Benefits of Movement

The benefits of movement are endless. Movement gets your heart beating and blood flowing, working hard to keep your heart and lungs healthy. Movement helps strengthen muscles—increasing coordination and balance. Movement increases endurance. Controlling weight by improving metabolism and burning calories are also benefits of a healthy-lifestyle that includes movement.

Did you know that the benefits of movement include preventative care to reduce risk of health conditions from an inactive lifestyle such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer? Preventative care benefits also extend to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Do you find yourself feeling tired/ lacking energy, having difficulty staying focused, or often stressed out? If so, movement can help! Movement can improve focus and help boost cognitive functioning. Movement helps reduce muscle tension that is often associated with stress and anxiety. It can also improve energy levels and serve as a “reset” when feeling sluggish.

If you are currently physically inactive, it is OK to start slowly. The key is consistency. Try taking small steps and begin implementing these are part of a routine.

How to Get Started with Integrating Movement as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle: Ideas you Can Use Now

• Move 5 minutes each hour if you are sitting at a desk all day.
• Instead of sitting down for phone calls or meetings, stand up or swap your office chair for an exercise ball.
• Choose the stairs over the elevator. Choose walking or biking over driving, when possible.
• Challenge yourself to engage in your movement goals. Try walking with a friend or using an app to hold yourself accountable.
• Find movement activities that are enjoyable to you. Include ones that can be done in a variety of settings and seasons.
• Limit TV use or move while watching TV.
• Incorporate outdoor recreational activities as part of your lifestyle such as hiking, biking, running, sailing, or skiing.
• Include everyday activities such as household chores or yardwork part of a physically active routine.
• Include variety and fun! A combination of warm up/ stretching activities, cardio activities, and strength training activities are ideal.

Recommendations from the Department of Health and Human Services is at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes a week for vigorous exercise. Strength training is recommended at least twice a week.

If it has been a long time since you have moved your body, now is a great time to get started! It is a good idea to check in with your doctor, especially if you are struggling with any chronic health conditions.
Click the link below for more detailed information on Physical Health Guidelines for Americans.

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Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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