Your body is a living machine.
Literally – we were BORN to move! In this article, it may sound like you are reading an obvious fact – move your body more. Why should you take the time to read an article like this?
Simply put – we don’t move our bodies enough.
Not the kind of movement that really matters. And not nearly enough of it.
Think about it. Not too long ago, we relied on our bodies to do every task needed for our day-to-day needs. From sun-up to sun-down, humans spent their days consumed with the essential tasks for daily survival. Climbing hills, digging in soil, hunting game, cooking food and making clothing. Slowly humans formed communities and developed more modern survival skills, such as bartering & task specialization. Technology developed over time now makes tasks easier and more efficient. Fast forward to today and our daily necessities are a simple phone call or electronic click away.
It’s easy to see how much our bodies don’t HAVE to do anymore. The average human spends anywhere from 6-10 hours a day sitting down. This time is often spent driving, working at a desk, watching television, & scrolling social media on mobile devices.
The result? We have normalized a sedentary lifestyle.
Our muscles & connective soft tissues are stuck in unnatural positions for extended periods of time. Our hip flexors are constantly contracted, resulting in tight hamstrings & low back aches & pains. Neck & shoulder stiffness is a common complaint of adults everywhere; sometimes severe enough to cause tension headaches or muscle spasms. Sitting in front of a computer or looking down at your phone causes poor posture, muscle imbalances, and stiff movement.
The list of “unnatural” modern ailments is a long one:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Increased levels of stress
- Weak joints
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
- Compromised immune system
Yikes. All of these, and more, are strongly linked to a sedentary lifestyle.
Here’s the thing – these ailments are “unnatural” BECAUSE OF modern technology & conveniences. Sounds like an impossible “Catch-22”, doesn’t it? Let’s be real – unnatural movement patterns are difficult to avoid completely. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank or upend your lifestyle to combat this. The answer is simple:
GET UP AND MOVE.
Daily movement should be a staple of our existence. And it is SO EASY to make it fit into your daily hustle & grind. Here are a few simple ways to bring more movement back into your life:
1. Begin each day with 10-15 minutes of light movement.
Moving your body after you wake up has so many benefits, both physically & mentally. Think this sounds like a chore? The truth is, making time for this in your morning can be quite simple to do. If you need your cup of coffee to clear out the fog of sleep, an easy compromise is to take your coffee with you on a stroll. A quick walk around the neighborhood will boost your blood circulation, wake up your muscles, and give your mind a chance to prepare for the day ahead. You could also choose to dive into a short yoga or mobility sequence before hopping in the shower. Focus on stretches or movements that counter-balance seated positions to receive similar benefits.
2. Ditch the car, if possible.
Many of us live or work in close proximity to the places we frequent the most; why not take advantage of that lifestyle convenience? Dust off your bicycle and bike to work if you can. You could also load it up in your car, so you can bike to your favorite restaurant during your lunch break. If biking isn’t your thing, consider packing your lunch. Eat at the office and use your extra lunch time to stroll outside your workplace or at a nearby park.
3. Exercise is essential.
And unfortunately, we don’t get enough of it. According to current health recommendations, adults should complete at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity). A simpler translation? You can shoot for five (5) thirty-minute to sixty-minute moderate-intensity workouts a week… or anywhere from three (3) to five (5) 30-minute sessions of high-intensity workouts each week. Carving out thirty-minutes in your day is 100% do-able. Make it a habit to prioritize movement over TV shows or scrolling social media. And remember – exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead, help yourself stay on track by finding a form of exercise that is both fun and motivating!
5. Find a movement buddy.
Humans thrive on interpersonal relationships. COVID-19 restrictions, as well as our daily hustle & grind, often gets in the way of real human interaction. Having a workout buddy is great for accountability & motivation on those days when getting off the couch seems like a huge chore. Or how about a free therapy sesh? Activities such as walking around the neighborhood with a friend, or even Zoom a yoga sesh from home, are COVID-19 safe & accessible. Best of all, this can double as an opportunity to while getting in some much needed human interaction.
6. Ditch the elevator.
Is your office or dentist appointment on the second or third floor? Go for the stairs instead! Two reasons why this is a great choice. Firstly, climbing & kneeling are considered two of many essential natural movements for human beings. Climbing a few flights of stairs is an excellent to move your body the way is is designed to move. Second, it only takes a few extra minutes to use the stairway; it does not require rescheduling your whole day or traveling to the gym. Why stand around more when you can treat your body to a simple movement challenge?
Adding movement back into your life doesn’t mean you have to become an athlete or gym rat. The possibilities for moving your bones & muscles they way they were designed to are endless… and no where near as overwhelming as we make it out to be.
All it takes is the first step – literally!
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