Daily Body Maintenance Routine

My simple approach to maintaining a body that just feels good.

Daily Body Maintenance Routine
Photo by wee lee / Unsplash

I will start by saying that this routine has evolved over time and will no doubt continue to evolve along with my body. I have been consistently doing these most days for a couple years now. I'll also add that I have always been fairly lean, currently in my late 30s, and have a decent base level of fitness... but on the other-hand I spend way too much time sitting at a PC and have terrible posture, which I am hoping to correct in the long run by avoiding chair sitting and consistently doing small corrective exercises each day.

Why do I do this?

NOT to get fit nor lose weight, but simply to maintain my body.

The main goal is to have some consistent and simple daily exercises, focusing on reversing and avoiding: pain, atrophy, bad posture and functional issues caused by modernity. So far I found if I do this consistently, it is enough to keep me moving fluidly and enjoy my life and my active hobbies like trail running, hiking, snowboarding, biking, and rock climbing - without ever walking into a gym.

Now on to the details of my routine.

The Exercises

A. Primary (main)

  1. At least 20 Pushups.
  2. Wall angels and/or YTWL.
  3. Some Downward dogs + Upward dogs.
  4. About 30-50 Dead Bugs.

B. Secondary (optional)

  1. A bunch of random resistance band pulls for my back and shoulders
  2. Some variations of plank and bridges (two legs, one leg etc).
  3. The first exercise lying on my side shown here for hip/lower back pain.
  4. Some combination of Lunges and Squats, and sometimes Sideways squat-walk with a resistance band.
  5. Spend a couple minutes in a deep squat.

C. Stretching

  1. Finally, a bunch of fairly standard good-feeling stretches for my shoulders/back, hamstrings, calves and hips (I'll often do these stretches in the evening before sleeping).

Bear in mind the exact number of reps can vary based on how I am feeling, and I weigh under 60kg, so 20 pushups are not hard for me. Adjust accordingly.

I don't always do all of them each day either but the Primary Set A are main ones that I do most days (takes about 5 minutes), and I consider them the most important. This is just enough to quickly get my body going in the morning without breaking much of a sweat (but it still gets me ready for my daily cold shower!). On some days I will start digging into some of Secondary Set B which extends to about 15-20 minutes and I might just start to break a sweat. I'll often leave Stretching Set C till the evening before bed. But if I'm feeling up for it, I will do all 3 in one go.

Why not a strict fixed routine? 🤔

Because I am real and I believe whatever is easily sustainable over a lifetime is what really shapes me. There are too many fake people ("Influencers") on the Internet posting their "daily" routine which they probably only ever strictly did once (i.e. the day they recorded their fancy video).

Rather than a fixed set, the flexibility of being able to pick and chose from 3 sets allows me to intuitively feel out what my body needs for the day and balance that with the amount of time I have. I tend to avoid rigid routines and prefer a kind of flexible "grab bag" approach instead. You might also find this more motivating and manageable, as if you only have 5 minutes, you can just do less without feeling overwhelmed thinking about trying to fit in 20-30 minutes of workout.

In addition to this, I will usually go for a couple 5-10km Runs a week, and if I happen to run to the park across the road, I'll do a bunch of Pull-ups on the bars, and some fun Balancing tricks on the beams.

The rest of my day - avoiding what causes problems in the first place

I have a fairly holistic view of keeping the body energetic, well functioning and pain-free. As well as doing consistent light exercise, I also avoid the activities (or lack of) that cause the issues in the first place.

Primary is the issue of sitting on a chair for long periods. One way I avoid this is to replace chair-sitting time with floor-sitting time. I almost always do my work and use my PC while sitting on a floor cushion, at a desk about 30cm from the floor. I also recently built a small Japanese inspired folding dining table for eating and doing other activities on the floor. Combined with using a break timer, getting up to do regular movement, and avoiding over-absorbing distracting online content has helped my body a lot.

Sneak peak at my DIY folding floor dining table. Stay tuned for a full post on this and my floor seated computer desk.
Follow me for future posts about my floor desk setup and the floor dining table I built.

Secondly I avoid is wearing overly cushioned shoes which cause bad posture, disconnection with the Earth and general disharmony in the body. I instead opt for minimalist footwear or bare-feet. I particularly like Vivobarefoot shoes (my cousin, a personal trainer and barefoot shoe enthusiast, happens to stock these in her Auckland store). I have been wearing minimalist/barefoot shoes for over a decade now and after working out all the kinks (honestly took a couple years), it has helped re-balance my body. I can't go back to wearing "normal" ones anymore.

Avoiding unwise use of the body and doing enough to maintain it goes hand in hand with the quality of our entire experience of life. I hope you all get some inspiration to develop your own consistent long term routine and healthy movement habits.