I was walking my usual route listening to one of my favorite movement experts talk about the very convincing research on the importance of grip strength and hanging for longevity, alignment, and energy.
I then proceeded to test my grip strength as I passed by a park with monkey bars.
Let’s just say that was the moment I realized I had zero. Then I decided I really wanted to be able to do pull-ups. But after birthing three babies (ok ok, I don’t think I have ever done pull-ups, I can’t blame them), I needed some work.
I bought one of those portable pull-up bars and installed it on our bedroom door. I didn’t have a game plan as to how I was going to achieve this, and simply hanging from it for a period of time was difficult, let alone actually pulling myself up from that hanging position.
But then something happened that blew my mind.
Every day I would simply just hang from the bar any time I walked by it. A simple 20 seconds here and there. Then I started to jump and pull myself up. 2 here, 3 there. Nothing big at all. Honestly, after trying for a few days, I truly believed doing a pull-up was impossible. But I kept doing it randomly in between the laundry, changing diapers, and cleaning up toys.
And not too much time passed before I realized that I can actually do a pull-up, not just one, but five.
No training plan. Not forcing myself to practice or make time for it. It worked out so effortlessly because the pull-up bar was there in plain sight. I had to walk under it so often that it was easy to just do it every day.
That moment made me realize how much our home and environment influence our daily behaviors. And, I wondered if I could set up our home and environment in such a way that it encourages movement, wisdom, and creativity naturally.
Then I got all extreme, as I tend to do, and went through each room of our house and brainstormed what I could add or take away to promote movement, wisdom, and creativity.
How to Design Your Space
I’m not much into interior design, but I love a clean, minimal house with each room as functional as possible.
To start with environment design, determine three areas you want to encourage yourself and your family to do.
For me, it’s wisdom, movement, and creativity. Then go through your home and brainstorm things you can add or take away to promote whatever behavior you want.
Here’s what I did. . .
- I added books everywhere. I mean everywhere. With books in plain sight, the kids and I tend to pick them up throughout the day. The way the books are displayed is key. Simply having them on a shelf or in a basket doesn’t make them appealing enough. I am a huge fan of these bookshelves because you can see the books clearly and they are in plain sight of the littles. I may or may not have had moments of questioning my decision to do this because my youngest asks me to read to her all. day. long. Ultimately, I think it was a smart move.
- I added interesting posters (like these) all around the house. (Hot tip: the bathroom is a great place to add these things. I mean, they are going to be sitting there anyway, might as well give them something educational to stare at;) I like these frames to make it pretty
- I always keep my eye out for other educational/wisdom-enhancing objects to keep around and rotate like globes, maps, Spanish books, different Bibles, and games.
In every room, we have a wisdom station.
- I keep paper and art supplies available on every floor of the house.
- I like to keep instruments around so we can pick them up at any time.
- I always give my kids random boxes and empty containers to do something with.
- A hefty supply of painter’s tape in each room – the possibilities are endless with that stuff.
- I love books that promote out-of-the-box thinking l
In every room, we have a creativity station.
- I added pull-up bars and stuff to hang on throughout the house.
- Swings! Swings everywhere inside and outside the house. Sensory swings, spider swings, rope swings, and standing swings.
- I am creating an indoor jungle gym with monkey bars, ropes, bands, trapeze, slides, and gymnastics mats.
- Slackline, dome climber, monkey bars, and trampoline outside.
- I added balance boards throughout the house.
- I have weights or kettlebells spread around the house I can easily pick up throughout the day. I also have ankle and wrist weights all around that I tend to wear throughout the day.
- I have mats around the house to encourage the random handstand or cartwheel
- I have chair alternatives – exercise balls, standing chairs, standing desks, etc. to discourage sitting
In every room, I have multiple things that encourage movement. I don’t have much time to work out uninterrupted for 30-60 minutes straight, but because I do so many micromovements of exercise throughout the day, I feel like I am in better shape now than I was just going to the gym a few times a week.
Let me know in the comments below some ways you have designed your home to promote the behavior you want, I would love to hear about it!
Also PS: Just hanging on something for a few minutes a day has impacted me so deeply. Nothing has been better for my posture or alignment. I have heard many movement experts say the first thing you should start doing is hanging from something every day because of the wide range of benefits.
Find of the Week
One thing I focus on is mimicking the rhythms of the sun. I get outside to have sunlight in my eyes first thing in the morning and only dim lights after the sun go down.
Here are my favorites:
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