3 Underrated Daily Tips To Stay Mobile As You Get Older
How can you prevent these statistics from becoming your reality? According to mobility pioneers Kelly and Juliet Starrett, who have spent decades working with pro athletes, Olympians, and Navy SEALs and co-authored the highly anticipated book Built To Move, the answer doesn't require hitting the gym.
Yes, you read that right. No cardio, no strength training.
That doesn't mean the Starretts are anti-exercise. Quite the contrary! But rather than pumping iron for an hour and calling it a day, the husband-wife duo recommends a series of simple, everyday activities that enhance your capacity for free and easy movement. And on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast, they share the daily movement tips that can literally save your life. Find some of the highlights below:
Walk (and dress it up)
"If there's a pill you could take that will reduce your all-cause mortality by 50%, you can give it to your whole family, and it's free, everyone's going to take that pill," says Kelly.
It sounds simple, yet the majority of people miss the mark. The problem, according to the Starretts, is that many folks exercise for an hour or two per day and—either cardio or strength training—and think that's enough to check their "movement box." However, "it turns out to be not enough total movement in the day," Juliet notes. Rather, the move is to, well, move all day, every day.
Once you start walking regularly, "then you can start to dress this thing up," says Kelly. For example, he likes to practice breathwork while walking his daughter to school (a 10-second inhale, hold, then a nose-only exhale) to simultaneously increase his CO2 tolerance. "Those walks became very, very intense," he recounts.
In another instance, Juliet chose to carry a 30-pound rock on her walk to increase her strength. However you decide to level up, just make sure you have a baseline routine down to a T.
Again, the Starretts recommend constant daily movement. "We've gotten stuck in a mentality that you have to do the one-hour block [of exercise], and that's not the case at all," says Juliet. In fact, that time commitment often deters people from exercising at all, especially those who can't fathom taking an hour or two to head to the gym or go for a walk.
Enter movement snacks: You should get those 8,000 steps in, but you don't have to get them in all at once. Take little movement breaks or short walks!
"For years, we've been champions of 10 minutes a day of mobility work," adds Juliet. "If you start tonight on your neck for 10 minutes, and then you move downstream and hit all the tissues in your body, you can probably hit all of your major challenges in seven days. And that's 70 minutes of work a week."
Walking is key, but jumping may be just as crucial. If you want to have access to your ankle range of motion, the Starretts say you need to focus on speed. "You can be a powerlifter your entire life because it's slow-motion lifting," says Kelly. "You cannot be an Olympic lifter your whole life unless you work on that speed component and maintain it."
That said, he jumps rope every single day. "I am trying to maintain my springiness, so I'm loading my feet in a whole bunch of different ways," he adds.
Not to mention, jumping helps aid detoxification, says Kelly. "It's a quick way to wake up, but it also moves your organs around," she notes. "It gets your liver to bounce; it gets all these tissues in your trunk to move. It moves all the lymphatics."
If you need a little jump rope template, he recommends performing 200 single jumps with your toes together and your glutes engaged. Next, do 100 jumps on your left foot and 100 jumps on your right foot before calling it a day. Trust, it's harder than it sounds!
If you want to stay mobile as you get older, you need to engage in daily, frequent movement. So many of us exercise for an hour or two and sit the rest of the day, but the Starretts recommend frequent movement breaks, if you can. The movement doesn't have to be intense—even a short walk has longevity-boosting power.