Mindful Movement: Incorporating A Variety of Movement into Daily Life is Beneficial For Your Body and Your Mood

Most of us, by now, probably have some notion that sitting is bad for us. Studies are still being conducted concerning the dangers of sitting. Yet, so far, most have shown that sitting for a long period of time is linked to a multitude of health concerns. Among them include obesity, cardiovascular disease, poor joint and muscle health, and high blood sugar. The greatest challenge in combating this today is the fact that our jobs and lifestyles call us to spend most of time sitting down. Whether that is sitting in a desk, or sitting in a car on commute. To make matters worse, we often sit with poor posture, creating pressure on the spine, straining the neck, and crushing the organs. Sitting for a long time also creates brain fogginess. Have you ever noticed yourself dozing off in the middle of a class, even if you have had a full night’s rest?  Because there is minimal body movement, blood flow to the brain slows, yielding slower brain function. For all these reasons, sitting has been branded as “the new smoking.” This certainly sounds harsh. But the situation is harsh: researchers say sitting most of the day will even cancel out an intense full hour daily workout.

The cure to our harmful sedentary lifestyle is to break up the time spent sitting with a variety of exercises. For some people exercising can be a scary or dreadful concept, but it does not have to be; it is just movement. The goal of a movement practice should be sustained health. An extreme, intense workout regimen will likely cause burnout for most people. Katy Bowman, in an interview on the Broken Brain Podcast, calls for a nutritious movement practice. Katy’s philosophy is that exercise should be viewed the same way we view food. There are different foods we eat for different nutrients, just as there are different exercises and movements we do for the benefit of different body parts. Our bodies are incredibly complex and they are designed for motion.

Simple ways to move more and move smarter:

  1. Walking, of course. Walk whenever and wherever you can. That means walking to class, walking to work, walking to the grocer. After all, you may save on gas money and emissions! Instead of sitting at a coffee shop to catch up with friends go for a stroll together.

  2. Jogging. A short 20 or 30 minute slow paced run is easily fit into a busy work day. You’ll get your heart pumping, and you may break a sweat, releasing toxins!

  3. Biking or stationary biking. I myself love cycling on a stationary bike while watching my favorite netflix show! (lately, that is Hawaii Five-0) Biking outside is also a wonderful way to get some fresh air and enjoy the nature around you.

  4. Swimming. If you have access to a swimming pool, use it! Swimming is one of the few exercises that uses all your muscles and is low impact. Lap swimming is great, but simply treading water counts as a workout too.

  5. Strength  training. Everybody needs it. Start small, 2-3 times a week. It keeps your joints and muscles in good shape.

  6. Take your required reading to the treadmill! Find a steady pace and walk while you study for class. This may also be done on a stepmill

  7. Attend a yoga class.

  8. Take frequent stretch breaks. Every 30 minutes of sitting class for a little pacing and stretching.

  9. Dance! Listen to your favorite song, and shake it out.

  10. Use a standing desk or an exercise ball, instead of stationary desk.

  11. Roll a tennis ball with feet and hands.

  12. Do a little ab workout while watching television.

  13. Play! Toss a ball, play twister, through a frisbee with friends, play with a pet.

 

The benefits of a diversity of movement includes improved mood, better focus, longer life, reduced food cravings, and increased energy. All good things!