The other night, a friend and I had a conversation about how modern society is becoming more and more sedentary.
We see health issues created by the standards and premiums we place on leisure. Sitting in artificial lighting, hunched over at desks all day, opting for elevators and escalators over stair- these are just a few norms that are counterintuitive to our nature. For the most part, getting daily exercise and spending time outside in nature with natural sunlight is an afterthought.
It’s crazy to think about how far we’ve moved away from our core as human beings and have become domesticated, for better or for worse. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to get to the later stages of my life and not be able to walk or move healthily. That is why I hold physical exercise so near and dear to my heart.
Being mobile is especially important if you sit for the majority of the work day. If we’re not careful, this way of being can turn into an overall passive lifestyle. Recently, there has been a surge in ergonomics in the office workspace environment (think standing desks) to combat the long-term side effects of sitting at a desk all day. Some of these side effects can include slumped and hunched shoulders, back pain, and overall muscle tightness.
One way I personally try to combat this is to make exercise a priority in my life. On days I can’t make it to the gym, do yoga, or go for a run, I’ll make sure to take the stairs, walk where appropriate, or carve out time on my lunch break to get moving in some creative way. A great way to wake your body up during the day, even if you find you don’t have much time, is to literally get up and jump up and down. Now this might sound silly, and you may think there is no point to it, but jumping can actually benefit your health.
Jumping helps activate our lymph system, whose main function is to remove toxic waste from our cells and bloodstream; basically, it is our body's sewage system. When you jump, your blood vessels open and close several times, allowing the fluid to move back and forth to remove waste from your body. Keep in mind that many types of exercise activate your lymph system and promote healthy blood flow.
It is also important to remember that besides the obvious physical benefits of exercise and intentional movement, there are so many mental health benefits as well. Want to change your mental state or emotional state? Use your body! The two are more connected than you might think.
The body is an effective tool for changing and affecting the mind. This can be done very easily which is the best part! You can go for a walk, jog, or run, jump around, dance, lift weights, do yoga, play a sport- really anything that requires you to use your whole body together in unison.
I challenge you to incorporate some type of daily movement practice into your daily life. I'd bet that it will leave you feeling healthier, stronger, and vital. Our bodies are designed to move, so why not see where you can take even just a few minutes out of our day to get up and moving? It may just be the best thing you can do for yourself!
What physical activity do you do throughout your workday?
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