Moving our bodies benefits us in so many ways, both physically and mentally. Usually, when we think of moving for our health, we think of exercise, and exercise can be a huge turn-off to a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.
Some people find it difficult to make time in their schedule to get to the gym or pool. Exercise and yoga classes may conflict with other responsibilities, and there may be financial barriers that keep people from participating as well. Other barriers that can keep people from getting enough exercise are chronic pain, fatigue, depression, and other physical and emotional issues.
Not only are their barriers to getting enough exercise, there are expectations as well. If we aren't able to do the things that we feel like we should be doing, we can end up with feelings of disappointment, depression, guilt, and more. These negative feelings can then add to the things that keep us from exercising and taking better care of ourselves in the first place.
So, how about we stop trying to exercise?
What if we just move more.
Is Not Moving Really a Problem?
The human body is not designed to sit all day. Our physical and biological structure was designed to move and be active. In fact, there are some body systems, like the circulation of blood and lymph, that depend on the movement of muscles to function properly.
Formal exercise used to be the recommendation from physicians and fitness experts. Now, new research and a better understanding of fitness has shown that simple movements like walking, muscle movements, standing, and changing positions throughout the day can provide all the health benefits and more as working out in a gym for a period of time then spending the rest of the day being inactive.
How Moving Helps
Moving our bodies every day is important for maintaining our mental health as well as our physical strength. Your mind and body are intimately connected. While your mind is the central control system for your body’s movement, the way you move can and does affect how you think and feel.
Moving your body gets your heart beating and your blood flowing. Increasing your blood flow helps feed your cells and removes waste and toxins from your body.
The lymphatic system is our body’s way to detoxify, nourish, and regenerate tissue, filter metabolic waste, and keep our immune system functioning properly. In order to work, lymphatic fluid must move through the body. This lymphatic fluid relies on the movement of our muscles in order to circulate.
Even if it seems counter-intuitive, physical activity delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your day.
Physical activity releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain that cause you to feel happier and more relaxed. Moving your body is a simple way to boost your confidence, improve your self-esteem, and reduce stress.
Digestion and Elimination
Did you know that your intestines are a muscle? Moving other muscles around your intestines, like the abdominal muscles, helps to keep them tone and fit. And the improved circulation we experience when we move improves intestinal circulation, which helps us to stay more regular. Digestive regularity helps our body to rid itself of toxins more effectively.
Physical activity has been proven to be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and a wide range of mental health issues. In many cases, physical activity, walking, yoga, and mindfulness can be more effective than medications.
Throughout the day...
Walk - Walking is a full body workout. Not only are you using all the muscles in your legs, you are also moving the pelvic muscles, abdomen, upper and lower back, shoulders, arms, and neck. You can do it virtually anywhere, and it’s free.
Take the stairs - Climbing stairs uses all the same muscles as walking, and burns more calories per minute than jogging. Whenever possible, use the stairs.
Park a little farther away - If you park in an empty spot closest to a store entrance, you might only walk 20 steps to the front door. Parking at the far edge of the lot could mean you take 200 strides or more.
Sit up straight and grab one hand with the other. Press your palms together hard for five seconds, then release. Repeat at least four times. Next, straighten one of your lower legs so it’s parallel to the floor, then lower it, switching back and forth between legs for as long as you can do it.
Exercise your calf muscles while standing - Place your feet flat on the floor, then rise up onto the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds, then sink down. Repeat 20, 30, 50 or more times. Do this also while washing dishes or standing in line.
At the Office...
Talk standing - Whenever talking on the telephone, stand up and if possible, walk or pace. Never be seated while chatting on the phone.
Get face-to-face at work - Instead of emailing or calling colleagues, walk to their part of the building for some face time when you need to ask a question or solve a work issue.
The Role of Hypnosis
David Spiegel, a psychologist at Stanford, describes hypnosis as the feeling of living in the moment without feeling self-conscious about your behavior. “You do shift into a different kind of brain function when you go into a hypnotic state,” he says. “It helps you focus your attention so you’re not thinking about other things, you have better control what’s going on in your body, and you’re less self-conscious.”
The power in this is that our heightened suggestibility can make us perceive something as either better or worse than it actually is. Medical professionals often unintentionally increase a patient’s pain by simply suggesting that a procedure will hurt. When we’re in that place of suggestibility, our brains can change our perception of an event based purely on suggestion.
If you just can’t find the motivation to get up and move, hypnosis can help you by giving you the suggestion that you want to move, and you are looking forward to moving more. These suggestions, in this hypnotic state, become your reality. Hypnotic suggestions can help If you find yourself stuck in patterns of unhealthy eating, emotional eating, and binge eating by eliminating the mental blocks that are getting in your way and creating a craving for the healthy foods and activities, It’s even possible to create aversions to some foods, making them completely unappealing.
Another way that hypnosis helps is by reducing stress. Stress puts an incredible strain on your mind and body, and uses a considerable amount of resources. Reducing stress frees up energy for moving more and staying healthier.∎
Karen Gray is a Certified Professional Hypnotist, a Certified Hypnosis Instructor, a Registered Nurse, and the Director of Green Mountain Hypnosis. For more information on how you can use hypnosis to change your life, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (802) 566-0464.
Use this link to get a free 15 minute hypnosis audio for stress relief.