Fit Bits

Woman exercising at home, leaning on couch

If you can walk you can dance; if you can talk you can sing.

This African proverb suggests that based on what you already do, you can do more. That's also what a strategy called habit stacking is about: enhancing your life by building on things you already do.

The goal of habit stacking is to tie (and eventually, stack) tiny but beneficial new habits onto your old ones every day. For example, when you shut your alarm off in the morning, take a moment to stretch your arms, legs, ankles and feet before springing into action.

We hope you'll use habit stacking to help reclaim your rhythm — to renew your focus on fitness, and maybe put a little extra joy and pep into the process. Note: Be sure to check with your health care team before you try anything that might be challenging.

Below are a few other habit-stacking ideas to get you started. You can add new ideas on top of these:

When you … Try this …
Brush your teeth Add a few squats as you brush. Then work in other exercises, like calf raises or lunges.
Turn on the morning news Do 10 toe touches as you listen. Add jumping jacks or arm circles.
Sit down to eat or use a computer Do a set or two of seated exercises before you begin.
Go to work or the store Look for a safe parking spot farther from the building, so you can log a few more steps. Or if you take public transit, get off a stop early and walk.
Arrive home Work in time for active play with your kids or pets. Later you can add an active chore, like dusting or sweeping a room.
Turn on the TV in the evening March in place for five minutes (or more) before you sit down to watch. You can add in some weight lifting while you're seated.
Talk on the phone or listen to a podcast Stretch any combination of your quadriceps, hamstrings or calves. Add some wall push-ups.
Set the table and cook dinner Play some of your favorite music and dance (and sing!) as you cook. Set aside time to focus on dancing to one entire song.
Wash up before bed Finish by practicing a balance exercise.