Movement is a FUNDAMENTAL part of what makes us human. We were designed to move, explore, and engage with the world around us. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles have left many of us trapped behind screens, desks, and in cars for large chunks of the day. We often forget that movement is medicine - it has the ability to transform our mental and physical health in profound ways. Research has shown that regular physical activity can lower our risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and even certain cancers. Exercise can also improve our mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost our cognitive function. By incorporating more movement into our daily lives, we can improve our fitness, boost our mental wellness, and reduce our risk of chronic disease.
But movement goes beyond just the tangible health benefits. When we move, we're reminded of the joy and pleasure that comes from being alive. Movement can help us connect with our bodies, our surroundings, and the people around us. It can lead to feelings of empowerment, confidence, and self-efficacy. In it's most simplest terms - movement makes us feel better.
Movement doesn't have to be complicated, and it doesn't have to take a lot of time. It can be as simple as going for a walk around the block, doing an extra flight of stairs, moving your joints in opposite directions from your usual positions and postures, or even dancing to your favorite song!
Let's move to improve together - here are 5 tips for movement to get you started TODAY:
1. All the little bits count - you do not need to do a structured 60 minute gym program to get health benefits from movement - where can you add movement to something you are doing already? Let's find the lowest barrier to entry to get you started!
- Try 5 sit to stands (squats!) every time you get up from your chair
- Try going up and down on the balls of your feet (calf raises) 10x while you brush your teeth (hang on to the counter for balance)
- Reach both arms up to the sky and look up towards your fingertips 7x while you wait for your coffee to brew or your kettle to boil
2. Think in opposites - for example if you have been sitting at your computer for awhile (more low back FLEXION), stand up, place your hands on the small of your back and bend your body backwards over your hands a few times (more low back EXTENSION)
3. Move often!
- if you have been sitting for 30-60minutes, stand up and shake out your arms and legs
- try drinking an extra glass of water - both a health benefit in itself and also a built-in extra excuse to get up when you have to go to the bathroom more often!
4. Make it fun for YOU - here is one of my favourite songs to throw on to dance around when I need a movement break: Walk The Moon - Shut Up And Dance
5. Be consistent - behaviour change takes time, effort and courage - aim for progress, not perfection