Enjoying a vibrant life is more attainable than you think. There are only three things you need to do each day to make sure you have the energy and strength to do the things you love.
- Sleep well
- Eat healthy
- Move more
Lately I have been talking a lot about sleeping and eating well and I hope it has inspired you to create better resting and eating routines. The third piece in the puzzle to creating a vibrant live is to keep your body moving.
The opposite of moving
The opposite of moving is not moving. “Thank you Georgia for that incredibly deep insight!” I know, that was genius! But, despite this being totally obvious, I wanted to mention it to make an important point. Moving regularly is good and the opposite is not so good.
When we were kids most of us were told to “sit still” and to “stop moving about so much!” Kids move a lot! They’re excited by life and it’s wonderful to watch, unless you’re a teacher. But as adults it’s too easy to get into routines that slow us down way too much. And it has both short and long term effects.
What is one of your main associations with elderly people? One of mine is how they move in small, shuffling steps. They have trouble getting in and out of a chair and need help getting up a few stairs. All these things are primarily a result of accumulated weakness and loss of flexibility, which happens as you age. What causes these changes? Usually it’s a result of gradually becoming more sedentary, which literally means staying seated or keeping still. In other words “not moving”.
One part of ageing we can control
Fortunately this is one part of the ageing process that we can control. Some people spend a lot of money on slowing down (or trying to reverse) other aspects of the ageing process, while ignoring regular movement.
If you would describe your current lifestyle as a little too “sedentary” then it’s time to get moving again. Many of us spend too much time seated at our desks, in cars, on trains and busses. And in many ways it is hard to change if that’s the routine of our daily life. But even if this is our routine, there are ways we can become more active without having to make a huge commitment to an exercise routine. By all means, commit to regular exercise if you can, but we should all commit to incidental exercise for our own vitality.
Incidental movement (or exercise) is basically the exercise you get in small bite-size chunks that build up over your day. The aim is to move more than you did last week and continue to increase your daily activity. Here are a few examples.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Get off one station early and walk the rest of the way.
- Get out of the office during lunch and go for a walk.
- While you’re watching the kids in the bath do some body weight resisted exercises; squats x 20, calf raises x 20, lunges x 10 each leg, punching straight out in front x 20.
- If your favourite song comes on the radio, dance to it!
If you have an iPhone there’s a neat little app called ‘Health’, which tracks your steps. It’s very handy to use it to track and compare your movement each day.
And if you need even more convincing of the importance of moving, it also helps with memory, is good for your heart and leads to better sleep.
Now, where to start?
If it has been a while since you have done regular exercise start small and build up slowly. I believe the focus should be on getting your body moving so pick something that you enjoy doing and start incorporating it into your week. Walk, run, dance, swim … there are so many options.
Start monitoring how you’re feeling, how you’re sleeping and your energy levels instead of just watching the scales. These are the things that will keep you motivated to keep going and to continue to improve your vibrancy. It’s easier than you think, and a lot of fun too.