I first learned that there was a link between moving naturally and longevity from reading Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. Buettner studied people around the world that enjoyed long lives and looked for patterns. Moving naturally was one of those common factors.
Those that enjoyed a long life, did not just move when they went to a gym to work out, or do an exercise routine, or practice yoga daily. Although, these are great practices, the movement that was observed in this long living super hero group was things like shepherding goats and having to walk up and down mountains, gardening, and carrying water. We have technology that makes it possible to move less. We drive to places we could walk, we use nice appliances to clean, we buy more food than we grow many times, and we miss out on the benefits of natural movement.
Instead of thinking about movement as a punishment, we can think of it as a reward. Moving naturally increases strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. This can help us emotionally, reduce pain and injuries, and help us be able to perform our tasks with more ease.
People that avoid movement are depriving themselves of health benefits. Living an active life is part of a healthy life. If you have a job that is more sedentary working in movement breaks throughout the day will take some intentional planning but it is possible create some new habits that will allow you to move more throughout the day. It may seem like a waste of time to choose stairs over the elevator, but you might find that the mental clarity you have after times of movement, increases your productivity and focus. Having lunch in a place that requires a brisk walk outdoors can rejuvenate you. Taking your family for a nightly walk instead of having couch and TV time can increase children’s curiosity about nature and get families talking and connecting again. I find I sleep best after having time being active outdoors.
If you have an injury, chronic illness, or disability, try to move more as your body allows. See how movement can help you. Maybe it is hard for you to get up to get things, or roll your wheel chair, or even do things with your hands. How can you challenge yourself? Everyone will have different options, limitations, and preferences, and we create habits that serve us best.
Tracy May, Promising Connections, LLC
How can you incorporate more natural movement into your life?