Movement really matters!
I have always known how important movement is to my own health and well-being. I know I just feel better having moved my body, and if I don't move enough in the day, I can really feel it. It negatively affects my mood and pain levels. The thing to remember is that movement does not need to be 'exercise' in the traditional sense. It can be anything that requires full range of movement of as many joints and muscles as possible. If we spend all our time sitting, our joints and muscles adapt and then when we ask them to move more than 90 degrees, they are not happy!
Our bodies are designed to move. They are not designed to sit in cars and at desks for 8-10 hours a day like so many of us have to do for our work. If we don't move our bodies in many different ways, we soon lose the ability to do so without finding pain or restriction if we do need to make a certain unfamiliar movement.
The NHS website says a bit about movement for health:
There's strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia.
If you want to stay pain-free, reduce your risk of mental illness, and be able to go out and stay independent well into old age, you're advised to keep moving.
Recent evidence suggests that regular exercise can reduce the risk of falling in older adults.
We should be bending, twisting, reaching, jumping, crawling, rolling and carrying on a regular basis to maintain good muscle and joint function. But how can we do this if we are spending so much time sitting? Well, it will take some effort, but there are ways to do it. Little and often is the key, so this should make it easier to find the time.
Activities like washing your car, vacuuming your house, gardening and decorating or DIY all require good movement, and can give you a sense of achievement as well. Walking/running/cycling in nature have all sorts of physical and mental health benefits and don't require a lot of equipment. Dancing is a great way to have fun and keep fit at the same time. Mindful movement meditation activities, such as Tai Chi, QiGong, and Yoga are excellent for improving overall health and decreasing stress levels. Find activities that you enjoy and try not to outsource all movement activities to other people if at all possible.
As I have continued learning about bodies and movement and how to help clients, I have discovered some amazing experts with great resources available for all. You just need the time and motivation to learn for yourself.
Here are just a few of my favourite information websites/resources. Dive in and explore for yourself.
An internationally recognized biomechanist, author, and science communicator, Katy Bowman has both the skill and passion for reintroducing movement into people’s everyday lives.
There is a huge amount of information on this website, and you might have to spend a bit of time navigating it, but once you find something of interest, it will be worth it. She also has written numerous books - there is bound to be one that you find interesting.
Natural movement is for everyone. And you can get started at any age, ability, or fitness level – whether you have a gym membership, live close to nature, or neither.
The truth is natural movement comes naturally to all humans, but efficient movement does not. That’s why this page is loaded with beginner-friendly movement workouts that are fun, challenging, and scalable to all ability levels so that you can start feeling and moving better today.
Better Movement includes almost two hundred free articles that discuss the science of movement and pain. They contain information that is evidence-based, practical, and often directly contrary to mainstream advice.