Movement as a practice is about rhythm. It’s about establishing a flow that acknowledges our anatomical design, needs and evolution. It’s about being in motion and being active. It is about balance.
“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” ~ Plato
- Movement, and especially aerobic movement, stimulates the body’s immune system, improves mental function, boosts energy, strengthens muscles and bones, and reduces the risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
- A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and death from any cause for people of all weights.
- The research shows that being healthy is about more than just increasing the amount of physical activity. It has a lot to do with decreasing the amount of time we are inactive.
- An Australia study found that the more time people spent sitting, the more likely they were to die of any cause.
- Another study found that people who spent more than 4 hours sitting in front of a TV or computer each day were 125 percent more likely to have heart problems over a 4-year period. The amount people exercised did not make a difference in their risk.
How to Start Your Practice
Be Mindful – mindfulness helps connect you with the present moment. When you combine a mindfulness practice with your exercise program you can bring greater awareness to your body, your surroundings and your overall experience. It can keep you safe from injury and help you to tune-in to better understand the needs of your body. One study showed that mindfulness may also help you feel the positive effects of exercise therefore helping you stay committed to your regimen.
Shift Your Mindset – Exercise vs. Movement. Shift how you think about exercise from something you do once a day or three times a week to the idea of incorporating more movement into each day – throughout your day. Focus less on the idea of exercise and more on the question “How can I move more today?”
Workplace Strategies – Transition to a standing or treadmill desk at work or at home. Set a timer during the day on your phone or computer and take a 5-10 minute break each hour. If you work in an office setting consider walking to your colleagues desks instead of just relying on email, texting and instant messaging. Share the research on exercise and movement with your colleagues and work toward workplace policies that encourage more movement during the day. Start a walking group at the office.
Find the Right Gear – make sure you have clothing, shoes and other gear you need to successfully engage in your chosen movement. If you exercise outside of your home find a gym bag so you can easily pack your gear. Staying active throughout your day typically requires a plan, a comfortable pair of shoes and a place to walk. Don’t forget to pack your water bottle and a snack if feel you might get too hungry.
Engage Your Community – for many people movement is more fun when they do it with others. Take a dance or yoga class. Join a gym. Plan family vacations to include physical activity. Invite a friend to go for a hike or a walk. People want to move, they need to move. Help them by extending an invitation to get active.