We all know that moving is good but do you know why?
We've all heard the saying, 'if you rest your rust', or 'if you don't use it, you lose it'. My own mum is testament to that. At 81, she is still fit and healthy and pretty spritely too. Until recently she walked every week in the beautiful Mourne Mountains. Unfortunately, her lifelong friend doesn't have the same stamina and can no longer manage the steeper treks and so they're now walking in more flat terrain. However, when I'm over visiting we will go down to the mountains of Mourne and do a lower mountain walk and mum is still able to hop from rock to rock if we cross a stream. I aspire to be like my mum at her age.
So, why is it so important to keep moving?
Well, it's simple. Movement is not only good for our physical health but also our mental health. Regular exercise keeps our joints lubricated. And, it actually keeps our muscles and internal tissue lubricated too. Each time we flex a muscles we are creating an internal pump which helps with blood circulation and encourages fluid movement. This internal muscle pump stimulates action in our lymphatic system, our fluid waste system, which also forms part of our immune system. So, when you're feeling unwell and want to lie down and sleep, it's actually better to do some gentle exercise to improve your immunity. You can have a wee snooze afterwards. You will feel better for it.
Exercise and movement in general is also better for your mental health. It can improve your mood and help you sleep better. Certainly, I can personally say that any time I've been through a challenging stage in life, whether that be personally or professionally, I find that getting outside for a long walk will help give me some clarity by giving me some distance from the issue. Being able to swing my arms, take in deep breaths and look around me will always make me feel much better, physically and psychologically. Big problems feel less problematic and I can think through 'stuff' better.
Generally, nowadays, people sit an awful lot more than every before. Technology has made it that we don't have to move from our chair or sofa to do anything. We don't need to get up to turn the TV over anymore. There are now apps that will manage our heating systems, we can talk to a gadget to order food, music and organise our shopping. I'm pretty sure that someone could actually live their life by not having to physically go outside for anything. While for some people who are agoraphobic, that is wonderful, for someone healthy though, it's not great for their future lifespan. The human body was designed to move. Not sit around all day just using their hands or voice to organise their lives.
Advances in medicine has meant that people are able to live longer but I'd rather be proactive in keeping my life longevity by natural means, rather than medically. Wouldn't you?
So, what movement do you do? Do you go walking, running or swimming? Are you a gym bunny? Do you do pilates or yoga? Do you go for bike rides?
If you're not into any of the above, here are my recommendations on how you can increase your movement:
If you commute, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
Consider cycling or walking to the shop, instead of driving.
If you work behind a desk, try to get up every hour and walk, shaking your arms.
Also, if you're working in a static position, wriggle your toes and paddle your feet so you're moving your calf muscles.
Walk up stairs instead of using an escalator or lift.
Try an new exercise, something you haven't done before.
At the weekend, find a forest park, or some outside space and go for an 60min walk.
I'm pretty sure that once you get into a routine, your'll not only feel better in yourself but that you'll sleep better and generally feel happier. Go on, give it a go.
If you'd like any advice on how movement can benefit your general health and well-being, don't hesitate to get in touch.
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