9 Ways to Incorporate Movement into your Day


By, Nick Schumacher, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, CSCS – O2X Injury Prevention Specialist

As a physical therapist and fitness coach, I am always thinking of ways to implement more activity into me and my own family’s lives. Here is a list of nine simple (though, not always easy) ways I have increased my activity beyond what is normal. These small habits add up to 1% changes, which will result in exceptional improvements in your physical, cognitive, and emotional health over the years. As humans, we crave comfort. To reap massive benefits, we need to get a little uncomfortable every day. However, you will eventually crave these “discomforts.” 

  1. Plan daily walks: Whether it’s solo or with your family, planning a daily walk can go a long way. Keep the same time every day, so that it becomes a part of your regular schedule. Adding one mile of walking to your day will result in an extra 3,000 kcal burned per month.

  1. Pretend elevators don’t exist: Taking stairs helps to regularly improve cartilage health in your hips and knees. There is also a fantastic cardiovascular challenge with climbing stairs. Elevators make me claustrophobic, so I can assure you that every major building has a staircase! Though, don’t be surprised if they are dusty from lack of use. 

  1. Perform a 5-minute nightly mobility routine: In order to maintain and improve your joint mobility and health, you only need to perform a few minutes of mobility exercise per joint throughout the course of each week. I personally set a tabata timer (e.g., apps such as FitKit Pro and SmartWOD Timer) with a 15:10 second work: rest ratio for 12 rounds (total of 5 minutes) every night. I will perform 4 upper-body, 4 lumbar, and 4 lower-body mobility exercises for a total of one minute of total stretching per region. Don’t stress exactly what stretches/movements you are doing, as long as you’re consistent! 

  1. Use a walking pad for desk jobs: Most desk workers spend about 7-hours of their work-day sitting. If you were to just walk for half of this time on a walking pad at 1.5 mph, you would cover 5.25 miles. This could help shave off many pounds of excessive body fat over your career. Additionally, those workers who are more active, tend to be more productive (Oppezzo & Schwartz, 2014). I’m actually walking on one as I write this! 

  1. Try active commuting: If you live close to work, try to walk or bike. If you live far, park further from your office. You can apply this to grocery shopping and other errands. Not only will this help your health and waistline, it’ll save on gas and wear and tear on your car. In Tampa, where I live, torrential rain is common; therefore, I invested in a water-proof backpack (Yeti Penga 28) to protect my iPad and lunch. Additionally, I will keep rain pants and a rain jacket in the bottom of my backpack for times of need. 

  1. Mow your own lawn with a push mower: Sure, there are cases where your lawn is just too big to mow; however, for most of us, our yard size is about a quarter acre. This size can be easily mowed with a push mower within one hour while covering over a mile of walking (2,000+ steps). Additionally, this can save you about $3,000 per year (assuming lawn service costs $60/cut). 

  1. Limit screen time: Instead of the easy option of watching TV or scrolling on social media, go for a hike, bike ride, or walk. It is well understood that more time spent outside typically corresponds to increased satisfaction and reduced anxiety along with more memories with your loved ones.

  1. Keep a kettlebell next to your desk: One simple movement that engages almost every muscle in your body is the deadlift. I personally perform 5 repetitions every hour (between every patient or while documenting) with a light kettlebell. The intent isn’t specifically to get stronger but rather to maintain the health of the discs in the low back and cartilage in the hips. The pumping action that comes from deadlifts pushes nutrients into the cartilage of these regions. If you don’t feel comfortable with deadlifting, simply perform 5 air squats! 

  1. Join a fitness club/class: Nothing has improved my fitness more than joining a running club, which meets every Wednesday at 5 am for a track workout. Performing an intense interval session on the track before a long work day would certainly not happen if I didn’t have a coach and friends waiting for me. Whether it’s a formal fitness class (Orange Theory, etc.) or just a friend you meet at the gym, having a sense of accountability is invaluable. We are social creatures in every sense – even with our exercise habits. 

For each of these healthy habits that you have not already implemented into your regular day, I challenge you to add one per week. There is no better time to start than now! 


Oppezzo M, Schwartz DL. Give your ideas some legs: the positive effect of walking on creative thinking. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2014;40(4):1142-1152. doi:10.1037/a0036577

About O2X Instructor Nick Shumacher:  

Nicholas Schumacher is an O2X Injury Prevention Specialist. Nick graduated from Boston University as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2016. In 2017, Nick completed the Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, where he received further training in the management of musculoskeletal injuries. He achieved Board Certification as a Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy (OCS) in 2018. In 2021, Nick furthered his sports-specific and manual-therapy training by completing the Kaiser Permanente Sports & Manual Therapy Fellowship in Los Angeles and achieved Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (FAAOMPT) in 2022. In addition to his physical-therapy training, Nick earned certification as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) in 2014. Nick currently works in Tampa, FL with all branches of the military. He has conducted research with USARIEM (US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine) in the Performance Division to help prevent injuries among Army soldiers. Additionally, he is the founder/CEO of Schumacher PT & Performance, which has developed the RehabKit and FitKit iOS apps. 

About O2X Human Performance:

O2X Human Performance provides comprehensive, science-backed programs to hundreds of public safety departments, federal agencies, and the military. O2X works with clients to elevate culture, improve mental and physical wellbeing, support healthy lifestyles, and reduce healthcare costs associated with injuries and illnesses. Driven by results and cutting edge research, O2X programs are designed and delivered by a team of Special Operations veterans, high level athletes, and hundreds of leading experts in their respective fields of human performance.