Motion is Lotion
You know how important exercise is to one’s health and wellness. Exercise builds strong muscles and bones, helps to boost energy levels and sleep quality, can aid in memory and brain health, and is great for your overall mood. On the health front, daily exercise is associated with lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, a lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. So if you didn’t know before, yes, exercise is absolutely vital to your health and well-being.
But exercise doesn’t necessarily need to look like exercise, because movement is what counts. While hitting the gym or the treadmill for an hour are definitely ways to incorporate exercise into your day, what is arguably more important is how you move the other 23 hours of your day.
As a marathon runner in my 30’s, completing 6 marathons, I understand the importance of both physical activity as well as rest and recovery. Both are huge pieces within the health and wellness puzzle. While pushing myself as a marathon runner, I couldn’t neglect my rest and recovery – or I would never meet the goals I set for myself. Now, more or less retired from marathon life, I still make sure to get in my daily movement by walking 3-4 miles before work to start my day.
My point is this: you don’t have to be a marathon runner, a fitness guru, or even have a gym membership to add movement to your day. And you don’t need to have 45 minutes to an hour blocked off at a time to get a workout in. If you struggle with the idea of exercise or with finding enough time to fit it in, think smaller: think minutes. You can find minutes in your day. Minutes spent waiting for your toast to brown, coffee to brew, water to boil. Find those minutes spent waiting, and get moving! Because Motion is Lotion! Here are some simple ways to bring movement into your daily routine.
While yoga might sound like a typical form of physical activity, it doesn’t have to be so rigid. The beauty of a yoga practice is that you make it work for you. Think about adding a little yoga to your morning routine to start your day off on the right foot, or after work to de-stress and relax. You can do yoga at home by yourself, or in a studio as part of a class. You can even incorporate one of my favorite ways to practice: Chair Yoga. This one is great because you can do it anywhere, no mat required! Think about setting an alarm once every hour while at work to get up, do some simple stretches or a few Chair Yoga poses. You’ll get in some extra daily movement, plus you’ll find that getting up from your work allows you to reset and come back with increased focus and productivity.
Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to add more movement to your day. Walking boasts some pretty serious benefits all on its own, like helping maintain a healthy weight, strengthening bones and muscles, preventing or managing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, improving balance and coordination, and last but certainly not least: improving your mood. You can incorporate a daily walk in the morning, like I do, or on your lunch break, or even stop at a local park after work on your way home and walk a few blocks. But walking, just like yoga, doesn’t need to be so structured either. You can find simple ways to walk more each day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away at the grocery store, walking to each of your daily errands, or making it a point to get up and walk around the house or office every so often. If you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can check the Health App and get a feel for your daily step count. 10,000 steps is generally the recommended amount for maximum health benefits, but you don’t have to start there. Set small goals for yourself and work your way up!
Incorporating a balance of simple stretching, breathing, and a little extra walking will show you that motion is lotion and your body will thank you for it. Oh yes, and don’t forget your water!
If you’d like to know more about the importance of daily movement, or to schedule a consultation, visit my website at www.selfcareproviders.com and let’s get moving!