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5 Reasons to Make Time for Extra Movement in Your Day to Day

Christina posing during a ten minute walk with a dried thistle behind her ear.
Getting a ten-minute walk in during work

When you have a list of endless to-dos, the idea of making your health a priority can feel overwhelming and exhausting. But getting in some daily movement can improve your total well-being and ultimately make you more productive during the day.

What if you didn’t have to work out hard to feel the benefits? Even light exercise helps your mind and body in a variety of ways. 

A quick example of this: In nursing school I was tasked with demonstrating Yoga to a group of pediatric patients in a mental health facility. The idea was to show them that they can do some simple moves to re-energize them. I walked them through a quick gentle flow for 5 minutes and they (along with my group mates haha) were surprised at how much more awake they felt with those simple moves. Someone commented, “I feel like I didn’t do much, but I actually feel more awake than before.” 

Here are five ways movement can help you feel better right NOW.  

1.Exercise Increases Your Energy Levels

It’s tempting to reach for the coffee or energy drink. However, moving your body helps get oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in your body and removes waste, thus increasing your energy. Your body gets refreshed while the activity invigorates your mind. This is why it's great to consider getting extra movement in your day to day.

Want to avoid that after lunch slump?

Do you sometimes feel sluggish after eating? Going for a brisk walk, or a quick yoga flow can help overcome this (remember in just 5 minutes, everyone in my group reported feeling more awake after a quick flow). Exercise helps your body regulate your blood sugar and avoid those highs and lows you can have after eating. 

2. Getting Up and Moving Improves Your Mood

Research shows that exercise can be as effective in improving your mood as medications (of course don’t stop taking your meds without talking with your medical practitioner first). When you exercise, your body releases endocannabinoids —  a neurotransmitter that’s thought to be responsible for the reduction in stress, pain, and creates that “feel good” effect, (interesting study here).The good news doesn’t stop there. Regular exercise of any type, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, provides a sense of accomplishment, and improves self-esteem.

Side note: If you took notice of the word endocannabinoids and thought “cannabis,” you’re on the right track! Endocannabinoids are produced by our own body and cannabinoids are in marijuana. Our body has cannabinoid receptors, which I find completely fascinating! If you’d like to learn more I can do a  more in depth blog about this, comment and let me know! *

3. More Movement Promotes Better Sleep

If good sleep seems like a fairy tale, then exercising regularly can help make it a reality. Regular physical activity can increase the amount of deep sleep you get.

Think about your kids, how often have you made sure they got in a lot of physical activity to “wear them out” before bedtime or nap time? This works for adults, too! Exercising gets rid of your extra energy, which helps you fall asleep faster -- which then helps you feel restored and ready for the next day. I have personally found the days I exercise, I fall asleep much quicker because my feelings of fatigue kick in quicker.

4. Give Your Brain a Boost with More Movement.

Do you find that your concentration goes bye-bye throughout the day? Use that as your signal to take a quick walk. Even 10 minutes of walking boosts blood flow to your brain, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to it. When your brain has more oxygen and nutrients, it works better, and you feel more awake. Feeling like you’re in a creative slump? You guessed it, exercise can get those creative juices flowing.  Want to boost your memory? Keep up an exercise routine for a few months and reap those benefits too! 

5. Exercise Lowers Your Stress Immediately and Over Time

Remember those endocannabinoids from before? They are responsible for the “runner’s high,” which can help lower your stress levels right away. It is important to note, not everyone experiences the “runner’s high,” but that doesn’t detract from the benefits you can get from exercise. Regular exercise also lowers the levels of stress hormones in your body, such as epinephrine (a.k.a adrenaline) and cortisol, further reducing feelings of anxiety over time.

You Don’t Have to Do a “Workout” to Feel Benefits!

Exercise doesn’t have to be a long drawn out 60-minute workout. Quick bursts of activity count, like a short walk or a set or three of wall pushups or squats. Research has shown that sprinkling in movement throughout the day is just as beneficial or even more than having an hour-long workout and sitting for the rest of the day (multiple studies review here).

Look for ways to keep exercise simple. For example, take some brisk laps around the office when going to get coffee, go for a walk while on break. Do morning or evening walks.  The point is:  Exercise benefits can be cumulative. Getting exercise most days adds up in your body’s favor to keep you healthy in the long term.

Want help in learning how to get more movement in? Don’t know where to start?

You should check out my Free Self-Care Menu for Go-Getting Moms! It’s 9 pages of self-care activity suggestions, divided by areas of health and well-being: Physical, mental/emotional, spiritual,  career, finances, relationships, fun, home/environment, and personal development. Each area is then further divided by the AMOUNT of time you have: 1-5 minutes, 5-10 minutes, 10-30 minutes, and 30 minutes- 2 hours.

Even if you have decision fatigue, the optional "game" can help you decide on your activity. This WILL empower you to take that first step and create intentional time and space for YOU and make it fun! I hope you enjoy it and it helps to further guide you on your personal health and wellness journey.

Grab it here!


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