Movement – A Way of Life Beyond Exercise

 

Today we dive into the next foundation of Self-Care… Movement!

Did you know that people who exercise are only 4% more active than people who don’t exercise at all?

Studies have shown that some adults spend 11 hours per day on their bottoms. That might seem like a lot of sitting around but think about your day, commuting to and from work, work at a desk job, sitting down to eat a meal, time on the sofa watching television in the evening. It all adds up.

Most of us know exercise is essential to our overall health and wellbeing however it’s the when and how we need to rethink.

Research into Blue Zones, areas where people live the longest, suggest people who live the longest are not the ones who do the most exercise but rather the ones who move the most.

Exercise as we know it, gym workouts, cardio sessions, long runs and sessions with a PT, aren’t necessary in these parts of the world because movement is a naturally integrated part of everyday life. Whether it is walking to a nearby village or visiting a neighbour, tending the garden, working in the fields or other manual labour, exercise is a natural way of life, not an activity that needs to be scheduled.

How does your daily routine compare?

We need to reframe our understanding of exercise into one of movement, because, it is what we do every day that impacts our energy and our health not what we do sometimes.

“We live in boxes, travel in boxes, eat out of boxes, and work in boxes – now it’s time to urgently break out of the box!” [1]

The Price of Our Sedentary Lifestyle

Studies suggest when we sit for too long the body’s ability to both burn energy and create and experience energy is compromised. Think about it. If you sit for 4 hours straight, do you jump up with boundless energy or begin to droop over your desk feeling sluggish, lethargic and fatigued?

A sedentary lifestyle is associated with higher cancer risk, depression, lower cognitive ability, prediabetic blood sugar levels, diminished sex life, and sleep disruption.

Gavin Bradley has reported that metabolism slows down 90% after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. And after 2 hours, good cholesterol drops 20%. Just getting up for 5 minutes is going to get things going again. [2]

Benefits of Exercise

Our bodies are designed for movement, sitting to standing, turning and lunging, bending and stretching, pulling, pushing and lifting. Movement keeps our joints lubricated and injury-free, our muscles moving freely without soreness or restriction. When our muscles move our muscle tissue produces protective proteins called mokines that have important disease-preventative and anti-inflammation function. [3]

Physical movement creates strength, flexibility, restoration, and uplifts your mood. Increased motion, and I’m not talking about intense gym workouts, improves your metabolism and your microbiome, your sleep and all your body rhythms, your immunity, your stress response, and the overall balance of your life. It improves productivity and even decreases inflammation.

Benefits of exercise are many and include: improving insulin sensitivity, boosts healthy hormone function, increases the assimilation of nutrients and, more importantly, aids in the elimination of metabolic wastes, moving your lymphatic system, and pushing toxic waste out of your body. [4]

It is, however, important to know that exercise is a form of stress to the body and if you are adding exercise to an already stressful load it can lead to significant problems including inflammation, the precursor to most disease. Sometimes the solution is less “exercise” and more weight training or gentle movement to reduce inflammation, restore health, energy, and vitality.

Do Something You Enjoy!

The best form of exercise is the exercise you will actually do. Dr Lipman shares, “Find the movement that moves you, because having a consistent practice of something you love to do lets you reclaim movement as a part of your integrated way of being, versus something you need to achieve.”

Research has shown that regular movement breaks across the day reduce back, neck and shoulder pain, plus boost mood, all factors that contribute to us experiencing better energy, both physically and emotionally. [5]

Ask Yourself…

How can I move more today?

How can I invite more movement into my life? And I don’t mean adding more gym visits to your week.

We need to keep our body moving to enable us to maintain the joy, freedom and independence a fully functional body can bring.

Embrace More Motion

Consider movement as a way of life, a natural part of our daily routine.

Try adding a movement or stretch break for 3 to 5 minutes every hour and see the difference it makes. Notice the impact it has on your energy and mood throughout the day.

Many Eastern Traditions, such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Qigong integrate mind, body, and soul through exercise. In addition to these some good ways to achieve strength, flexibility and restoration from movement include weights, Pilates, walking, swimming, gardening, stretching, taking the stairs, playing with your children or grandchildren, parking a few blocks or getting off a stop earlier from your destination and walking.

As Dr Libby reminds us, “remember it’s what you do every day that impacts on your health and energy, not what you do sometimes. Embrace more motion, preferably once each hour for 3 to 5 minutes, and you may find your health, energy and ability to focus are enhanced.” [6]

 

Blessings

 

Elke

Abundant Wholeness

 

References:

[1] Dr Frank Lipman, Be Well, 2018

[2] H Garcia & F Miralles, Ikigai, 2016

[3] Dr Frank Lipman, Be Well, 2018

[4] Dr Frank Lipman, Be Well, 2018 & S Stevenson, Sleep Smarter, 2016

[5] Dr Libby Weaver, Women’s Wellness, 2016

[6] Dr Libby Weaver, Women’s Wellness, 2016

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