If you have ever lived with physical pain, low energy or mobility restrictions you know it is not a fun way to live.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Regardless of your current physical condition there is a gateway to get started that is enjoyable and stimulating. I like to think of movement as medicine.
Even during periods of experiencing physical pain or low energy in my life I still found a way to move, albeit in lower dosages and more gentler approaches.
Staying physically active is a habit like any other and can be developed with consistent daily actions just like eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth. The results you are seeking are just a few action steps away. The good news is moving your body daily will have exponential effects on your over all well-being; physical, mental and emotional.
Key question to ask yourself
Where are you now? Where do you want to be?
And how do you bridge the gap? That’s where a coach can help. The beauty of physical activity is that it can always be adaptive, tailored, inclusive and energizing depending on your starting point and where you want to get to.
As a personal trainer, yoga teacher, wellness coach and mind-body specialist for over 30 years, I have witnessed beautiful transformations of people reclaiming their well-being from the inside out.
There is a way to move for everyone. May I share some ideas with you here?
Spring is in the air and I am witnessing more people waking up and wanting to get their bodies back in shape. Some are joining in on our FunFit classes, others are more drawn to yoga and some like the balance of both.
An inspiring woman in her sixties ready to reclaim her body...
As a dedicated client, we worked out and did yoga together regularly from 2014 to 2019. During that time, she experienced incredible results in her health and well-being : more energy, better posture, improved balance and strength, more mobility in her mid-back which meant her golf game was up to par and that made her happy.
Fast forward to March 2022 after a three year period of being less physically active she was ready to begin again. During that 3-year hiatus, she settled in to her well-earned retirement after being a successful entrepreneur for several decades. She took some time to travel and savor life. Throughout the pandemic, she sold her home and built a custom house designed for her new lifestyle. Along with her new life adjustments, her regular fitness routine got moved to the back burner. We reconnected in early March and were both super excited to get going and make her health a priority again.
She had gained weight, lost strength and flexibility and was eager to fit into her clothes better. She was committed to improving her strength and balance again and to drop 10 pounds. The great news is, muscle has memory and she is seeing results faster this time. After just four private sessions together in two weeks, she has already lost a few pounds and went from only being able to stand on one foot for 3 seconds to now over 30 seconds without wobbling. Her flexibility has improved, initially reaching her arms overhead was difficult, she can now extend her arms overhead with greater shoulder mobility and with less discomfort. She is now gearing up for her next golf trip and will be ready to perform at her best!
Our bodies are designed to move!
With over 600 muscles and miles of connective tissue (fascia) in our bodies, physical activity and daily movement is the key to resilience, energy and better quality of life. Fascia is the largest sensory organ in the body and responds poorly to too much sitting by getting disorganized and messy which leaves us feeling achy and cranky. Think of a tangled up spider web versus a freshly spun web – the shape is different, more symmetrical and functions better.
If you have ever had a massage and it felt like the therapist’s hands were encountering all kinds of speed bumps, crunchy spots or tender areas, these signals are often indicators of accumulated tension leading to restricted blood and oxygen flow within the muscles and connective tissue. The sensory nerves within this fascia system responds to stress whether that is beneficial stress from exercise or bad stress from being too much in our head or the stress of inactivity resulting in stiffer joints, constriction, heightened inflammation or pain.
Where does our energy come from?
Primarily from the health and resilience of our cells. To be healthier and happier, our cells need oxygen, water, nutrients and the ability to eliminate waste efficiently. A fit, resilient body has better circulation and oxygenation and more easily carries nutrients to the cells while optimally evacuating waste leading to greater vitality.
If your body is sending you signals of sluggishness, brain fog, achy joints, and not much spring in your step then thank your body for the message and get yourself into a healthier routine now.
A structured breathing practice like we do in yoga class combined with compressive postures help stimulate our inner organs and restore health or an invigorating walk in nature will also help offer benefits of better circulation and oxygen transport to the cells providing a healthier, happier outlook on life.
5 minutes of movement is easier than you might think
Besides yoga practices or workouts, I like to infuse movement into my day just before meal times since it makes it easy to remember: wall sits or squats in the kitchen, rebounding/shaking when I get up from my chair, and stretching when I wake up in the morning are a few ways of infusing 5 minutes of movement easily into already established daily routines.
Our cells and connective tissue also need good hydration to keep us looking and feeling youthful and vibrant. Start your day upon waking with two tall glasses of water and some rebounding/shaking or stretching, even just 5-10 minutes will stimulate better circulation throughout your body. Along with healthy nutrition, daily movement and rhythmic physical activity helps keep our bodies tuned up with a spring in our step, naturally energized and mentally sharp.
3 signs your body is ready for a tune up
1. The simplest of daily activities and movements are hard to do
You struggle to lift the 30-pound bag of dog food into your cart or car or you’ve stopped eating pickles because you can’t open the jar anymore.
Muscle strength is directly correlated to how you age, since you actually lose muscle mass the older you get, making you progressively weaker, says Barry Sears, PhD, author of the Zone Diet book series and president of the non-profit Inflammation Research Foundation in Peabody, MA. This isn’t destiny, however. You can increase your strength and build back some muscle mass.
Decreased hand grip strength may be linked to an increased loss of independence and possibly earlier death, says Maria Cole, an occupational therapist at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Framingham, MA. Don’t wait for your hands to become weak, she says. Using weights for forearm strengthening and hand exercises like squeezing a ball are easy ways to prevent weakness. A qualified personal trainer can help find exercises that work for you. Decreased grip strength is just one of the clues that our hands can tell us about our overall health.
2. Feels like too much effort
Going upstairs feels like hiking up a mountain.
You might chalk up your difficulty with stairs to bad knees or poor fitness (which can also be signs of premature aging) but a major reason that adults suddenly get uncoordinated or unable to do physical tasks can be due to muscle loss that comes with aging. Our muscle mass needs to be maintained with regular exercise just like having healthy teeth requires daily brushing. We just do it. Even 10 minutes of three to five exercises can make a difference such as: the wall sit, plank, the bridge pose, and rowing with rubber tubing.
Staying active by moving more and sitting less can help. One good exercise to do related to climbing stairs or walking better is getting up from a chair. If you sit at a desk all day, do this movement and try to limit the use of your hands 10-20 times a few times per day varying your speed to build muscle strength and power for climbing stairs.
3. Assess and be honest about where you stand
You catch a glance of your reflection or a picture of yourself and notice your hunched over poor posture.
Good posture allows our muscles, bones and inner organs to function at their best. Sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t just make your posture look bad. Constant hunching could lead to joint or spinal pain. The good news is once you start to fix your posture, you might notice that chronic pain goes away.
When we begin to balance out all the muscles in our body that are de-conditioned our pain goes away and we regain our zest for life. So instead of constantly reaching for an Advil and just treating the symptom, treat the root cause of the pain by giving your body a much needed tune-up.
When our car makes strange sounds or the dash board lights flash, we usually take it to the garage to have it looked at and repaired. Offer yourself the same attention. You’ll have this body way longer than any car you’ll own. When was the last time you looked under your own hood to evaluate your well-being and tightened up what was loose or unjammed what was rusty so that your inner engine purrs happily?
Our body wants to operate at its best. Daily healthier habits help us feel more at home within ourselves. Our body should feel like a safe and soothing place to be and ready to take us where we want to go with energy and enthusiasm.
Getting started: Feel Better, Move Better
Move into a healthier, happier body today.
Start here, pick one and get started:
- Take regular 5-10 movement breaks during the day before meal times,
- Schedule in two 20-60 minute sessions that focus on building strength,
- Include rhythmic activity that elevates your heart rate at least three times per week for 30 minutes,
Stay resilient and balanced from the inside out with a regular yoga practice.
Start gradually and ask for help.
Not sure where to start?
I invite you to book a Free 15 minute consultation with me. I am happy to guide you in the right direction.
Want to get moving now?
Enjoy these complimentary classes from the School of Happiness online:
Gentle Yoga for Calm
Be well. Be Happy. Be YOU.
Movement & mind-body specialist, Wellness coach