You probably know that you’re “supposed” to exercise. You might check the box by getting in your 10,000 steps, or actually meet the Department of Health and Human Service’s guideline of getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. Or maybe you don’t. You know you “should”….but it’s just too hard, and there’s not enough time.
Regardless of whether you exercise or not: Move your body, with intention. Here are three reasons why and how to incorporate movement into your every day.
1) Move it, or lose it. As we age, we tend to put limitations on ourselves. We squat as little as possible, avoid getting anywhere near the floor, or twisting and looking over our shoulders. We’ve got comfy chairs, so no need to sit on the floor. Fancy computers are in many cars, negating the need to look behind you, and squatting? Who squats??? (hint: you do. Every time you sit on the toilet!) You can blame old age, but the reality is: we lose the ability to do something because we stop doing it. That doesn’t mean we can’t do them – it just makes it harder.
Hot tip: once a day, spend 15 minutes getting up off of the floor with minimal use of your hands. This may be difficult at first. In fact, you might not be able to do it. But over time it will get easier and before you know it, you’ll despise chairs! (ok, maybe not – but you won’t fear the floor!)
2) Make it small and deliberate. We often have big ideas and goals about how we’ll move each day. Get to the gym early, or right after work. Roll out of bed and run. And then, when you don’t meet your goal, all is lost. You didn’t make it to the gym so you might as well go home and lie on the couch. You didn’t make it on your run, so why not eat three donuts? Noooooooooooooo. Incorporate movement into your everyday life. Have meetings throughout the day? Make one or two of them standing or walking meetings. Take five minutes and stretch at your desk. Stand and balance on one leg, and then the other for a minute each. Walk down the hall, rather than email. If your chair swivels, use it to do some ab work. (right there, at your desk!) Tiny, deliberate moves throughout the day will do more good than you can possibly imagine!
3) Movement is the ultimate act of self-care. Let me repeat that: movement is the ultimate act of self-care. Energy – be it positive or negative – builds up in your body and is begging to be released. When we feel good, we expand – we dance it out, yell with glee or high five it up top. And when it’s not so good (be it fear, or stress, or anger) we often contract. We hold it in, bear down, or become numb.
Release that energy in a way that feels authentic to you. If you win – dance. If traffic makes you insane – take a walk when you get out of your car. Doesn’t have to be long – a simple walk to clear your head. Had an argument? Punch the air. Lie on the floor and breathe deeply. The simple act of moving your body allows energy to dissipate and you to relax. Self-care is small stuff.
Remember, as you move through your day, whether you exercise or not: move your body. Walk more. Roll your shoulders. Balance on one leg. Notice all the ways in which you do move, and do it, with intention.
For more information and further reading on Wellness, visit our online library.
And, please join us for our next Leaders’ Lab on Sept 24th at 10 am PST. Beth will be hosting and discussing Movemeant—the importance of intentional movement for mind and body.