Humans are made to move! Though we aren’t born able to stand and run within 5 minutes like other mammals, we are blessed with the ability to move through space in a tremendous amount of ways. From running and jumping to climbing, swimming and catapulting our bodies through the air, it’s really quite amazing how unlimited we are. Of course, the more we practice movement, the more accessible it is, and the more benefits we have to gain from it.
Being able to move our bodies regularly in a variety of ways was the separator between those that survived and those that didn’t, back in the day. Flash forward to the present, we can get through life just fine by sitting all day and with minimal trips to the kitchen and the bathroom. However, this certainly isn’t going to ward off the nursing home and contribute to our goal of being fit for life. Our bodies thrive off movement, adding in regular chunks of movement or exercise throughout the day and increasing our daily total will certainly tip the needle to benefit our short and long term health.
Movement provides a positive influence on our brain, hormones, inflammation levels, bones, joints, muscles, lymphatic and cardiovascular system, as well as our digestion, blood sugar, hydration, mineral balance and fatty acid needs. Not to mention, exercise is proven to boost our mood and self-confidence! Humans are designed to move for upwards of 16 hours per day. It’s important to intentionally break up that time we spend sedentary and get moving more often. Movement doesn’t just have to be the one hour we devote to the gym, in fact if we only move for one hour a day that’s less only 4% of the year, compared to the potential to move for 67% of the year.
Implementing more movement can be as simple as taking a moment to stretch before we start our day. We could add in mobility or flow-type movements during lunch breaks or a 10 minute walk outside to rejuvenate our body and mind. Parking further away from the entrance to work or the grocery store and using a basket instead of a shopping cart can easily add hundreds of steps per year, while also providing some core stability work and capping the amount of impulse-buy foods that land in our basket. Other choices that our body will thank us for are things like taking the stairs instead of an elevator or standing up every 30 minutes to do some air squats and desk push-ups.
Movement and exercise don’t have to be complex or time consuming. They just require a little extra thought. Just as we should practice being more mindful and present in our busy world, we should remember that our bodies were made to move. Moving is a chance to lower stress and tension, give us more energy and let us ride that endorphin wave that makes us feel like a million bucks, so let’s take more opportunities to use our bodies, and capitalize on the simple act of moving.