No doubt about it, our bodies were designed to move. It is truly amazing to watch athletes, especially gymnasts, and see what the body can do with movement. Our sedentary lifestyles are a major contributor to so many people who end up with limited range of their movement. Just as water gets stagnant without moving, your body stagnates as well and loses it’s ability to move. Move it or lose it really sums it up.
Movement used to be a natural part of our life, most everything we did created some form of movement. Now it has been replaced with our modern day conveniences. Years ago, you had to get up to change the channel or answer the phone, which gave you a break from sitting. Now, everything has devices to do the work for you, and it also keeps you from moving. You don’t even have the option anymore to change things manually. Even the new Alexa takes voice commands from across the room.
To keep moving is something you actually have to think about doing these days. It’s usually not a part of our daily routine unless we plan for it. We even have devices like Fitbit that help us keep track of how many steps we take, to help us improve the amount we walk. We have to be reminded to move. But that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s easy to make a few changes and put more movement into your life.
Here are some very simple ways for you to add more movement during your day. Whenever you begin any new routine, make sure what your capabilities are. If you have past injuries or surgeries, it may be better to start in a rehabilitation program as your best choice. They are trained to help develop the areas of concern.
If you are starting on your own, it is recommended to check with your doctor. You may want to start with simple stretches. As you do, take the movement to the end of your range, just push that envelope ever so slightly; never with force or to the point of pain. As you continue to do this over a few days, you will find an even greater range to push against.
A colleague of mine started out with wanting to touch her hands to the floor and thought it wold be easy as her grandkids do it all the time. She found out it was not that easy and she could not do it. That first time reaching for the floor, her hands stopped just below her knees. It was very disappointing.
Determined to change it, she would go to her farthest reach, then reach ever so slightly beyond it. Never tothe point of pain. It took 3 months, 3 to 4 times a week, then she could reach all the way to the floor. She was elated with her accomplishment.
Yoga is one method to improve your range of motion. If your new to yoga, make sure you start at the beginning level and do as much as you comfortably can. Just push ever so slightly beyond your range and your range will increase little by little. Staying with it is the key to maintain any gain. If Yoga seems intimidating, it may not be for you.
If you like music, maybe moving to the groove and rhythm may be more your style. Take any music and just start moving. If you need some pointers or would like to see how others do it, Misty Tripoli has lots of free videos on you tube. Her collection is called: ‘Body Groove.’ It’s a great way to get moving to your favorite music.
If graceful movement is more your style, Tai chi is excellent and easy to do. Tai Chi uses a flow of movements together, and can
be put to music that flows with the movements. Here is a website that is a terrific place to start with Tai Chi. Mark Johnson is a highly trained instructor with over 40 years of experience. He focuses on the healing aspects of the movements that keeps energy flowing. There is free information and videos to help introduce you to the Tai Chi movements.
Think about your day and find ways to increase your movement. Park further away from the door at the store or use the stairs when you can. Walking anywhere you can is an excellent way to get moving. When standing for long periods of time, swing your hips from side to side, kick your legs behind you, raise your feet up and down like walking in place or do lunges side to side. Be creative and have some fun!
Does your job have more sitting than you would like or find yourself sitting on the couch long periods of time? Raise your arms and legs several times in a row or in a motion of up, out and down. Get a small pedal machine and use it while you are sitting there. This will also increase your breathing which increases your cognitive ability that helps in thinking clearly. Make it fun!
The latest research shows amazing results that movement actually helps in maintaining better health and balance for your body. As muscles continue to work together, strength is maintained giving you better balance, and the result is you are at a much lower risk of falling.
Movement helps to:
- Relieve stress that has built up
- Calm feelings of depression or anxiety
- Improve learning ability
- Build your self esteem
- Improve mental function keeping Alzheimer’s at bay
- Lower your risk factors of osteoporosis, diabetes, and more
- Release endorphins that help you just plain feel better.
There are real benefits when you keep moving — doing what we were naturally meant to do. Think about your day and do what you can to keep moving; like the song says: I like to Move It, Move It … MOVE IT!
And if you need additional confirmation of the health benefits of movement, here are some of the studies for you to explore: