I have recently strained my back and leg quite badly, resulting in a significant reduction in my ability to move freely – a rather dramatic way of reminding myself how much moving our bodies matters! When the only comfortable place is sitting still, it is not easy to stay positive, and the mind and emotions seem to freeze up to match the state of the body. Yet many of us choose to adopt such static positions for long hours without being conscious of the effect it has on us`: in front of the computer, in the car, in front of the TV.
Why it matters
Without movement, our muscles get atrophied, our natural biological flow slows down, and this affects every part of us, not just our bodies. As we become static, so do our minds, because there is a direct connection. We become ‘stuck’ in a particular perspective and our creativity and flexibility in thinking reduces. And our emotions also become stuck, which I guess would be OK if we’re feeling really positive, but most of us are not sitting in a state of bliss!
The benefits of moving our bodies
When we move our bodies, we ‘reset’ ourselves. Our bodies are designed for movement, and the relaxation and tension of muscles that happens when we move enables the flow of our blood, to carry nutrients and hormones throughout our bodies. The biological shift of flow and energy automatically releases our mental and emotional states as well.
We all know this: everyone has experienced the moments of inspiration that can happen when we move away from something, to go to the toilet, or make a cup of tea. And most of us have walked away from a situation and, if we keep walking, begun to calm down and have a more useful perspective.
In my mum’s day, before computers were prevalent, and when most people didn’t have a car, a certain level of movement in the day was normal. They didn’t talk about doing exercise or going to the gym to keep themselves fit and mobile. But we have become a lot more sedentary, and may only move in spurts rather than regularly throughout the day.
I am not talking about having to ‘exercise’ here. I am talking about standing, walking, stretching, bending to pick things up, gardening, cleaning – the ordinary ways we can move our bodies during the day.
Take 5 minutes every hour, to stand, stretch, walk to somewhere.
Walk up or down the stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator.
Park at the far end of the car park, so you have a little walking between car and office or shop.
Stretch your body gently when you get out of the car after a journey.
Give your body a chance to flow again, give your mind a chance to broaden its perspective, give your emotions a chance to rebalance – you’re not a static machine, you’re designed to move!