“I’m Living my Best Life because I began to move more!”

If you’re saying this, then you get it. If you’re scratching your head, I hope you stay with me a moment.
Even you chronic pain warriors and chronically sedentary folks, hear me out!

The “Living My Best Life!” series has taken you through some obvious scenarios for living a good life. In your lifetime, you’ve heard several theories about living life to the fullest and you may have practiced one or all of them in some way form or another.

We’ve discussed that Gratitude, Mindfulness, and Meditation are keys to living your best life.  In many ways, these three concepts are intertwined with each other. Believe it or not, movement is also part of the wellness equation.

Notice this edition is not labeled “Exercise Edition”. That’s because I didn’t want to scare off the exercise timid folks. While hitting the gym every day (or every other day) is going to do wonderful things to your body and mind, a lot of people are not ready for that full commitment. And a lot of us may have tried it, hurt ourselves within the first few sessions and had to take a step back.

More-so, there are us chronic pain warriors who have experienced exercise as a terrible, painful circumstance, through no fault of our own. Therefore, I confess, I used “movement” in the title as to ease the topic gently into focus so we can all take part in the benefits of healthy activity.

So how does movement help one to live their best life?

According to Harvard Health Publishing’s article “5 Ways Exercise Improves Your Quality of Life“; a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week can help you improve in several areas!

Exhausted

“Despair” By Geralt Altmann, Deutschland, 2012

Feeling Down?

Healthy movement can ward off depression by releasing mood lifting hormones and chemicals, depending on the type of exercise.

Feeling Foggy?

Healthy movement increases blood flow to your brain which can keep your mind sharp.

Missing out on some Z’s?

More activity means better sleep! In fact, Harvard states that regular aerobic exercise is the only known way for healthy adults to increase the amount of deep sleep that they get.

lover-1822498_640

“Lover” Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Here’s a bonus to exercise that one might not think about.

Harvard Health boasts that moderate to vigorous exercise can help you in the sack! Women who performed 20 minutes of cycling boosted their arousal by 169%. Men who exercise 30 minutes a day were 41% less likely than sedentary men to experience ED.

Who’s hopping on that bicycle when they get home? 

Oxygen = living your best life!

Poor levels of fitness can cause a low oxygen environment in our bodies. Consequently, lack of oxygen can weaken the various bodily systems leading to viral infections, DNA mutations, pathogenic bacteria, inflammation, heart disease, and premature aging according to Jane Barthelemy of

Marathon

Image by Stephen Wood from Pixabay

JanesHealthyKitchen.com. While it still is possible to do so, none of the preceding nouns sounds like a great scenario for “Living Your Best Life.

What can you do about low oxygen so you can live your best life already?

Well, there are 24 ways to help with your oxygen levels according to Jane of Janes Healthy Kitchen, but I’ll focus on two topics in keeping with the healthy movement topic.
**BONUS!!… one of these requires sitting down!

  1. Get Fit: It’s a big deal. Fitness can be the largest determination of your O2 levels. That’s all there is to it. You don’t have to overdo it. Just set a goal and then set incremental steps (baby steps) to get there.
  2. Learn Deep Yogic Breathing: Yes, here I go with the breathing again. But this exercise can be done on your couch. Prepare to reap the benefits of oxygenating your blood without breaking a sweat! According to Harvard Health: “Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide.”  If you’re interested in getting a great deal more oxygen into your lungs by sitting on the sofa, check out this informative how-to video.

Feeling old?
You could be accelerating the aging process by being sedentary.

A lot of factors can go into feeling like you fell asleep in your 20’s and woke up feeling like you’ve served 89 years of hard labor. Quite frequently we can attribute that “ancient” feeling to how we treat our very own bodies. Late nights, early mornings, cramming just one more sweet cake in before bed, single-handedly policing the internet (see internet troll) and binge-watching “Orange Is the New Black” for the second time this summer can more than likely create a Sh** storm of nasty side effects. You might think to yourself that living like this is making you happy, but if you really think about it, you’re miserable. According to Science Daily, “Sedentary Lifestyles are Associated with Premature Aging“.  I’m just going to just focus on the sedentary, binge-watching on the couch along with sitting all day in that office chair and let you sort out the rest for another day. You are forcing your body to age faster than necessary! There.. I said it!

So you’re not ready to go to the gym?

I totally get it. The gym can make you feel overwhelmed. It can give you all kinds of jitters; like “who’s that creepy guy staring at me?”.  It can be expensive and those contracts can be daunting!

I have good news for you! There is something that you can do for free, on your way home from work, after work, before work, and during work. It doesn’t involve sets or reps. It doesn’t involve grunting or groaning or even the slight inclination of picking up heavy objects and putting them back down again. You may have guessed by now that this free item cannot be delivered in a box, bag or even ordered on Amazon.

Let’s Walk

The secret to the gateway of increased movement for a better life is to start walking. Indeed, in order to begin living your best life, you’re going to have to get on your feet.

Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen’s article “One Step At a Time: The Hidden Power of a Simple Walk” explains that every single step counts. Each step is incrementally powerful. Walking can be done almost anywhere. Malls, Forests, Cities, Sidewalks, Trails, Paths, Stairs, Rooftops, Basements, Hallways, High School Tracks…. It’s virtually safe for everyone. You can make it a social activity, which is also another step to living your best life! Or do it alone. Better yet, do it with your dog!

Before you throw in the towel and say that there’s no possible way that you can incorporate walking into your day… please know that there was once a time when I could not walk to my mailbox and back because of fibromyalgia, degenerative disk disease, cervical spondylosis, and osteoarthritis. But I kept trying. Eventually, I was able to do it a few times a day and now I’ve got no problem walking 7 miles around the San Diego Zoo or cycling 60 miles in one day!  It took effort and time. It also took a lifestyle change in order to progress further and faster. But I did it and I believe that healthy movement has attributed to my ability to Live My Best Life!

In Conclusion:

All-in-all movement is what our bodies are designed to do. We may want to fight against our predestination with a million excuses but conclusively, we only have one body, one life and a small amount of time to enjoy it. Create the life that you’ve always wanted with one small step… then take another.

Tobi D.

references:

“5 ways exercise improves your quality of life”, Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-advice-for-people-with-heart-problems
“What is Aerobic Exercise” eMedicine Health, https://www.emedicinehealth.com/aerobic_exercise/article_em.htm
Jane Barthelemy, “24 Ways to Increase Blood Oxygenation”, Janes Healthy Kitchen, https://janeshealthykitchen.com/24-ways-increase-blood-oxygenation/
“Internet Troll”,  Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
“Orange is the New Black” https://www.amazon.com/Orange-The-New-Black-Season/dp/B00XVQSKXE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=tobidannemill-20&linkId=878d268fea889be011714f89ebd191f6
JAMA and Archives Journals. “Sedentary Lifestyles Associated With Accelerated Aging Process.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2008, <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080128165734.htm>
Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, “One Step at a Time, The Hidden Power of a Simple Walk”, Habits of Health, https://www.habitsofhealth.com/2019/09/one-step-at-a-time-the-hidden-power-of-a-simple-walk/?fbclid=IwAR2ZUBd7B0PXxUO9QzG711_Y4YvWHK6TCcwgiO-4PRSdWpAp71b4aOwc1Do
Patti Neighmond, “Exercising To Ease Pain: Taking Brisk Walks Can Help”, NPR, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/09/23/754869132/exercising-to-ease-pain-taking-brisk-walks-can-help?fbclid=IwAR2Kn7hIfRaiRYuuJ-ZiWPDwVo1kDvgZtviKu8M38Ayepk5SrxrsWx3ou-g

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