Physical Activity and Movement Part 3
Once you understand the benefits of a daily movement habit, it will be hard to resist engaging in the process to create this new routine. The benefits are innumerable. In my book, Authentic Health, I talk about the fact that if I could bottle all of the benefits of physical activity and place it in a capsule, and then sell it as a prescription, that everybody would want it. I talk about how people would be willing to pay the price, no matter how much. Then I remind them that the great news is there is no price. It’s free for you. All you have to do is take advantage of it.
Once you understand the benefits of a daily movement habit, it will be hard to resist engaging in the process to create this new routine.
How Does Movement Help Me?
Because our bodies are designed for physical activity, we experience a lot of positive benefits when we use our bodies properly. Creating a habit of movement provides results like these:
- Lowering blood pressure;
- Lowering resting heart rate;
- Reducing insulin resistance;
- Improving blood sugar control for people with diabetes;
- Providing a metabolic signal that can assist with maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight;
- Reducing your risk of atherosclerosis and having future cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke;
- Boosting the health of your metabolic systems, your cardiovascular system, and your mind;
- Increasing blood flow to the brain;
- Enhancing a sense of wellbeing, including positive emotions like joy, peace, and gratitude;
- Activating neuroplasticity, the ability to create new pathways in your mind to enhance your experience of this world and create new habits;
- Alleviating emotional stress responses by reducing fear, anxiety, worry, irritability, and other negative emotions;
- Improving your ability to get to sleep and sleep deeply through the night;
- Refining the conditioning of your muscles, the ability of your body to use energy properly when needed, the health of your connective tissues, and the density of your bones;
- Reducing your risk of injuries and falls;
- Helping your balance by improving proprioception and how your body sends input to your brain to understand where you are in space; and,
- Enhancing cognitive functions, allowing you to think better.
You get the idea. There’s an incredible amount of benefits to physical activity, and it’s for a clear reason: our bodies were designed for it. Not getting physical activity is similar to not sleeping, breathing, hydrating, or eating. Now, it’s not quite the same, because obviously without breathing you’ll die very quickly, and without drinking water, you’ll die pretty quickly as well. But nonetheless, the absence of physical activity will slowly deteriorate your body and lead to earlier death.
Sounds Good, Right?
I imagine that everything that I’m describing is something you want. You may already be engaged in a very healthy foundation for physical activity. If so, that’s great. Keep doing it, and let this reinforce it. But if you’ve struggled with being regularly physically active, if you’ve had ideas about it that it’s painful, and hard, and tiring, we’re going to correct that. It’s going to give you energy and reduce your pain. You’re going to feel better. And you’re not going to have to make yourself hurt to do it.
Yes, it requires some action, some initiative, and occasionally feeling a little uncomfortable. But I promise you it will not be hard.
There’s an incredible amount of benefits to physical activity, and it’s for a clear reason: our bodies were designed for it.
How to Begin …Today!
Think about starting today. Today, use your body a little bit more. Pay attention to your body and how it’s feeling. Move your shoulders, your neck, your hips. Feel your toes and fingers. Pay attention to your body, your posture, your breathing. Take an opportunity to walk for a few minutes, or just stand a little more. Take the opportunity to squat, kneel, lunge, hang, push, pull, or walk up the stairs. Whatever it is you’re capable of doing.
Rather than looking at two trips up the steps as tiring and something to be avoided, look at it as your trip to the gym. This will work for you. Embrace this paradigm of physical activity. You’ll not regret it.
In the post ahead, we’ll begin to outline the holistic approach to a movement habit that provides good health.