Movement is Life
by Dr. Nicole Murphy
Movement is life. It is part of what keeps your joints healthy, your bones strong, and your mind fresh and alert. We NEED movement! The problem is most of us aren't moving enough. As we have become more and more technologically advanced, most of the work we do is in front of a screen. We are not being very physical at work and then we go home and use another screen, whether it is a video game, cell phone, or television.
So, what are we to do? We are each at a different level of fitness. You might be the person who the only moves when you walk to and from the car. Others might have run three marathons last year. This article will focus more on those who have never been active and those who may have been active once but have fallen off the horse and allowed life to get in the way. With New Year's resolutions and the arrival of nicer weather, people often find themselves considering starting a workout routine, but they may not know where to begin. What workout is best for a person just starting out? The answer is easier than you realize: just move more. A quick and easy first step you can implement today is to make yourself walk further to the things you already do. Try parking at least 10 parking spots away from the door at the grocery store, work, or the movies. Add another parking spot each week. This adds easy steps and movement.
Many of us think that if we just sit at the desk staring at the computer it will keep us focused, but actually the longer we sit, the more the brain starts to slow down. It starts to behave like you are asleep. Something easy I like to have people do is set a timer for every 20 min. Each time it goes off, stand up! You don't even need to leave your desk--just do two squats or stretch forward and back as shown here. This gets you off your butt for a short time, fires muscles in your back and legs and turns your brain back on again.
These are the baby steps, but we need even more. We have all heard about getting 10,000 steps a day (which is really a minimum recommendation) but some of us don't know how much we walk in the first place. The really cool thing is, with all of the new technology it's a snap to figure out how much we move. If you have a Fitbit, or a step counter, use it! Many phones also have the capability to count steps. Once you know your baseline, make it a goal to walk more every day. I like the goal of adding 100 more steps every three days. But if you can do more, go for it. My advice is always be more like the tortoise than the hare. Starting slow and steady will increase your chances of sticking with it. I would much rather you feel like you didn't get much of a workout than be so sore you quit after the first time.
You do not need to be a member of a gym in order to get moving, but if you are overwhelmed and want to make sure you are creating healthy habits and doing your workout in the correct way, then you might want to hire a personal trainer. They are trained to help you through the process. Remember the best athletes in the world have coaches. Coaches are people who are there to help you figure out your goals, help you stay on track, and keep you coming back by holding you accountable. For you, this can be a trainer or maybe even a friend.
Good luck and happy moving!
To learn more about ways you can get moving, check out our latest Seeds of Wellness series. We interviewed Missy Wilt, a personal trainer at Blush Fitness in Overland Park, KS.