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🦵 Today’s tip: Add a loop band to your squats.

It’s tough to find the motivation to exercise when the pandemic has you feeling like your body’s falling apart. Elemental’s Anna Maltby, also a certified personal trainer, has a fix for creaky knees: Using a loop band during squats “will encourage you to drive your knees out rather than allowing them to collapse in toward each other, and that outward-driving effort fires up your glutes,” she explains. …

Today’s tip: Do this stretch to strengthen your back.

Maybe your last 12 months haven’t exactly been a banner year in personal fitness. Hey, it happens. But what if we told you you could strengthen your back, core, glutes, and shoulders in just a few minutes per day, with one simple stretch?

According to Elemental’s Executive Editor and ACE-certified personal trainer, Anna Maltby, not only does such a stretch exist, but it’ll make you feel so much better — especially if you’ve been hunched over your laptop for too long.

Maltby breaks it down in her Monday Moves column…

🚴‍♂️ Today’s tip: To feel more connected to yourself, go for a bike ride.

Okay, it doesn’t have to be a bike ride, but what we’re trying to say is that engaging in some sort of physical activity might just help center you more than reading yet another self-help book. We love books! But your mother was right: You need some fresh air and exercise every once in a while.

Wellness means dealing with both psyche and physicality,” Mitch Horowitz writes on Medium. “If you bike everywhere — and in nearly every kind of weather — you will not only…

💪 Today’s tip: Try “exercise snacking.”

For many of us, one byproduct of “pandemic time” has been the near impossibility of making a schedule and sticking to it. And that includes the one routine almost everyone aspires to lock in: exercising.

Luckily for us all, it doesn’t take a huge time investment to make your fitness efforts count. As Adriana Velez writes for Elemental, “exercise snacking” counts. Exercise snacking can look like squeezing in a five minute burst of jumping jacks here, or ten minutes of MadFit on YouTube there. Even these micro-workouts will give you the science-backed benefits that…

🏋🏿‍♀️ Today’s tip: Schedule a workout on your calendar (even if it’s five minutes).

Even in “normal times,” it can be challenging to squeeze exercise into a busy schedule during the week. During a pandemic, it’s tougher by an order of magnitude. But as Elemental senior writer Dana Smith reminds us, both our brains and our bodies benefit from a quick workout. And the trick to making it happen? Treat it like any other time commitment, and put it on your calendar along with all your meetings and appointments.

Whether it’s a quick jog around the block or 25 minutes…

When everything feels overwhelming, focus on the ‘MVM’

Photo: Patrik Giardino/Getty Images

About 11 years ago, I got kicked out of graduate school, lost my job, ended a long-term relationship, and found myself in a new town where I didn’t know anyone. I was completely lost. Luckily, I began dating a woman and things got serious enough that we started talking about moving in together. She said she’d let me live in her apartment and contribute whatever rent money I could afford, under one condition: I had to be working to get my life back on track.

The problem was that I had no idea how I was going to tackle this…

When all you can do is take a walk, make it a moment for mindfulness

A photo of a black woman walking her dog at a park.
A photo of a black woman walking her dog at a park.
Photo: Drazen Zigic/Getty Images

The way we walk right now might feel inhuman — it goes against our evolutionary wiring to avoid connecting with other people. When we see a neighbor, we wave from afar. We give strangers a wide berth. There are no coffee shops to stop at, no casual errands to run. It can seem like walking just for the sake of walking is not worth the effort.

But it is. It’s one of the most effective ways to connect with a world that feels increasingly distant — precisely because we can’t socialize.

I spent the past few years writing a book…

You don’t need to upend your morning routine to do a healthy amount of activity

Photo: Russ Rohde/Getty Images

Laura Vanderkam, the time management expert who wrote Off the Clock and Juliet’s School of Possibilities, is here to answer your scheduling questions. Check back every week for more advice, and send your own productivity problems to (Your name will not be used.)

Dear Laura: I keep reading the advice that I should “carve out” time in my busy schedule to exercise. I know that mornings would work best, and it’s technically possible — I don’t have kids I need to get to school or anything — but my routine feels set. Changing it up to add an hour…

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