Get Up and Move!

By Kate Pauley – MFTC

verified by Psychology Today

Research has shown that humans should get up and move every 30 minutes!  That might seem like a crazy number to some.  When I read that I asked myself, “who actually gets up and moves every 30 minutes?” But as I read on about why you should move every 30 minutes I was inspired to actually try it.  Here is the research on why you should move and some tips on how to actually do it. 

Physically, movement is great for our bodies and for prolonging our life:

  • “American scientists out of Columbia University say that adults who sit for one or two hours at a time without moving have a higher risk of early death than their peers who are sitting for just as long but are still getting up for even short bouts of movement.” (Chai, 2017).

But more pertinent to me right now is that movement is good for my mental health.  Movement increases our vitality or “life force” – it can make us feel more alive and more jovial.  Movement directly impacts the brain.  It:

  • Increases brain sizeOptimize your brain
  • Prevents memory loss
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Boosts our mood

With this pandemic continuing on, I need any boost to my mental health that I can get so I am prioritizing movement.  With the recommendation to move every 30 minutes, a total of 3 hours of movement every day is what we are shooting for.  This can look like:

  • Exercise
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Stretching
  • Biking
  • Meditative movement (qi-gong, tai chi, yoga)
  • Etc.

So what can you do to get the movement in? 

  • Set a timer on your phone with an inspiring message to get up and move throughout the day. It is easy to forget, so with this reminder, you will be more likely to be aware of your need to move, and more likely to do it.
  • Set a goal and share it with a friend! Engaging in a little healthy competition is a great way to connect with others as well as get your movement in.
  • If you are a scheduler, create a schedule that has dedicated time to moving and working out.  Put it on your calendar. 
  • Change it up! Each time your reminder goes off, or you remember to move, do something a little different: dance to your favorite song, take a lap around the block, do a few jumping jacks mixed with wall sits, stretch, do some yoga, keep both your body and mind entertained. 

Remember that YOU are the most important person in your life, so put the life mask on yourself first.  Keep your body and mind healthy and full of life so that you can live the life that you truly want to lead!

Want to get some movement in right now?

  • Stand up and reach your arms high above your head as you take a big inhale
  • With your right hand, take hold of your left wrist and then stretch over to the left
  • Then switch sides
  • Take a little backbend
  • Then forward fold over your legs*
  • Hang, grab hold of opposite elbows and sway side to side
  • Reach your arms up over your head again and repeat this process 3 times.

*If you experience sciatica, do not forward fold.

Chai, Carmen. “Sitting All Day at Work? Get up Every 30 Minutes to Cut Your Risk of Death.” Global News, Global News, 13 Sept. 2017,,a%20new%20study%20is%20advising. 

Lorman, Shelby. “Here’s How Often You Should Get Up if You Sit All Day at Work.” Well-being, Thrive Global, 14 Sept. 2017.

See my reading recommendations


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