Move Your Body: The Benefits of Daily Movement

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:

  • Rebounding
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Biking
  • Aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • 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!

  • Walking
  • AEROBICS
  • TREAD MILL
  • ROLLER BLADE
  • TAI CHI
  • SWIMMING
  • JOGGING
  • WATER AEROBICS
  • CYCLING
  • HIKING
  • KICK BOXING
  • MINI TRAMP (REBOUNDING)
  • TENNIS
  • YOGA
  • DANCING
  • POWER WALKING
  • RACQUETBALL
  • REBOUNDING
  • 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!

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Office Yoga: 10 Poses to Prevent Stiffness & Fatigue While at Work

office yoga overhead stretch

Are you stuck at a desk or chair for long periods of time during the day? I’m going to show you some office yoga that you can do to prevent stiffness and improve your overall health.

If you are a visual learner and would enjoy a video tutorial, I have filmed the process and offer it for FREE on my youtube station.

Play Video

Moving your body throughout the day is VITAL for your health.

If you work in one position all day long, whether sitting, standing, or otherwise, it’s important to understand how gravity is negatively affecting your health when you are sedentary. You’ve all heard the phrase, “Sitting is the New Smoking,” well there is a lot to be said about that.

Statistics show the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

  • obesity
  • increased blood pressure
  • high blood sugar
  • excess body fat around the waist
  • abnormal cholesterol
  • metabolic syndrome
  • cardiovascular disease and cancer

There are a few good references I want to refer you to regarding MOVEMENT.

Joan Vernikos. Here is a good youtube watch when you have some time. VERY INFORMATIVE!

Books:

Websites:

 

 


I know, it can be so easy to get wrapped up in your work. Before long, time has gone by (1-2 hours) and you are still sitting at your desk. This is NOT GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELBEING! However, there are some things you can do to help break up those sitting spells.

SIMPLY GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF THE CHAIR and do a little office yoga.

 

Here are 10 office yoga poses that you can easily do at the office/ or at home to keep you moving and feeling great.

1-   Overhead Reach & Stretch

  • Simply inhale and bring both hands out to the side and over your head.
  • Exhale, let your hands drop back down to your side.
  • Repeat 3-4 times

BENEFITS: Stretches the arms and shoulders. Leaves you feeling energized and grounded.

Extending your arms out to the side and over your head does more than stretch your body.

What do winning athletes do when they experience the thrill of victory? They throw their arms in the air in a “V” shape and raise their chins. Even people who are blind from birth instinctively use this posture when they win. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard, has studied the effects of posture on the mind.

 

It’s almost impossible to not to feel an improvement in mood by taking your hands over your head. It really does make you feel good. TRY IT!

2-      Tabletop/ Modified Downdog

  • Stand up and place hands of table or desk in front of you
  • Step back and bend knees a lot
  • Pull your hips back so your arms are straight and legs bent!
  • DO NOT STRAIGHTEN LEGS!

BENEFITS: Stretches your back, legs and neck. Opens your chest, massages abdominal muscles and increases circulation to head and makes you feel soooo good!

3-      Modified Plank Pose

  • From downdog, lower hips down and forward to a plank position.
  • Keep back straight or lower hips lower to create an arch in the back. (optional)
  • Move back into downdog.
  • Repeat as many times as you like.

BENEFITS: Stretches calf muscles, ankles and back

4-      Seated Forward Bend

  • From a seated position, fold forward sliding hands down the legs to the floor.
  • If you can’t reach the floor, hold onto your legs.
  • Drop your head completely
  • Take a few breaths there.
  • Inhale and roll back up to a seated position.
  • Repeat

BENEFITS: Massages pelvic organs, calms the nervous system, and increases blood flow to the brain, sinuses and face. Stretches the spine.

5-      Heel Lifts

  • In a seated position with both feet flat on the floor, simply lift heels off the floor.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

BENEFITS: Creates circulation to feet and legs.

 

6-      Foot flex & leg lifts

  • In a seated position, slide one foot on the floor out in front of you.
  • Flex that foot and lift leg up off the floor to hip height.
  • Lower foot back to down to the floor and then slide foot back towards you.
  • Repeat on the other leg.
  • Do 3-4 reps on each leg.

BENEFITS: Stretches calf and ankles. Activates and tones the quads.

7-      Seated side stretch

  • While sitting in the chair, INHALE and reach left arm out to the side and then overhead.
  • Continue reaching to the right until you achieve a wanted stretch on the side of your body.
  • Stay there for a few breaths and then when EXHALING, release the arm back down to your side.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Do several reps on each side

BENEFITS: Stretches the side body, arms and shoulder

8-      Neck release (hand shake myofascial release)

This is an AWESOME office yoga exercise to release the fascial tissue in the arm, neck and shoulder; which affects the range of motion in your neck and upper torso.

  • Without moving your body, turn your head to the left and notice your range of motion.
  • Take the left fingers with your right hand and SHAKE the fingers with your right hand vigorously for about 10-20 seconds!
  • Pull and shake the left thumb now. (Yep, I know you are thinking this is weird stuff) Just wait!!!
  • Now take your right hand up to your LEFT EAR and start rubbing the front of the rim of your ear. (Rub vigorously between fingers.
  • Continue rubbing around the whole rim of your ear ending with the earlobe.
  • Now take that earlobe and give it a good shake, pulling it away from your head. (STAY WITH ME)
  • Relax your hands in your lap and look to the LEFT again to check your range of motion.

Ta-dah! It’s like magic!!!!

Did you notice a difference?

Yep, crazy I know, but it WORKS!!!!

BENEFITS: Releases neck tension and improves neck mobility

9-      Knee curls & twist

  • While sitting in a chair, bring your RIGHT knee towards your chest and your forehead towards your knee. EXHALE.
  • Lower knee but keep a hold of the knee with the LEFT arm.
  • Take your right arm and open it out to the side and reach back behind you.
  • This will create a nice twist and stretch.
  • Repeat on the other side.

BENEFITS: Stretches spine. Stimulates internal organs in the mid-body.

10-   Stand and sit/ butt lifts

  • Start in a seated position, and then simply STAND UP AND SIT BACK DOWN.
  • Repeat 5-10 times.

If you can’t stand up because you are in a meeting, in a car or don’t have the mobility, NO WORRIES!

You can still fire up those same muscles by doing it this way.

  • Press your feet into the floor and act as if you are going to stand up, but don’t.
  • Do 5-10 reps.

By doing this, you should feel your glutes, hamstrings, calves and quads fire up as if you were really standing up.

Can you feel it?

This is another exercise that is great to do in the car or airplane when you have to sit for long periods of time and can’t get up.

You’ll be surprised how much energy it really takes to pretend to stand up. LOL.

BENEFITS: Activates muscles in the legs & glutes. Great for circulation.


There you have it!

No excuses for not moving your body while at work. Do some office yoga!

YOU GOT THIS!

Keep Moving & Smiling!

Join me for other yoga videos and tutorials on my YouTube station.

You may also be interested in these previous Yoga posts.

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Rebounding Demo

It’s not every day that I take JUST ANYONE into my closet, or be on film first thing in the morning. But as I was enjoying the beautiful sun shining into this space, and was feeling good, I thought I would film a spontaneous rebounding demo.  This is just a quick demonstration of how easy it is and some different things you can do on this little miniature trampoline that is SO HEALTHY FOR YOU!

Why is it so good for you?

  • Weight Loss
  • Strengthen & Tone Muscle
  • Healthy Joints & Bones
  • Balance & Agility
  • Improved Circulation
  • Stress Management
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Increased Endurance
  • Decreased Fat & Cellulite
  • Toxin Elimination
  • Boost Immune Health
  • Reduced Back Pain
  • Heart Health
  • Firm Sagging Skin
  • Massages Internal Organs
  • Stimulate the Lymphatic System
  • Digestion & Elimination

Some of you may be thinking, there is no way I could get on a trampoline, let alone jump on one. Most of the rebounder brands have a support bar that you can attach to the rebounder that allows you to have something to hold onto. You don’t even have to jump, just little bounces will be effective. You can even sit and bounce, like I show in the video.

Now this isn’t just a mini trampoline that you buy for kids to play on, it is called a REBOUNDER. A rebounder is more firm and supports the joints a lot better than a flimsy mini tramp. There are several models out there to choose from. I prefer the Cellerciser, Neekak, Bellicon. Here is a link that you can go to for reviews on the different kinds that are out there.

I know it may sound like a lot of money to spend, but when you think about your health and well being, isn’t it worth it? Shoot, you may be spending that much on medications, gym memberships, or other stuff that is not doing anything to improve your health. This is worth the investment, believe me!

I have more information on a previous post, that you can check out here. You may also be interested in a few other things that you can implement into your daily routine for health.

Here is the demo.

Seriously, I love rebounding and hope you will too!

If you already rebound, tell us what it does for you or any other tips you want to share. Would love to hear them!

If you have questions, comment below.

Bouncy, Bounce!

jan

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