Health & Wellbeing > Move it!

Move it!

Published: October 8, 2010

I am a girl who hates exercise with a white hot passion. I get bored easily and going to a gym only holds a nanosecond of appeal. That being said I love how I feel after I do something physical. Movement like Breathe gives benefits across the board for the Mind/ Body/Spirit trifecta of wellness. Being balanced in the foundation of Mind/Body/Spirit is a key to building a good life. Today I want to talk about movement, not exercise per se but movement. Our bodies, this skin suit we are all sporting was made to move. It was made to stretch, lift things and motor down a sidewalk on perfectly designed albeit too big feet (maybe that is just me). It was designed to be active, not designed to sit on the sofa with a remote close by and something greasy in one hand and something cold in the other. However fun that experience might be, a constant diet of pizza and beer breaks us in every way and I speak from hefty experience here.

Movement is a natural way to relieve stress, clear your head, and get some very nice happy chemicals released to boost your mood and good juju. This does not have to take a long time, though the longer you can do something the bigger the benefit. Here is an example of a short ‘n’ sweet movement series. Read the next few sentences and then follow the directions… it’s not brain surgery because if it was I would need more insurance for sure.

What I want you to do is stand up, stretch your arms into the air above your head as far as you can reach and take a deep breath. Take your right wrist in your left hand and pull to the left giving your right side a nice stretch. Come back to center and release the right wrist. Now take your left wrist in your right hand and do the same action on the right side. When you come back to center drop forward hinging from the hips, bend your knees if you need to and just let your upper body hang there letting your spin unkink. Keep taking deep breathes throughout this little stretching exercise. Bend your knees slightly if they were not bent when you started and roll up to standing position slowly one vertebra at a time. When you are standing roll your shoulders up and back and sit down. Do you feel different? If you hadn’t stepped back from the computer on the bend over your rapped your head sorry about that. But hopefully everyone else feels the benefit of a 4-minute stretch.

Doing something physical can be easy, free and fun. If you are up for the challenge expand that 4-minute stretch into a yoga class. You can even find some free classes in the park. Try going out your front door and taking a walk, or better yet if you are lucky enough to live close to a beach, a wooded trail or a city park go there and bring a camera. I have a very smart friend that comes home from work, puts on her favorite CD and dances around her house for 10-15 minutes to release the stress of her day and gets ready to settle into her evening. The library has a plethora of CD’s for exercise, yoga, tai chi or any number of things to inspire you to move and all it costs is the time it takes to acquire a library card. What it gives you is immeasurable.

Any movement is good, even small doses helps relieve stress and add to your overall well-being. And it’s easier than you might think to build a small dose into a busy day: park at the end of the parking lot when going somewhere so you have to walk further, take the stairs when you can, walk your dog an extra block or two, put on music when you clean that kicks you up a notch and gets you moving faster through the chores. (For anyone who might live with you when you do this last one you are giving them the added benefit of laughter.) Pick up a jump rope and work your way from 30 seconds to 2, 5 and eventually 10 minutes, but only if you live on the ground floor-- trust me your neighbors will not like it if you jump rope overhead. I can only say the police were very nice when they showed up looking for the herd of elephants .

So now I want you to get a paper and pen to explore other kinds of movement, other than writing. I would like you to make a list of three things that you enjoyed doing as a kid that were physical. When was the last time you did one of those? Whether your list has items like kickball, water balloon fights, hiking, hula hoops, swimming, or the batting cage (which I highly recommend on Valentine’s Day) it should be something that brought you joy and might still. I have a friend who never stopped doing the things he loved as a boy. He loved to run and ride his bike, he still does both daily and he is no spring chicken. He is a relatively calm guy and very fit because of the way he manages his stress. He’s a major nut I’ll give you that, but he takes good care of his body. Now add three more things to that list that are physical, any movement you enjoy doing. This is a time to think outside the box, some of these things can be done with a partner, be creative! Just be mindful of public ordnances and security cameras as well as what rooms in your house have curtains. Look at that list, how many times a day, week or month do you schedule movement into your life? Are you happy with that amount? If not you might want to look at how to up that number. You need to add yourself back onto your ‘to do’ list.

I make my list of things to want to get done for the week on Sunday night or Monday morning. On the top of that list, every week, are the same things: yoga, walking, meditation and journaling. Underneath those are job hunting, laundry, pick up dry cleaning, work on book, shop for egg nog and all things that have to get done as well. The secret is I don’t do anything on the bottom of that list near as well if I don’t start adding hash marks next to the ones at the top. What I mean is I put a mark next to yoga every day I do it as a visual reminder of how many times I have hit my goal. It reminds me that if I am cranky, tired or stressed it is not automatically PMS, only sometimes. It means I have not taken care of myself that day (or days) and I know what I need to do to fix it. When I am feeling calm, balanced and relaxed I make better decisions, am more efficient and a joy to be around. Ok that was a huge stretch, let’s go with I am somewhat often tolerable to be around. Think of adding more movement to your life as a way of giving those around you a kinder, gentler, healthier and happier you… if that doesn’t fly I would go with a toaster.


1. Susan on October 12, 2010

I was sitting, eating a wedge of abergavenny harlech and reading your most recent article, when I was moved to comment.

I really want to try some of the ideas from your article, but I can't find a pen. I've looked everywhere - between couch cushions, under the couch, in the fridge, etc.

Anyway, I wanted to tell y

2. Susan on October 12, 2010

Wow! SOrry about that. I think I inhaled a slice of abergavenny harlech. Jeez! Thought I was choking to death for a sec.

Anyway, you can also get those happy chemicals circulating in your blood if you eat really hot and spicy food. It even makes you sweat! You can get almost all of the benefits of exercise by simply eating a lot of extra-spicy food.

Still looking for that pen.


3. pearhater on October 13, 2010

Ms. Boyle,

I imagine the made dash to loo is where the exercise comes in...

No worries on the pen.

Any Comments?


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