If you’re someone who feels frustrated when you hear “get your daily exercise,” then you likely don’t fully understand what’s involved (and by that, we mean how little needs to be involved).
That’s right. It’s time to stop thinking of daily exercise as a commitment with minimum requirements like running five miles or bench-pressing your weight. The requirement can be far less taxing and should fit your fitness level.
But, the first step is to stop using the term exercise and start using movement.
From your brain to your joints, movement has the power to improve every part of your body. And it’s not just about high-impact, sweat-inducing exercise, either. It’s simple – whether you choose to implement small movements into your routine or try a new activity like cycling or yoga, increasing your daily movement can help upgrade your overall health.
When we say “small,” we mean it. This guide has handy information to small movements that can have a big impact on both your physical and mental health. And, you can do them all from the comfort of your work cubicle without even changing into gym clothes.
See the Benefits
Our partners at EXOS have pulled together the following compilation of benefits you can expect to see when movement becomes an everyday focus.
MUSCLES: You have more than 600 muscles in your body that make up about 40% of your total body weight. Stretching can help maintain your muscle health.
BONES: Movement helps build stronger, denser bones. Bone-building exercises like resistance training (weights), weight-bearing exercises (jogging, walking, hiking), and balance training (yoga) can help you maintain better bone density.
JOINTS: Yoga improves body awareness, which can increase coordination and balance, sense of where joints are positioned and relaxation. Plus, they include flexibility and range-of-motion moves, which boost joint flexibility and joint function.
BRAIN: Walking 30-40 minutes a day three times per week can help “regrow” the structures of the brain linked to cognitive decline in older adults.
HEART: According to the British Heart Foundation, around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be avoided each year if people kept themselves ﬁtter, so hit the pedals to improve your heart health. Regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by 50%.
LUNGS: Circuit training with a personal trainer or in a group ﬁtness class works the heart, lungs, and muscles at the same time. Moving from one exercise to the next with little rest keeps your heart rate high, which improves your cardiorespiratory endurance.
Just move and avoid inactivity.
Find something you love to do and commit to doing it daily. If you love to walk and have a place you can easily get to on a regular basis, then set a reminder and make it happen. If you are interested in yoga but haven’t yet made the leap, start small.
And if even smaller is your current speed, work on those desk and chair exercises until you feel you’ve improved your movement capability enough to step it up a bit. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it builds.
Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert is credited with saying: “We have a brain for one reason and one reason only — that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements. Movement is the only way we have affecting the world around us… I believe that to understand movement is to understand the whole brain. And therefore it’s important to remember when you are studying memory, cognition, sensory processing, they’re there for a reason, and that reason is action.”
In partnership with EXOS, a world leader in human performance and the management company for CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.