Recently, I have discussed my first three daily intentions are Journaling, Breathwork, and Meditation. All three of these intentions are centered around preparation for a day which adds to my list of balancing the “sympathetic, fight or flight” with the “parasympathetic, rest and digest.” Journaling allows for reflection and planning. Breathwork and Meditation also allow for the settling of the mind, body, and spirit. It is an attempt to take us from that hustle and bustle of the day and give our minds and body a chance to recover from both physical and mental stress. The next intention, Movement, which is intention #4 can be used for the same, but it also can be used for an attempt to gain cardiovascular health and even add strength and balance to our lives.
I reference movement as a focused and deliberate attempt to spend energy every day. Additionally, this would include finding ways to “expend energy, not conserve it.” This strategy is counterintuitive, as we live in a world where we are constantly seeking comfort. Whether it is looking for the closest parking space to park our car or using the escalator at the local mall, there are countless examples of how we often seek out ways to conserve energy and limit our movement. Looking for subtle ways to add movement to our daily schedules can be a great way to add health and fitness to our lives. This is certainly a paradigm shift for most individuals but can add to our health and fitness.
Certainly adding a walk several days a week is one way of adding movement, however, don’t discount the opportunity to carry or lift objects that can tax our muscles and help keep us toned, and helps increase strength. Try using a basket to carry items at a grocery store as opposed to using a cart when purchasing only a few items. You will likely find that there are a number of these types of opportunities every day. Rather than always defaulting to the easiest or most convenient option to complete a task, ask yourself is there a way that I can add a little extra movement to the task?
I do believe is important to consider movement in a different context than exercise. We will have a chance to discuss the benefits of exercise in more detail in a later article. Movement is generally less strenuous and certainly not as “scripted” as a detailed exercise program. Exercise tends to push our heart rates to a higher level than movement. I would suggest, it is important to consider your current fitness level, as even smaller amounts of movement can elevate heart rates for unfit individuals. Though both are important, I believe that for many individuals, adding daily movement can be a more “doable” strategy than starting with a rigorous exercise program.
In summary, I would suggest that you start by picking one common task that you perform on a daily or weekly basis and identify a way that you could add additional movement to that task. It is easier to add movement to a current task than to carve out time to add a new habit such as a walk around the block or track at your local high school. More time-consuming movement protocols can be added as you move forward.