Everybody knows that humans are supposed to exercise and be active. For many people, the habit of exercise was lost with their youth or never developed in the first place.
The idea of starting an exercise routine can be overwhelmingly daunting. Perhaps you have found the perfect routine but struggle to actually follow through with execution. If that’s the case, you are not alone. This is why the job of personal trainers exist—to put people through an exercise routine on a regular basis. Whether you have a personal trainer, exercise on your own, or haven’t quite committed to the habit, we all need to take a look at the big picture of how much we’re moving.
Exercise vs. Movement
Like I said, we all know that exercise is important and it’s something we all have to do to be healthy. In my opinion, exercise is great but I would like to encourage everyone to start thinking more in terms of movement. If you regularly attend the gym two or three days per week, that’s great. However, if you’re sitting on your butt the rest of the time, then I think you’ve missed the point. I’m talking about getting outside, going for walks, taking the stairs and choosing more non-exercise activities that get you moving. Our bodies need to move in new and different ways everyday.
When it comes to movement, we have to start thinking about quality, variety, novelty, intensity and frequency.
We need to sit less, move more on a daily basis and improve our quality of movement to prevent pain and injury. My advice to someone that doesn’t exercise is to simply find a basic movement activity that can be enjoyable and engage in this regularly. For those that already exercise, I will encourage you to mix things up regularly. If you’re always lifting weights, it’s time for a yoga class. If you stretch everyday and you’re flexible like Gumby, it’s time to lift something heavy. An avid cyclist should join a Pilates class and work on posture. We all need to mix things up because too much of the same movements can create compensation patterns in our bodies. Compensation ultimately leads to dysfunction and dysfunction leads to pain. Let’s choose to live pain-free.
One of my mentors Kevin Darby (founder of DTS Fitness Education) told me that some of the best movements we can do for our bodies are closed chain exercises (Animal Flow), open chain exercises (kettlebells) and picking up heavy stuff off the ground (loaded carries). His simple advice has definitely influenced how I train both my clients and myself. Here is an example of a fun workout that satisfies that movement criteria, and see below an example of what Animal Flow looks like.
Beyond exercise, we need to make a commitment to daily movement.
Here are some helpful tips to get moving:
- Spend 10-15 minutes mobilizing your body each day
- Move vigorously several days per week
- Move gently several days per week
- Stand up and move every 30 minutes
- Commit to a new movement activity
- Quit the elevator and take the stairs frequently
- Park farthest away from the store
- Try more ground based movements
- Commit to a daily walk
- Use a standing desk at work
- Take off your shoes and socks frequently
- Find a nice place to hike in nature
- Turn off the tv and go outside
- One way or another- move everyday
To move well is to live well.
I truly believe that movement is the cause of and solution to most of our physical ailments. It’s not all about intense physical activity. Movement can be therapy when used properly. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. Find the right dose for you and get it frequently.
Written by Brien Chamney