5 Surprising Signs You're Not Moving Enough During the Day

If you're not getting enough exercise, your body will let you know. Here are the signs to look out for.

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It's not just in your head: working a 9-to-5 job from your makeshift home office is very hard on your body. Without the movement of your morning commute, the walk across the office to the bathroom or the run to the coffee shop around the corner, having a less active lifestyle has an impact on how our bodies feel every day.

Even if you're making an effort to be more active, your body may be sending you signs that it needs more movement. We spoke with Dr. Lisa N. Folden, a licensed physical therapist and lifestyle coach whose book, Healthy Made Easy: The Ultimate Wellness Guide for Busy Moms (buy it: $30 on Amazon), is focused on giving women with busy lifestyles the tools to build wellness into their daily routines. She highlighted five unexpected signs to look for that indicate you simply need more exercise.

"The moral of the story is keep exercising," Dr. Folden says. "Your body will always thank you."

woman walking dog outside
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You're Constipated

"When your bowels are backed up, that's a reasonable sign that you're either not getting enough fiber and water... or that you aren't moving enough," said Dr. Folden. She says to get things moving along, you should be moving regularly. "Lying down or sitting around most of the day is a great way to stop up your bowels," she adds.

Take a walk on your lunch break, or make it a point to get up and stretch a few times throughout the day. Your body (and bowels) will thank you.

You're Experiencing Muscle Tightness

"Your muscles are like rubber bands," Dr. Folden explains. "The more you stretch and move them, the more flexible they are. When you stop moving them, they freeze or tighten up. Essentially, they become shorter. When this happens, you may find regular, everyday movements more uncomfortable and challenging."

If you find yourself uncomfortable when doing everyday movements like picking an object up off the floor, Dr. Folden recommends showing your body some love by spending a few minutes three times a week stretching your body. Not all exercise has to involve high intensity lifting or cardio—stretching can be just as beneficial.

Your Joints Are Stiff

Dr. Folden says that your knees, shoulders and ankles all have a lubricant called synovial fluid in them. "That fluid helps your joints move smoothly and without pain. When you find yourself immobile and not exercising often, that fluid production begins to slow down and your joints notice," she explains. The result is that creaky feeling you may feel in the morning. Adding a bit of walking back into your routine will help get the synovial fluid flowing once again.

You Get Winded Easily

If you start noticing that climbing stairs or walking around the grocery store leaves you winded, that's an indication that you'd benefit from getting a bit more cardio in your day-to-day life. "This is happening because your lungs and heart are no longer used to pumping and working at a rate above a sedentary level," says Dr. Folden. "So they go into overdrive when you do 'higher level activities' like running to your car or walking on a hill. Keeping your body active and conditioned is the best remedy for a tired heart and lungs."

You're Sad or in a Bad Mood

There are lots of reasons you might be experiencing a worsening mood, and a lack of exercise may be one of them. Dr. Folden says, "Regular physical activity causes your body to produce more 'happy hormones' also known as endorphins."

In addition to many other actions, endorphins trigger a very positive feeling in the body that generally makes you feel happier and more at ease.

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