14 Jul Understanding Movement And Exercise
The human body is designed to move. The body is designed to squat, lunge, push, pull, bend, twist, run, sprint and walk. Unfortunately, a large majority of people spend most of their daily life sedentary. They sit behind a desk for hours at a time, couped up in a car or relaxing on the sofa in front of TV.
Our level of movement has reduced, and as a consequence our bodies have become stiff and out of alignment, and our cognitive function, productivity and emotional wellbeing is impacted.
What exactly is movement
Put one foot in front of the other and you have movement. Ride a bike, stand up and stretch, walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift – this is movement.
Too often people are prioritizing exercise over daily movement. They think they need to put aside an hour, buy expensive clothing, sign up to a gym, and get all sweaty and breathless in order for their body to move. Yes, exercise is all about movement, but it doesn’t have to be the only form of movement.
If you can’t make it to that spin class because you’re stuck on a deadline, or you can’t drag yourself out of bed first thing to hit the running track, does that mean you ignore your body’s need to move? No, but unfortunately that’s a common mentality.
People put movement off, because the demands of life get in the way or the thought of going to a gym and doing any form of exercise is terrifying. So they deprive their body of doing any movement because after all, if you can’t get to your gym session, what’s the point right?
This is mentality that is ingrained deeply in our society and it’s having drastic consequences on our health. This sedentary lifestyle has increased our risk of blood clots, heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. We’re taking more trips to the physio because our body’s alignment is comprised, greatly due to the fact we stare at computer screens, drive in cars, or simply sit in the same position for long periods of time. Amongst our population, blood pressure is rising, ‘bad’ cholesterol is going up, and we’re getting fatter.
While movement isn’t always the major cause, it does plays a huge role in the occurrence of illness and its progression.
So, we need to break the mentality that we need x amount of hours of exercise to stay healthy. Of course, exercise is beneficial, but it shouldn’t replace daily movement. In fact, daily movement should be your lifestyle’s foundation, and exercise should be added on top.
You can easily incorporate movement in your life today
Movement doesn’t require you to sign up at a gym, put on some fancy workout gear, or even put on your trainers. Movement can become a part of your life; something that’s second nature to you.
There are a variety of ways you can incorporate movement into your days, but one of the simplest ways you can provide your body with movement is through walking.
Walk up the stairs rather than taking the lift. Walk to pick up your kids from school, instead of driving the few blocks. Walk to talk to your colleague at the other end of the office rather than sending them or calling them. Enjoy your morning coffee while walking around the park, rather than sitting at a café.
It can be 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 1 hour. It can be fast paced, medium paced, or a leisurely stroll. Think about how you can incorporate more walking into your everyday. Break it up into blocks, like morning, midday and evening. Set some goals – can you walk the magic 10,000 steps recommended by many health organisations?
Remember, it’s not about getting your heart rate up or feeling the burn. It’s about activating your muscles and ligaments, keeping your body in alignment, and promoting flexibility. Your body thrives of movement. So every day that you want to feel great is a day that you move.
Increasing your steps does more than you might think
Walking is a gentle form of movement that has been well recognised to make a huge impact on our health and wellbeing. By simply increasing the amount of steps you take every day you could see the following benefits:
An increase in energy
Clarity and focus
A sense of satisfaction
Reduction in weight
Healthier levels of cholesterol and blood pressure
Stronger bones and muscles
If you’re not sure about how much movement you currently get in your day, think about purchasing a wearable fitness device or an old school step meter. It’s a great way to keep the motivation up and ensure you’re providing your body with the movement it needs throughout the day. Just don’t get fixated and obsessed with the number. It’s just as important to reach your target as it is not to be sedentary.
As I said, it’s not so much about intense forms of exercise and while there is definitely a place for this, the point is that it is placed on top of a movement foundation throughout your day. By incorporating small burst of movement throughout your day you build energy, improve biomechanics, and improve blood flow. Not to mention boosting your productivity, focus, and clarity. Combine that with fresh air and you have a winning combination for real health.
Now I run my entire business online and I can easily spend well over 12 hours on my bottom if I allow this to happen. But I don’t. Everyday that I want to feel good is a day that I choose to bring movement into my day in some way. Its a choice and every single one of us can make the choice.