Movement – what exactly does this mean, and why is it so important?
What is Movement?
Movement is defined in the dictionary as “an act of moving” or “a slight movement of the body”. Taken more literally – movement simply means ‘not staying still’. It has been said so frequently throughout the ages that the human body was designed to move, and there is so much more truth to that statement than so many people seem to realise. My name is Natasha and I have a strong background in fitness … from my school days where I was quite involved in sports, through to my adult life that saw me move to Dubai in 2009 to start a new career in the Fitness Industry … and I would like to share with you my understanding about movement and exactly why it is so vital to good health.
Over the years I have been involved with fitness and training I have heard just about every excuse under the sun when it comes to people’s reluctance to get moving …
I don’t have the time … I can’t afford a gym membership
I don’t know how to work the equipment … I don’t like the gym
This list could go on forever, but at the end of the day the common thread that links all these excuses is an individual’s lack of commitment to themselves. Movement – or being active – can be different for everyone. It doesn’t matter so much exactly what you do – the important thing is that you use your body and keep it moving. As long as you start with something, being active will end up just like any other habit … then all of a sudden you realise how much better your body feels when your active – and how much easier it feels to do everyday things – and so you start looking for things to do that will keep you moving.
My personal choice is CrossFit. I go as often as I can, and if I know I am going to miss out on my CrossFit I go for a run. If I can’t do either of those activities, I take my dogs for a walk. Movement for you could be just that easy – going for walk, with or without your dog, reaching the recommended 10 000 steps a day. It doesn’t even need to be ‘just for the sake of it’ … walk to the local shops rather than jumping in the car … get off the bus a stop or 2 earlier and then walk the rest of the way home … drive to the beach and walk along the shore … even just maintaining your garden and mowing the lawn.
“Oh, but I can’t do anything because I’m injured …”
This is another reasonably common excuse to justify why you can’t be more active, but it isn’t justified nearly half as often as people play this card. It might be true in some instances – depending on the nature of the injury, and any genuine advice given by a Medical Professional – but did you know that movement is has been proven to be beneficial to the healing process during injury recovery?
Of course, if you have a significant injury managed recovery far outweighs over-working healing muscles and/or joints outside the prescribed rehabilitation work, but the important thing to remember when you have such an injury you can work around it … keep the body moving with focus to other body regions. For example – if you are on crutches recovering from an ankle or leg injury, then focus on the upper body (arms & shoulders). Also remember that – depending on the injury – it is often a good thing to maintain movement around that specific injury … if there is no pain there is no reason not to keep it moving.
Let’s investigate some facts around the benefits of movement & activity…
Our bodies are built to work and thrive on movement and exercise. Some of the risks associated with inactivity and more sedentary lifestyles (ie: those who spend most of their day seated, either at work or home) include:
- Increased risk of low metabolism – increasing the risk of unhealthy weight gain;
- A drop in the levels of healthy cholesterol – increasing the risk of cardiovascular problems;
- Increased potential in developing back pain; and (more seriously)
- Increased potential for muscle and bone degeneration.
For comparison, let’s look at some of the benefits of exercise and movement:
- Healthy heart;
- Great for your mental health – increasing a better overall mood and supporting better sleeping patterns;
- Stimulates metabolism – actively helping with weight management; and (quite importantly)
- Lowering your risk of developing osteoporosis or muscle wasting, while boosting Immune function.
Did you know???
All it takes is 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week to decrease your likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that engaging in moderate intensity exercise such as walking may lead to:
- a 7.2% reduction in the risk of high blood pressure
- a 7.0% reduction in the risk of high cholesterol
- a 9.3% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease
What is ‘Moderate Intensity Exercise’?
Moderate exercise creates a little awareness that you’re breathing deeper, though still primarily through your nose. You may notice you take a deep breath more often. You can talk but you’re at the point you begin to talk between breaths.
Would you like a few ideas on how to get moving?
Gardening: This involves walking, squatting, reaching and pushing and pulling, and is great way to get some fresh air and the all-important Vitamin D.
Pilates or Yoga: Stretching your body helps to move lymph fluid, but also helps to keep your joints flexible and lubricated.
Play with your kids: Play a game of tag or hide-and-seek, tetherball or hand ball. This will get your kids off their screens too and can be a great bonding time. 😊.
Have a pool at home? Can’t do laps – that’s ok just walk in the water this will give you have the added benefit of working against some resistance.
Movement is one of the most basic functions of the human body and can be so beneficial. There are so many options available to each and every one of us, so please – Don’t let exercise become a mission or struggle for you. By focusing on the goal as “movement” rather than “working out” we can all find ways to incorporate activity into our daily life in a way that feels good and enjoyable.
“Movement does not need to mean exercise” – Dr Jen Esquer.
You only have one body – take care of it.