Why Movement Is More Important Than Exercise

It seems we’ve gotten a little turned around. 

If I were to have a deliciously healthy breakfast of chicken sausage and onions over a bed of quinoa and then have fast food and soda for lunch and dinner, would you look back on my day and conclude that it was a nutritional day for me? 

Of course not, that would be absurd! 

Yet droves of people are dragging themselves to the gym to sweat it out for an hour, and then slumping back into their cars to drive to work, or collapsing over computer stations and laptops, or drooping over children and messes and toys all day only to settle into the couch at night, reflecting on their day and patting themselves on the back for the hour sweat session.

Your body doesn’t work this way.  It is responding to the forces you place on it from the minute you wake up until the minute you go to sleep, just like analyzing your nutritional goals requires a view of the entire day.  If you were to exercise for 60 minutes every single day, that is essentially 0.04% of your day.  What is happening the other 99.96% of the time?

I’m not discounting daily exercise, and I strive to exercise for 60 minutes each day myself. But I can’t view that 60 minutes as a checkmark of completion on my daily movement.  It’s 60 minutes of exercise AND now how else can I move my body better throughout the day?

Here are a few ways to keep moving a top priority:

  1. Be DYNAMIC with your work station. Most of my work requires a computer station.  I purchased an over the bed rolling tray for less than $40 to act as a mobile work station. I can raise it up when I want to stand or lower it down when I’m ready to sit.  I can also roll it in front of a window so I can give me ocular muscles a break by looking as far as the eye can see every few minutes!
  2. Choose a moving family night. While movie nights are a favorite for the kids and I, I try to balance out those sedentary evenings with other things like playing ping pong, going bowling, playing laser tag, or even a simple game of hide and go seek.
  3. Skip the close spot.  We all love to find that killer front row parking spot at the store.  But parking in the back not only lessens the stress of trying to squeeze into the popular up-close spots, but it affords you the opportunity to get just a few more steps in.
  4. Take the stairs. I have an unrealistic fear of being stuck in an elevator.  It’s never happened but I also have a fear of enclosed spaces so I usually try to find the stairwell and burn a few extra calories.  It’s a fun game to try to beat the person that took the elevator plus I have never heard of anyone getting stuck in a stairwell.
  5. Try to cook or bake with fewer gadgets. Our ancestors didn’t rely on a Kitchen Aid mixer when baking cookies and there are some interesting studies recently about how we are losing our fine motor control by out-sourcing the work of our fingers and wrists to machines.  When possible, beat an egg with a fork, stir that hearty mixture with a wooden spoon, chop, and dice and mince your ingredients using just a cutting board and knife or mortar and pestle.
  6. Think about your posture and alignment. Sure it’s easy to lean against a wall when chatting with a friend or gravitate towards that counter when we’re brushing our teeth. But standing our ground and owning the plot of land we’re standing on sets up a chain reaction in our body. When we align our parts in a neutral position, the muscles that slingshot off those bones are now in their most optimal length-tension relationship. Which means they’re working for us, even if we’re standing still!
  7. Take a hike! Not as in the comeback intended to mean “GET LOST!” but really take a walk. Need to call your friend back? Return the call as you walk around the neighborhood. Been meaning to listen to that interesting podcast? Put in some headphones and kill two birds with one stone. You’ll not only be crossing off an item on your “list of things to do” but you’ll be getting a daily dose of movement, Vitamin D, and
    nature. Now that’s a WIN, WIN, WIN!

    This doesn’t mean you can’t still collapse into the couch at the end of a long day to enjoy your favorite show.  But this is your “brownie”.  That means all the other movements that led up to it were fairly nutritious in nature.  Set your intention to move your body better and more each day!

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