Movement - It hasn't always got to be 'exercise'!
We all know the importance of movement, right? You only have to sit down at the desk all day to feel the aches and pains setting in. But what does “movement” really mean? And how long should we be moving to enable you to feel your best?
Hey, it’s Amy the Coeliac girl again by the way.
Living a life with Coeliac Disease, I have never struggled with being overweight (in the national guidelines eyes) and even when I put on weight at university I was still in the “normal” range of BMI. I will readily admit that I have been to the gym only a handful of times and I am personally not a fan of structured exercise - AT ALL!
Movement for me is more about my mind and body rather than the mantra of “no pain, no gain” or “go hard or go home” in the hope of the perfectly sculpted bod.
The same cannot be said for 'The Experimenter Boy' however as he has spent many an hour enjoying movement in the gym (lifting weights or balancing on yoga balls) or running on the trails – it’s just not for me. I am much more of a fan of movement without realising I am actually exercising – sounds crazy right?!
The aim of this post is to highlight that movement can mean different things to different people and that there are simple ways of increasing movement in your day without spending a fortune on a gym membership or even consciously worrying about how you will fit it into your busy day.
If however, you are a gym bunny or running enthusiast like Jeff, that is great, however, it hasn't always got to be this structured...
For those that need a little motivation for movement, let’s start with why!
When the duvet is cocooning you from the world and you are just too snuggly – a life of lazing around in bed watching a series of Blue Planet sounds ideal. Why even bother to move? Well, my lovely's, movement is not only great for your body and health but also your mind!
Several studies have shown that by doing only 30 minutes of “exercise” or movement, you can significantly reduce the chances and effects of:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Musculoskeletal conditions
I think most of us have heard this and it probably is not much of a surprise. What was a surprise though to me, is that movement can also help those with anxiety and mental health concerns.
Movement is really great for 'clearing your head' and I find it boosts my productivity and makes me be the best version of myself. Unfortunately, many of us have been educated into believing that you must exercise in a structured way to stay lean or 'lose weight'. We disagree with this and believe that body composition starts with what you put in your mouth. Exercise is an inefficient way of maintaining body weight - period!
At Hunter & Gather we love the work of Darryl Edwards at Primal Play as play and getting outdoors is so often underrated.
Jeff and I play all the time and this is how I get a lot of my movement!
Just check out the list below of what I get up to in a general week (tick how many you do too?):
1) Our cats love a game of chase the string – this playtime is great for bonding with your pets and family. It is especially good at moving your whole body and you can get a good workout especially if you go up and down the stairs a few times.
2) Grab a piggyback – Jeff and I do piggybacks all the time! Mainly Jeff carrying me I would add, but even the art of clinging on uses lots of different muscles. Playing around like this is great for relationship bonding.
3) Having a ball under my desk at work – this is amazing to rest your feet on and to roll back and forth. This helps to keep your legs moving throughout the day and is a very simple change. It also adds for a bit of lunchtime bonding with keepy uppys with colleagues.
4) Have an arm or thumb war – it is amazing how many people you can engage in a thumb war. It is an awesome way to have a laugh with family or colleagues
5) Walk the horse – Hippo the horse requires taking too and from his field every morning and evening. he also gets ridden a handful of times a week. This adds over a mile a day of walking without me even realising! Now I am not advising to immediately buy a horse, but could you incorporate walking into your morning? Maybe walk the kids to school, or park a little further away from the office? The morning light is also great for your circadian rhythm!
6) Go for a run – Jeff has previously been the captain and a coach at our local running club so inevitably as a dutiful life partner I have attended a few sessions too. I would recommend checking out parkruns. These are free 5k events held every weekend throughout the country. This is a great way to also gain a support network and a community of people. Many use running for the social aspect, which is amazing too and is another way to help improve your mental health!
7) Cleaning – yep I said it, cleaning makes you move. Cleaning the windows, hoovering, taking out the bins is all great for moving your body. Not one that will necessarily pull you out of bed but it definitely counts.
8) Climb a tree – now I am nowhere near as good at this as Jeff but I do still give it a go. There is something about climbing with no ladders and sitting on a branch! Now if you don’t fancy going full Tarzan, what about going for a walk in nature instead or having a go on the kids stepping stones at the park? Even better, why not try out Go Ape (we love this treetop adventure!) where you can climb trees and high wires with the safety of a harness.
9) Use a stand-up desk – many offices are now opting for stand up desks and they are absolutely amazing! There is even a treadmill desk out there but we have not quite got that far at Hunter & Gather (maybe a Christmas prezzie idea for Jeff hmmm). Jeff and I do however have a wind-up desk from Ikea, where you can sit or wind the handle (without taking all your stuff off) to stand up when you like. This is great to enable you to move your legs about and help keep supple. Probably the best £179 we have ever spent!
10) Squat sitting on the floor – no this is not a bum tightening session of 100 squats, but seriously try sitting on the floor as much as you can rather than using the sofa. By getting up and down you will be really moving your body. Jeff and I often sit in the hunter-gatherer squat position as it opens your hips and takes pressure off your spine – this is a great position for doing your toilet business too, but we will come onto that another time.
I am hoping that this has given you a flavour of how movement can mean so many different things and that someone that does not have the desire or the funds to get a gym membership can still move and improve their overall wellbeing.
As the Coeliac girl, I will never be a gym bunny BUT I will be healthy, happy and most of all I will continue moving it before I lose it.
Another day in the Coeliac girls life, learning that it is not just nutrition that contributes to us being the best versions of ourselves.
Thanks all and happy moving ☺!
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