Teach Your Body to Crave Movement
When it comes to movement and exercise, you want to teach your body to crave movement so you can create a habit. When you crave it, it’s no longer a chore and your body wants more. After all, we are designed to move in all sorts of ways, so get exploring!
Stress, hard work, sitting and/or studying for hours creates tension in the body, which can lead to chronic aches, tightness, constipation and fatigue. Many people try to alleviate these symptoms with alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, which only serve to dampen their unease and anesthetize the body. Movement is actually the best way to release a build-up of physical tension.
How do I develop an exercise routine?
- Developing a regular movement/exercise program to suit your particular lifestyle will have numerous rewards. The challenge is to find the types of movement/exercises you enjoy most, and then build them into your life, one degree at a time. Grab a friend and try some new forms of movement, then work the ones you enjoy most into your week.
- Start off slowly and comfortably. Allow time for your body to get used to moving again like you did when you were young. When beginning a new movement routine, start with 4-5 repetitions for a week, then build up. Or if you decide to start hiking, choose beginner trails or hike for only 30 minutes a number of times before you take on more difficult or longer hikes. Building up slowly is the key.
- You should feel refreshed when you finish. If you become sore, back up and take it slower. Movement should be fun and energize you, not leave you sore and exasperated.
- Give it time and don’t give up. Consider giving yourself six to seven weeks to incorporate movement into your daily routine. Observe how you feel and how your body reacts to certain types of movement.
- Lastly, track yourself. Tracking your movement will help you set realistic goals and give you accountability. You can then learn if you are consistent enough or need to change the pace of your routine.
What type of movements will work best for me?
Think about what you loved to do as a kid. Did you love to dance, bike, swim, take long walks or hike? Did you enjoy sports? This is a good place to start when looking for a new routine.
Listen to your body!
- Know that movement is a lot like food. Once you understand how different types of movement nourish your body in different ways, you can put together a menu of activities to keep yourself in balance. Change or alter your movement routine each day so you cover all muscles.
- Feeling tired all the time? Are you eating nourishing foods that energize your brain and body, or are you consuming a lot of sugar and carbohydrates? Both of these addictive substances only give you a short-lived energy boost….then a few hours later….you are drained and want more. This is a vicious cycle that drains your body.
- Feeling overwhelmed or unfocused? Try a vigorous exercise to make you feel stable and powerful like kickboxing, jogging or running. Just 10 minutes of consistent energetic movement can awaken the brain for hours.
- Feeling tight or tense? Try holistic sensory movement to increase flexibility, agility and stability or consider swimming or yoga or Piyo. This is a slower, more precise form of movement that targets specific areas that need stretching or conditioning.
What’s your personality type?
- If you are a quiet person who likes a lot of alone time, consider buying a small trampoline, a set of hand weights or CD’s so you can move in the comfort of your home.
- If you like being around groups of people, you can find team sports like baseball or volleyball, which have the added benefit of human interaction and fun competition.
- You can also find a blend of the two by taking a group fitness class like Pilates, NIA, karate, or dance.
When do you feel most energetic?
Do you think more clearly in the morning or more clearly at night? Some people prefer to exercise first thing in the morning, while others prefer to exercise later in the day. Notice I didn’t say at night–less benefit in the evening. Either way, there’s no right or wrong; it’s simply a matter of personal preference. Just make sure you find something that you really enjoy and be consistent with your plan so you will continue with it.
Think about convenience and comfort level.
Perhaps you’re one who likes the gym. Consider looking for a gym or yoga studio near your home or on the way to the office where you can work out. It’s important to find a location that’s convenient, and where the atmosphere is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming. This will enhance your chances of going regularly. The goal is to develop a habit of consistency so your body begins to crave movement!
- Remember, physical activity can take simple and modest forms, like getting off the subway or bus one stop earlier and walking to your destination.
- It can be taking the stairs, instead of the elevator, to your office or apartment.
- It can be taking your dog (or even your neighbor’s dog) for a walk or your children to the park. A 30-minute brisk walk every day may be all you need to keep yourself in shape and your brain charged.
Be experimental and find a fun routine you can nourish yourself with and crave on a daily basis. ENJOY learning new ways to move your body the way it was designed to move…freely and comfortably!
Cathy lives in Roanoke, Virginia and specializes in supporting families who desire to change their relationship with health–the way they eat, feel and live. She is a certified Health Coach & Educator with a strong passion for supporting each client in their journey to feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic. Cathy presents workshops online and locally and regularly talks about real food, fitness, natural living, and all things ADHD.
Cathy is the creator of the Holistic Wellness Academy, an online training platform that will soon provide other wellness advocates a place to share their expertise with their clients so they too can learn how to eat smart, move more, feel better and live longer.
Modified from an Institute for Integrative Nutrition handout. Used with permission.