

At home, take more trips up and down the stairs or back and forth from different rooms. Let go of the efficiency mindset when you can and add more movement into what you are doing.

There will undoubtedly be many times when efficiency is essential, but the more you can sneak what may seem like inefficient or extra movement into your day, the better off your body will be.

Be Less Efficient

Don’t Be Afraid to Be a Mover

While there are many aspects of living in a sedentary culture that keeps us from moving, our fear of standing out often tops the list.

You probably don’t see a lot of people in line at the grocery store standing on foot, and you might be the only one in your office sitting on an exercise ball. Moving more may mean getting used to the initial feeling of sticking out like a sore thumb. But chances are others will cheer you on, and you may even inspire those around you to join in.

Let go of what you imagine other people might think and do the things that make you feel strong, active, and well.