Studies have shown that the way we move today can affect our health and how we move in the future. Biomechanics studies the mechanical movements of our bodies and helps us understand what makes us stronger mentally and physically, mobile, and flexible as we mature. There is a clear connection between our daily movement and our mental health.
“Humans evolved to move all the time, not to sit all day. However, given the constraints of desk jobs, moving all the time is not possible (though even short 10-min brisk walks are beneficial). This is why having a regular workout regimen is so critical. For example, multiple studies have shown the link between strength training and longevity,“ explains Michael Liu the Co-founder of Boostcamp.
What can exercise do for your mental and physical health? The most common piece of knowledge is that it can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your cholesterol and prevent coronary artery disease as well as heart attacks. Did you know that regular exercise can also help with sleep, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, your sex life, and energy levels?
Whether you are an active person or lead a sedentary lifestyle when you aren’t moving your body you may notice a shift in your health mentally and physically. Liu says ”I notice that my latent stress levels increase dramatically; I lose focus quickly and am more likely to binge on junk food,” These types of shifts can easily disrupt your overall health. According to a study in NBCI sedentary lifestyles can lead to chronic diseases which are slow and progress over time. The CDC also reports that 31 million adults age 50 and older are inactive which means they get no physical activity past daily living.
Although some of the statistics are bleak there is always an opportunity for change. When asked how do you encourage clients to prioritize their mind and body?
Michael suggests “Starting with small habits that you can build on. Follow workout programs that start easy and gradually get harder as you build habits and your body adapts to the new stimulus. There is no one-size-fits-all solution,”
Other ways you can start moving to improve your health for both your mind and body include:
- Taking a walk to the local store vs driving. Tip: Try adding a mindful meditation to increase the benefits.
- Make it a point to do things outdoors like gardening, playing with the kids, and even chores like raking the leaves. Being outside reminds us of our connection to nature reminding us of what is important. The physical action of outdoor play increases happy hormones known as serotonin and dopamine.
- Try to make time for regular exercise like a walk before breakfast or after dinner with the family. Making this a regular habit will offer consistency which in return offers results physically and mentally. The mental win is creating stronger bonds with loved ones, this can help increase your sense of belonging and purpose.
- Join a fitness class with your partner or some friends. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people. Meeting new people can increase your mood, confidence and reduce your risk of depression.
- Mix in simple stretches that will encourage movement on a regular basis and protect your body from injury. Stretching helps to reduce tension in your body that can also help alleviate any anxious feelings you might be having while stabilizing your mood.
It’s vital that you are patient with yourself especially if you are completely new to exercise and mindfulness. Changing your daily activity takes time but it’s better than no physical movement mental practice at all.
Remember that movement is not just about losing weight but it’s about creating longevity in your life inside and out.