If you are like me, you may struggle with me on adding movement into your life. Movement is something we seem to avoid at all costs in our current environment. Heaven forbid we actually get up to change the channel on the tv! Mowing the lawn used to be a good workout, now we ride those mowers. If we aren’t sitting at desks at work, we seem to be sitting at a table or on a couch using a computer or a smartphone. Don’t forget, I am right there with you; that is what I am doing now! So how do we get movement into our lives?
I am big on saying “make small changes that have a big impact on your health”. Movement is one change you can make, if you aren’t there yet. Many of us really try to get some movement into our lives. Perhaps we park a little farther away (when it isn’t raining), perhaps we try to walk the dogs (if the weather is nice), or maybe even go to the gym a couple hours a week. Is that enough? Some people use a “fitbit” type device or an iPhone app to see how many steps they take in a day, but our expectations are pretty low. I am not trying to shame anyone, it is just our life now.
How we can incorporate movement into our lives:
Decide to make a change.
It all starts with a value change and a decision. Decide to try to incorporate something into your life that you just don’t have enough of. Many of us need a reason to make a change. I would rather that reason be because you decided taking care of yourself was a priority than it be because you had a health crisis. Don’t wait for a health crisis. I am here to tell you that you can feel amazing at any age, don’t listen to those voices that say “it’s because you are getting old”, don’t end up with “recliner-itis”. I’m not saying you won’t feel any affects of aging, I just don’t want you to buy into the “regular” way of living…it isn’t working for most people.
What you enjoy doing you will do often.
The second thing is to figure out what we actually enjoy doing. If we enjoy it, we have a better chance of actually doing it. Does gardening count? Absolutely!! Does cleaning the house count? Absolutely! (Come clean mine!) Square dancing? Even better! But it is even more valuable to have something active that you can put on a schedule. Why? Because if you don’t schedule it, you don’t do it. Something else will creep in. Habits are no-brainers, you just do them and don’t think about them. Developing the habit is the hardest work.
Some of the things I enjoy are lifting weights, biking, and hooping (yes, with a hula hoop!). The one thing I found I could do consistently to fit into my schedule is weight lifting. So I set a schedule for weight lifting, then I add the other things I enjoy when I feel like doing them. Adding them at different times makes them more of a treat, and I enjoy them more because I don’t “have” to do them, I already have the “to do” workouts done. But the “to do” workouts aren’t enough, we need to move more than three hours a week. If we walk three hours a week and sit or sleep 168 hours, you haven’t really balanced movement into your life.
If you clean houses for a living, or move vigorously in your job, you have it covered! You would actually need to balance that with more rest time. So it all depends on where you are now.
Start where you are, not where you think you are.
I am not suggesting you should grab your gear and run three miles when you haven’t even walked one mile in years. We all need to start where we are and make those small changes as we can. Then we can upgrade those changes as we go. You don’t have to do it all in one day, just start something and see if you like it enough to do it again…and again…and again. You won’t repeat it if you overdo it right off the bat.
Have the mindset of doing more.
In addition to my gym workouts, I enjoy walking my dogs, so I add it when I can. It adds more movement to my day that I won’t get the rest of the day when I am sitting.
I have read about people that do pushups during commercial breaks, when they watch tv. That probably won’t be me, but I usually get up and do one of the million things I need to do that takes about 4 minutes. That’s plenty of time to fold laundry, clean the kitchen counter, or make some tea (hey, at least I am moving!).
Start where you can.
Many people start with walking, especially if they haven’t done anything for a while. If you decide to make walking your movement, start with 15 minutes, at a pace that feels good to you. After you have done that for a while, up it to 20 or 25 minutes. Depending on how that feels you can just keep doing that or increase it. Also, see if it makes you feel better. For some of you, that is just a start, for others it will be all you can do; but you are doing something.
For those of you who are ready to “up your game”, look at what you are doing now and see what you can add.
It will help you want to do more. I have been doing research lately on Movenat and Parkour types of fitness and movement. Basically, they are meant to incorporate real movement into a person’s life. However, Parkour tend to be more of an extreme sport, but is so cool to watch. (Youtube Parkour and watch a couple videos, you will see how crazy that is!)
No, I don’t think you should take up either of these sports, but I love to be inspired by people who are extreme. You won’t see me jumping on playground equipment and jumping up to a picnic table, but you may see me playing on the monkey bars, or at least walking around the park; maybe I rode my bike there.
Take up ballroom dancing, or go swimming with your kids or grandkids. There is so much we can do. My mom used to walk the mall into her 80’s! My friend and I walked with her sometimes when I came for a visit…we were in our 40’s and still had to run to catch up with that woman! Her trick? She did it everyday for years.