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Power of Movement

Updated: Feb 22, 2022

Hello Beautiful

In January we began the daily habit of journaling with the objective of further developing our self-awareness. Then in February, we added the regular practice of touching base and connecting with those that bring joy, support or simple companionship to our lives. Both these habits enhance and nurture our emotional well-being. The March habit is more about strengthening our physical health, but the benefits go far beyond that of the body.

“Ironically, the older we get,

the more we should commit to physical activity

– to slowing down the diminishment of our strength and agility,

our bone density, our muscle mass, our elasticity, our recovery time.

Getting physical and improving is

how we can continue to thrive among the living.”

– Twyla Tharp

Daily movement is in fact the very foundation on which to build a better life; a fundamental investment into your health as you age. Paying yourself first is a key strategy when looking at financial investments. It is no different when it comes to your health. Invest in yourself first - your time, your energy, your discipline.

Movement is such a simple concept, yet so vital, it impacts our whole health. Without it, we deteriorate. Some of the benefits of daily movement include:

  • Healthy functioning joints

  • Strong bones

  • Physical strength

  • Good cardiorespiratory circulation {according to Canada's Heart & Stroke, “physical activity helps you live longer and reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 50%”}

  • Better coordination – strengthening your muscles improves mobility, stability and balance

  • Flexibility and reflex reactivity

  • Improved learning skills and sharpened focus {The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Colorado state that “walking 30 – 40 minutes/day three times a week can help ‘regrow’ the structures of the brain linked to cognitive decline in older adults”}

  • Improved mental health and well-being

  • Improved sleep

  • Reduced stress

The word exercise - practice for the sake of training - first came into the English language in the late 14th century. Movement existed before exercise, before workouts or fitness training. It is as old as the inception of man. We hunted and gathered, walked and ran, lifted and climbed, fought and danced. Movement is what your body was designed for – it was and still is essential to the survival of our species.

Before big gyms became big business, people didn’t go to a center to workout per se. But they stayed active. They worked, and gardened, fixed their own cars and sewed their own clothes. They socialized at bowling allies, Friday night dances and Sunday afternoon picnics. They fished, biked and walked home after the movie.

Today people move less and sit more. According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since the 1950s. Technology and robotic automation are primarily to blame. These advancements have come at a tremendous price. Being sedentary is linked to a myriad of conditions from diabetes to cardiovascular disease to cancer. In fact, there is even a medical term for it: the ‘Sitting Disease’.

“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking,

kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.

We are sitting ourselves to death.”

– Dr. James Levine

The good news is these risks can be counteracted simply by moving more. The benefits of moving our bodies have been well researched – it is as important as keeping our mind sharp and being social.

If you find yourself in a job where you sit for the majority of the day you are not alone, as jobs that are considered physically active comprise less than twenty percent of the workforce. So here are some ways you can start adding movement into your schedule:

  • Walk or bike to/from work

  • If you take public transport, stand instead of sit

  • Take walks during your lunch breaks

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator

  • Set a timer to remind you to get up and move every 30 – 45 minutes to take a bathroom break or a drink of water

  • Stand up when talking on the phone and stretch or march in place.

If you have already developed the good habit of regular movement or an exercise routine, you are well on your way to supporting your body as it matures. But if, like me, you are in need of adding more to your busy schedules, join me in the daily March habit of adding movement to your day.

“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do.

You don’t move? The body will make you better at NOT moving.

If you move, your body will allow more movement.”

— Ido Portal

Some Key points to remember:

1. Start simple. It does not need to be strenuous, just regular.

  • Begin by creating a routine comprised of small movements and stretches. Be mindful of the pressure and tension you put on your muscles and joints when you first start out – listen to your body – and then breathe and relax into the positions.

  • Walking is fantastic. It has been proven to help meet fitness and weight-loss goals, improve mental health issues such as depression and overall mood, and can reduce pain and risk from all kinds of disorders from cancer to chronic diseases. Start with a short walk around the block and move up from there.

  • Swimming is an activity involving your entire body. It is a great cardio activity building up your endurance and muscle strength, yet at the same time eliminating the pressure and stress on your joints.

  • Join a beginner Yoga or Restorative Yoga class.

2. Don’t get bored. When ready, add variety – be curious but at the same time make sure it’s something you enjoy doing.

  • Power walking, cycling, boxing

  • Intermediate/advanced Yoga; Hot Yoga; Yoga Sculpt

  • Join a community team: volleyball, cross-country skiing, rowing

  • Join a local Zumba or Tai Chi class

3. Play! You will be more apt to follow through if you’re having fun. Shifting how you view physical activity may be a good starting point. Invite your friends, family or life partner. The more the merrier.

  • Go bowling, ice/roller skating, tobogganing

  • Play with the seasons – go to the beach in the summer, build a snow fort in the winter

  • Start an herb or vegetable garden

  • Go Golfing (skip the golf cart), hiking, rock climbing

By practicing your daily March habit in the mornings, you will add an energy boost to carry you through the rest of your day as well as help you sleep better at night. Understandably, this is not always possible depending on your work schedule, who you live with, the weather and of course your own circadian rhythm.

The benefits of daily movement add up and far surpass enhancing your physical health by improving and balancing your mental and emotional health as well. The daily investments do not need to be expensive, painful or perfect - it just needs to be consistent.

Happy Moving!


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