Every year, millions of Americans purchase gym memberships in the pursuit of better health.
Sadly–after a month or two–the majority of those memberships go unused.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with going to the gym. In fact, joining a gym is a wonderful way to stay fit and active.
However, it’s important to point out that exercising at a gym is completely unnecessary when it comes to achieving optimal health.
Many people overlook the incredible power of simply moving around in their day-to-day lives–an activity that doesn’t require any type of membership fee.
And today, I want to make it clear that simply making time to move your body every day is the best way to put yourself on the path to health.
Keep reading to discover why movement is important and how small things, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can greatly improve your health.
Why Movement Is Vital for a Healthy Body
In today’s world, many of us spend our days behind desks in office or school spaces that allow for little to no physical movement.
Then, after a stressful day of classes or work, what do we do? We vegetate in front of the TV or computer at home.
This isn’t good considering that the human body was never intended to sit around for long periods of time.
In fact, according M.D., Ph.D., Dr. Levine…
“Two hundred years ago, 90 percent of the world lived in agricultural communities,” he explains. “People sat for three to five hours per day, but only to take breaks from working. Modern Americans sit for 13 to 15 hours per day.”
Furthermore, he goes on to explain that…
“Excess sitting is now linked with 35 diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression.”
Many people don’t think of “sitting” as a health risk, compared to something like smoking. However, getting in the habit of sitting around all day is equally–if not more–detrimental to our health.
The bottom line is that our bodies are meant to move.
First and foremost, movement keeps our muscles strong. The less you move your muscles, the more difficult it becomes to move your body.
Weak muscle tone can lead to chronic back pain, leg pain, knee pain, and more.
Second, movement is essential for our joints.
When we don’t keep our joints warm and moving, arthritis may begin to creep in. This occurs when cartilage and bone in joints deteriorate.
Third, movement helps us keep our cardiovascular health in check.
The heart is mostly made of muscle, and it needs to be exercised; otherwise, it won’t be able to pump blood around the body effectively.
Fourth, movement is essential for burning calories and excess energy in the body.
This one is pretty much common sense, but if you aren’t burning off the calories you eat, they will be stored as fat in the body.
Too much stored fat leads to obesity, and obesity leads to a wide range of unpleasant medical conditions.
Last, but not least, I want to mention the impact of movement on emotional health.
Daily exercise–even if it’s just a simple walk around your neighborhood–releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
These natural endorphins are key for reducing stress, boosting mood, and lowering your risk of depression.
Without any movement, you don’t reap the benefits of endorphins that often put people in a “feel-good” mood.
I could probably list a thousand other reasons movement is so important for the body. But, I think you have a clear understanding of why it’s so important.
All this being said, what exactly does daily movement mean and how much movement do you need each day for optimal health?
Here’s what I recommend…
10 Ways to Add More Movement into Your Day
Daily movement doesn’t mean spending 3 hours every night on the treadmill or attending a yoga class every day of the week.
It simply means finding time to incorporate movement throughout your day.
Here are 10 ways you can easily add more movement into your daily routine…
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Sure, it may take a little bit more time to get where you’re going, but your body will appreciate it.
- Take an after-dinner walk every day. A 30-minute stroll around your neighborhood is a great way to keep your heart healthy.
- Walk to your co-worker’s office instead of calling them by phone. It’s amazing how many steps you rack up when you put down the phone and get on your feet.
- Lift your desk so you have the option to stand while working. Standing on your feet is a great alternative to sitting and helps exercise your leg muscles.
- Set timers so you know when to get up and move. Make sure that every hour you work, you get at least 10 minutes of “move around” time.
- Walk to lunch. Instead of bringing your lunch to your desk, keep it somewhere, like a break room, so you have to get up and walk for your food.
- Complete mini sets of crunches or pull-ups while watching TV. There’s nothing wrong with watching TV. Just ensure you make good use of commercial time.
- Play with your kids. Playing with your children, whether it be building Legos or creating an imaginary play world is a great way to keep moving.
- Park in the back of parking lots. Whether you’re heading to work or to get groceries, pack in the back of the lot to get some extra steps in.
- Do your own house chores. Never underestimate the amount of movement it takes to wash and fold laundry, mow your lawn, or clean your dishes.
You deserve to be able to live a vibrant life that’s not dictated by health struggles. Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons you should be investing in your health today.