Daily movement of some kind is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. I have always thought that exercise was important, but the older I get the more I find this to be TRUE based on experience.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or attend an aerobics class every day, I’m talking movement. The human body is designed to move, not stay still for hours at a time.
I’m not sure where I heard this, but I love the analogy. “Just as running water does not freeze, moving muscle and joints will not either!”
It is so true! I work with a lot of seniors and I have seen firsthand how simple movement can improve the way one feels physically and emotionally. Once you start moving every day, you are going to notice a big difference! On the days you skip, you’ll feel the tension and tightness start to creep in again.
I even advise people who experience arthritis, to not baby that joint, but to gently keep it moving. Movement will help improve and keep range of motion. The less we move, the more limited we will be.
What are the benefits of daily movement and exercise?
- Improves your mood
- Combats chronic diseases
- Helps you manage your weight.
- Strengthens your heart and lungs
- Can put the spark back into your sex life
- Promotes better sleep
- Can be — gasp — fun!
- Maintain optimal weight
- Gives you energy
- Better memory
- Has been found to lower the risk of health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s
Unlike the blood circulatory system, which is pumped by the heart, the lymphatic system relies on the contraction of muscles to drain the lymphatic wastes back into the bloodstream via lymph nodes.
Exercise will help you stay well by helping your lymphatic system out. It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you do, all that matters is that you MOVE YOUR BODY and do it daily!
Studies show exercise to not only help us physically but it helps us maintain mental fitness as well. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which in turn cause us to have what is commonly known as a “natural high” or a “runners high”.
Psychological Benefits of movement
- Helps with depression
“Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also releases endorphins; powerful chemicals in your brain that energize your spirits and make you feel good”.
- Reduces Anxiety
- Lowers stress
Are all types of exercise good for everyone?
Absolutely not! You have to find what works for you and what makes you feel good.
Years ago, after being diagnosed with a particular autoimmune condition and finding that running and aerobics were too harsh on my body system; I had to find another way to move my body. After trying my first yoga class, I was hooked and have been doing it ever since. It has helped me immensely on my path back to health and vitality. For me, I had to find a more gentle approach to move my body.
The Webster Dictionary defines ‘remedy’ as: a medicine, application, or treatment that relieves or cures a disease. I consider exercise to be just that, a “remedy”.
There are three types of exercise the body needs; Cardiovascular, Strength Training (Muscular Strength & Endurance), and Flexibility Training (stretching).
Cardiovascular Exercise involves continuous, rhythmic movements of large-muscle groups, such as:
- Pickle ball (my new love)
Ideally, this needs to be done 3-5 days a week.
Strength Training, sometimes called weight training or resistance training decreases the risk of osteoporosis and maintains muscle mass and function. Alternate these exercises with your cardio workouts and make sure to get all muscle groups to keep your body balanced.
Flexibility Training will help with the ability to move the joints through their full range of motion. Pain free, flexible joints are important to good health and lifestyle. Inactivity causes us to become stiff and inflexible. It is amazing how fast you can lose range of motion.
Stiffness leads to improper posture that can lead to muscle imbalance, which causes a lot of other problems. An example of a great flexibility program is yoga.
I LOVE yoga! Flexibility exercises can be done daily and should be done at least 2-3 days per week. If you stretch just once a week, you will never progress, but always feel like you are just catching up.
Listen to your body
Some days you may wake up and not feel like doing anything, let alone exercising. Maybe you feel achy, or you just don’t feel right. Those are the days you need to do something. Maybe it will be just a little stretching, or a short walk, but move your body in some way.
The only time I can honestly say that I didn’t feel good after exercising was when I attended a vigorous yoga class at the onset of the flu. It was a little too much for my system, when I should have been resting. Other than that, I have ALWAYS felt great both physically and mentally after moving my body.
People of all ages and abilities, and sizes can exercise.
Some may feel that their health is too compromised to be able to do any kind of exercise. They may be thinking “I’m too fat”, “I’m not flexible enough”, “my body is too achy”, “I don’t have enough energy,” or “I have bad knees.” and on and on. I want you to know that we can all do something! Even if you are in a wheelchair, and have a very limited ability to move, there are ways to adapt. Exercises can be modified and diluted to fit your needs at ANY AGE! My oldest student is almost 101 years old.
Adapt the exercise to fit your needs
I teach a class at the senior center in my community where I show them how to use a chair to support themselves while doing exercises and yoga poses. Despite their limitations, they can do amazing things. I have seen them improve dramatically both physically and mentally!
You can watch several of my live chair yoga classes on my YouTube station. Check them out HERE.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to anyone else. We all have different bodies, different lifestyles, and different experiences. If you have limitations, it is easy to become frustrated, trust me I know. Do not get discouraged, accept where you are at and enjoy what you CAN do!
Each time you exercise you will feel different. One day you might have a lot of energy and on other days you may not. Adjust accordingly and do what feels good.
Choose a form of movement you enjoy!
- TREAD MILL
- ROLLER BLADE
- TAI CHI
- WATER AEROBICS
- KICK BOXING
- MINI TRAMP (REBOUNDING)
- POWER WALKING
- PICKLE BALL
Improve your health one healthy habit at a time!
Start today, CHOOSE to do something for yourself, no one can exercise for you. By exercising you will not only help yourself, but those you associate with and love will benefit, as you release stress, improve health and enjoy your life more fully!