how to move more (when you don't feel like moving more)
Lest you have this image of me - being a movement evangelista and all - that I gleefully pop out of bed each morning..
... practice my qigong for an hour and/or walk five miles, continuing on to the rest of my day thusly, let me assure you, this is SO not the case.
As much as I would love to be an inspiration to you in this way, more than that, I want to say, I empathize, because I know how much easier is the path of least resistance.
Though I've been as active as any homeschooling mom of four boys could be, I was never what you'd call high energy.
Some days, and more days as I get older, inertia is my truer tendency than momentum - and very conditional, depending on the weather, the time of the month, what I did or ate the day before.
And even though I darn well know the answer to the question, why move when I don't have to, my spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak.
With a lot of my clients, it's not even just about 'don't wanna', but it just plain hurts more to move. I get that, too.
And so I find myself walking that thin line between empathizing and enabling, because even as I struggle with all of this, I know that the only way we will ever get the benefits of moving is ... by moving.
I think one thing that may help (and which has certainly helped me) is to expand one's definition of moving.
in other words, get out of the 'exercise' box, ignore for a minute the recommendations and standards about steps, reps and whathaveyou, and simply ask, how can I move more where I am right now?
For me, I began by changing up a couple of items in my home environment, so I almost have no choice.
~ I ditched my desk chair and use an exercise ball when I'm parked there. (But, I still have to remember to 'move' on it. The body is still very good at conserving energy and will stay put in the same slumpy positions if I allow it).
~ If I'm feeling particularly motivated, I'll move my laptop to the living room table and sit on the floor (which is also where we have been eating dinner), or to the kitchen island countertop.
~ My pots and pans and lids are all in a lower cabinet so when I go to retrieve one for cooking, I have to do a deep squat to get there. My partner has a love for cast iron, so, you wanna talk weight-bearing loads, there you go.
~ I stash the wine glasses on the highest shelf, so if I wanna to indulge, I gotta reach for it. (Makes the wine taste better, too... :)
~ My house is kind of a split -level with our main living area being upstairs. The washer is on this floor, and the dryer is down in the garage. (Early on, my partner wanted to save me some effort by moving upstairs, but even pre-Katy, I was like, no! Some days that's the most exercise I get!)
~ I also have wooden dyer racks that I'll bring out in warmer weather.
~ I always keep a half-dome nearby for calf stretches - either in front of my desk (where I'll occasional kneel in front of the computer and do lunges), or at the kitchen counter.
~ Recently, we've opened up a space in the bedroom that invites a little qigong move or some floor stretching when passing through to the bathroom. (Which you can see in the video below.)
~ And while I know this is not everyone's thing, my dinner prep, when time allows, is pretty leisurely, and will often be accompanied by funk, flamenco or some other movement-inspiring music. Dancing is ALWAYS healthy (and somehow easier for me to give in to than an exercise routine).
No, these are not major, glamorous things.
But when you compare how many more body parts are moving between sitting in a chair, or sitting on a ball; sitting on a chair or sitting on the floor; easy access to an item, or having to squat or extend to get it ... and all that, many many times a day, it really does add up.
It's important, too, not to underestimate any increase of degrees of movement.
Like, how much your body will benefit from a little extra ankle mobility or hip extension when you walk. So, it's not just about moving more, it's about moving better that can make huge differences.
I'm a lifelong starter and stopper (like most humans I know).
The thrill of shiny new resolutions to change my life starting today! has kinda run it's course for me.
Now, the guiding question is: how my can make my life a little less convenient in the easiest way possible? (How's that for a conundrum?) And, what will have staying power even on the days when I have ZERO motivation?
Some things stick, others don't.
But I've found the more stuff I put in my own way that makes not moving impossible, the more days my body will be the one leading the way - saying, I'd feel SO much better if you got up and stretched right now, rather than, Is it time for bed yet?
How about you? What are your movement challenges, and what are your victories? What is one thing you can start doing differently today? (Even changing how you cross your legs every ten minutes counts. Start where you can!!! All #movementmatters!)
Share in the comments below (or on my Facebook page)
Want a little something more 'formal'?
< = Try this mini qigong routine to jump start your breathing, and wake up your spine!
Good for first thing in the morning, or anytime you've been stagnant for a while!