I am so glad you asked…
Your body has evolved for movement… If it hadn’t, we wouldn’t have the joints and muscles we have. We are built for movement, BUT society isn’t evolving to help us move more, but less in the name of convenience and technological advancement.
With the invention of the car, the washing machine, dishwasher, supermarket, office jobs, Netflix, Amazon next-day delivery, and Uber eats, these ‘advances’ are seeing us move less – and coincidently, we are getting sicker!
We need to move a lot of our body a little; instead, we move a little of our body a lot – I bet you have very agile fingers when it comes to typing or scrolling, but you find getting up and down from the floor a major task!!
This ain’t good!
You may have heard the line ‘use it or lose it’. If you are not using your body, your muscles will degrade, leaving you weak; your bone density will decline, leaving you fragile, and your joints will seize up, leaving you immobile. And that’s before we include the stagnant blood and lymph fluid, leaving you undernourished and toxic. Yikes!
Many people have the misconception that movement = exercise = sweaty gym sessions or running in the rain. The good news is that it doesn’t need to be that. The minimum it needs to be is getting up and moving around more often than you currently do. That would be a start.
Another misconception is that if you go to the gym a few times a week that’s sufficient… Well, that depends on how you spend the rest of your week. If you are 8hrs+ a day sitting at a desk, then sitting watching TV most of the evening before you go to bed, your few hours at the gym, while excellent, you still need to move around more than you currently do. You ideally want to move for 3 minutes every 30 minutes you are sitting (or standing in one place). I am not making that up… there was a study you can look at here https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M17-0212).
If you follow my work, you will know that I teach that no one system in the body works alone. You look after the health of one system; you look after the health of all systems, physical, mental, and emotional.
My own personal journey with movement as medicine, particularly in the last couple of years. In 2022, when I was bedbound due to the chronic inflammation I was experiencing in my whole body, I knew I needed to stay lying down, but I also knew that I needed to move – your lymphatic system clearing helps reduce the inflammation. And the only way the lymph moves is by moving your body or diaphragmatic breathing (which creates movement from the inside). At that point, my bowel was so inflamed that diaphragm breathing was too painful, and my movement was reduced to wiggling fingers and toes and not lying in the same position for more than 20 minutes.
Gradually, I could move a bit more over the days, but it was months before I was back on my feet, moving around unassisted. I truly think I would still be struggling if I hadn’t taken action when I did. I am back at the gym, still keeping things low and slow. There are many long rests and still a lot of lying down just moving around. Because I know movement is medicine, I know that I need to get my body as strong as I can so I can be resilient when/if I go into another flare – even though I do what I can to keep the inflammation low, there are always things out of my control (viruses and grief for example).
The keys to success for moving more:
- Set a reminder, an alarm, a timer, something that will prompt you and remind you to move. I believe some of the fitness trackers can be set to buzz when you haven’t moved enough – but you don’t need to buy a fancy timer!
- If you want to include an exercise activity, do something you enjoy and look forward to.
- Get the whole body moving, every joint, and listen to your body, it will tell you if it doesn’t like the movement you have chosen.
- Work with a coach if you have an injury or illness and you are not sure what’s the right thing for you (I can possibly help, so reach out)
- Start where you are. Don’t try to go from 8 hours sitting to running a marathon (or even a 5K); you need to gradually condition your body to build strength and mobility, so you don’t end up injured (this is a great reason to work with a coach, particularly to get you started).
Move more, and your benefits include:
- Physical Health:
- Cardiovascular Health: Regular exercise improves heart and lung function, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Weight Management: Physical activity helps control body weight and reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions.
- Musculoskeletal Health:
- Strength and Flexibility: Exercise promotes muscle strength, flexibility, and joint health.
- Bone Density: Weight-bearing activities contribute to maintaining or increasing bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Metabolic Health:
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Physical activity helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Metabolism: Regular exercise enhances metabolic function, improving weight control and overall health.
- Mental Health:
- Mood Enhancement: Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Stress Reduction: Physical activity is known to reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels.
- Cognitive Function:
- Brain Health: Exercise is associated with better cognitive function, including improved memory and concentration.
- Neurotransmitter Release: Physical activity stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, enhancing brain function.
- Immune System Support:
- Immune Function: Regular, moderate exercise has been linked to a strengthened immune system, reducing the risk of illness.
- Sleep Improvement:
- Quality of Sleep: Physical activity can improve the quality of sleep and help with sleep disorders.
- Social Connection:
- Community Engagement: Group activities and sports provide opportunities for social interaction and support, contributing to overall well-being.
- Life Expectancy: Regular physical activity is associated with a longer and healthier life.
- Disease Prevention:
- Risk Reduction: Exercise is linked to a reduced risk of various chronic diseases, such as heart disease, certain cancers, and neurodegenerative disorders.
- Pain Management:
- Chronic Pain: Movement can help manage and reduce chronic pain conditions.
- Self-Esteem and Confidence:
- Body Image: Regular physical activity can improve body image and self-esteem.
So, how are you going to move more?
I have live online Pilates & Yoga classes, and if the timetable doesn’t suit, I have Pilates & Yoga at home, which is a library of classes to help get you moving, with short 10 minute mobility sessions, 15 minute Pilates Blast, beginners strength training, gentle mobility, full Pilates and Yoga classes. I also work with people one to one either in person at my home studio in Springburn, or online. Full details can be found at www.iamjenwilson.com/move