Prioritizing Movement

Have you been caught in the “I’ll just start on Monday” cycle? The never ending diet and fitness goals pending on lists of things we will do eventually when we have the time or energy to dedicate to it. These thoughts can be discouraging and overwhelming, which may be drawing you further from your goals.

Prioritizing Movement

Many individuals observe the fitness industry overflowing with misinformation, full of just “take this pill”, “cut this out”, “do this exercise to get your dream body”. The mainstream media has demonstrated an unrealistic way for health and wellness to be a part of your life. So why do so many of our thoughts around caring for our body, mirror the mainstream narrative? What would happen if we challenged what it means to be healthy?

Addressing current expectations and goals regarding health and fitness is a vital starting point. There is an association with the word “exercise” to mean a focus on high intensity workouts or cardio. If everyone sits around waiting for the motivation to pick up an interest or desire for raising your heart rate over 130bpm, while dripping in sweat at 5am, you may be waiting awhile. Although this may be the someone else’s routine, it is not the only way to live a healthy lifestyle.

The key is consistency, finding something attainable and realistic to your current schedule that allows you to begin increasing your daily movement. Adjusting your expectations for what you identify as exercise.

What is the difference between movement and exercise?

Movement encompasses any kind of intentional physical activity that is a break from sedentary activities. Movement includes exercise, however it also includes stretching, walking, gardening, chores, and so much more. Functional movement is a form of optimizing your bodies coordination and endurance to complete tasks of daily living without pain or discomfort. When increasing movement is the goal each day, there is no longer guilt for not making it to the gym. Seeking health only within the confines of exercise, limits how often we are going to engage in the activity.

What kinds of movement will improve my health?

  • Outdoor walks – prioritize at least 15-30 minutes of walking outside in the morning to soak up some sunshine, or a walk after eating dinner, can be a great way to decompress or reduce overstimulation.
  • Stretching – Lengthening your spine, stretching major joint and muscle groups (hips, shoulders, ankles, etc) and increasing range of motion through movements that promote reducing tension, can significantly decrease physical pain or discomfort in the body.
  • Washing vehicle – as warmer weather approaches finding ways to spend time outside can be a great way to get in movement without needing to go to the gym. Whether by yourself or with a buddy, an old school car wash with some music playing can be a great to get endorphins flowing.
  • Gardening – spending some time crouching over a pot of flowers, dirt in your hands, and catching some sunshine, can be more intense on your body than a workout. Gardening and spending time with the sights, smells, and feelings of nature can be a great grounding tool to reduce anxious or depressive thoughts or feelings.
  • Spring cleaning – make a list of the chores that will help brighten your space for summer. Some of these may be deep cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floors, vacuuming, flipping the mattress, etc. Put on some music and see how far down the list you can get. You will work up a sweat in no time, and you will find yourself with a clean home as a result.
  • Dance – In the kitchen, in the driveway, in the rain, find ways to let loose and just dance. Whether it’s to your favorite song, or with your favorite person, dancing around without a care in the world can harness some of that childlike joy we often overlook.

These are just some of the ways you can begin incorporating movement into your daily life. Your body is capable of so much, and movement is one of the best reminders of how much our bodies are capable of handling. Prioritizing movement is one of the best ways to reduce negative symptoms regarding mental health, all while showing your body the love it deserves. Traditional exercise does not have to be the only way to live a healthy lifestyle; sometimes the most enjoyable movement can be found in your own backyard.

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