Movement. It seems like the simplest thing in the world, but how often do we use our bodies at their full potential? In honour of August being National Wellness Month, I’m here to shed some light on the why movement is so important for overall health and wellness!
Inactivity is a growing problem in modern society. Many jobs now involve sitting at a desk for prolonged periods of time, with many people sitting for 13 to 15 hours per day. This sedentary lifestyle can have a detrimental effect on our health.
Lack of physical movement has been linked to a number of health issues, including:
- Increased risk of chronic diseases
- Diabetes and insulin resistance
- Musculoskeletal problems
- Weakening of bones and joints
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk of premature death
- Increased stress and anxiety
- Reduced mobility and flexibility
- Back pain and posture issues
- Impaired sleep quality and insomnia
Small movements can have a significant impact on both your physical and mental health. The key here is consistency! The body does a really good job at becoming great at what it does most.
I have found that once people are up and moving, they don't go back. This is a fundamental shift in how people function. Health gets better with movement, productivity gets better, and people enjoy their jobs — and lives — more.
It's important to work on prevention rather than dealing with the issue when it's too late. Working on your health is ongoing - create enjoyable habits you can maintain.
Incorporating movement throughout your day will help:
- Improve joint mobility and reduce the risk of injuries
- Improve circulation and cardiovascular health
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
- Enhance metabolism and energy levels
- Release endorphins and reduce stress
- Improve mood and mental health
- Strengthen your immune system
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Boost energy and productivity
- Reduce muscle and joint pain
- Build and tone muscles
- Improve posture
Here are a few examples of movement you can start incorporating into your day, in National Wellness Month and beyond!
Make sure to start slow with these movements. Do what you can, and if something causes discomfort or pain, stop immediately and make sure to see a healthcare professional before continuing.
Daily walking offers a wide range of health benefits, making it one of the simplest yet most effective forms of physical activity.
▪Standing T-Spine Extension
- Stand facing a wall with your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height and slightly wide of shoulder-width apart.
- Without moving your hands, keep your arms straight, extend your spine as you press your hands into the wall. Let your chest drop through your arms while allowing your back to arch.
- Hold the extension for one deep breath, then return to starting position.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your legs crossed or in a seated position on a chair.
- Cross your arms and sit up tall.
- Begin by inhaling and arching your back, lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling. This is the "cow" portion of the stretch.
- Exhale and round your spine, tucking your chin towards your chest and bringing your tailbone towards your knees. This is the "cat" portion of the stretch.
- Repeat the movement, inhaling and arching your back and exhaling and rounding your spine.
- Start by sitting on the floor with your legs crossed or in a seated position on a chair with the back of your knees touching the chair.
- Place your right hand on your left shoulder and left hand on your right shoulder.
- Allow your back to relax into its comfortable position.
- Slowly turn your body to the right side without lifting your opposite hip. Once you reach your end point, return to the middle. Repeat to the left side.
- Start by sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight.
- Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, then roll them back and downwards, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Push them forward then return to starting position.
- Think about moving the shoulders through the largest range of motion "O" you can do comfortably.
- Start by sitting with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight or laying down on your back in a comfortable position.
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, allowing your chest to rise as you fill your lungs with air.
- As you inhale, focus on expanding your ribcage.
- Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly and evenly through your mouth.
- Repeat the process for several breaths, focusing on keeping your breath slow and steady.
- As you breathe, try to clear your mind and focus on the breath.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you stay motivated and on track:
Set realistic goals: Start with small, achievable goals and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercise routine as you become more comfortable.
Make it a priority: Treat your exercise routine as a non-negotiable part of your daily schedule, just like any other important task.
Track your progress: Keep track of your progress by writing down the exercises you did each day, the number of reps you completed, and how you felt afterwards.
Be consistent: Make a commitment to incorporating the program into your daily routine and stick to it as consistently as possible.
Make it fun: Find ways to make your exercise routine enjoyable. Listen to music, watch a workout video, or find a fun way to incorporate movement into your day.
Remember, the key to success is consistency. Break up your sitting hours with 5-10 minutes of movement at least once every two hours. By making a commitment to incorporate movement throughout your day, you can improve your physical and mental health, boost your energy and productivity, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases associated with inactivity. So, let’s get moving!
--Brendon Talbot, Osteopathic Practitioner
Brendon Talbot is a certified healthcare professional with a degree in Movement Science and a Masters in Osteopathy. He has the expertise and tools to help you live your healthiest, longest life.
With nearly 2M followers on TikTok and nearly 200k followers on Instagram, along with more than 620k on Facebook, Brendon uses educational and creative content to disseminate practical and digestible advice, tips, tricks and takeaways for the body and mind - covering everything from movement, prevention, fitness, nutrition, longevity and more.