Spring is here and for many people, it feels like a fresh start! As the grass grows greener, the days get longer and the temperatures start to climb, many of us start to feel like new people! With the rebirth of spring, it may also have you motivated to increase your physical activity! This is just perfect because April is Physical Wellness Month. We think it’s no coincidence that it coincides with spring, and we hope that finding a spring in your step won’t be a cliché, but a reality.
Your physical wellness matters! How much or how little you physically move can have direct and lasting impacts on your health. Humans were made to be “physical” beings. Our bodies are designed to move in all directions, to be able to lift things, step up and over things, etc. Not only that but there are also parts of our bodies that when we move them, feel better and have an increased range of motion. Whereas not being physical and having too little to no movement can make you feel worse, not only physically but mentally too! There is a reason you hear people celebrating their walks, runs, and physical successes, it’s because they feel so much better! Maybe you are someone who could benefit from some activity too.
Did you know that we’re supposed to get 150 minutes of focused physical activity a week? That could be 30 minutes 5 days a week or 2.5 hours of exercise a week. Exercise is to be thought of as a focused and intentional choice to move. So, running around at work or chasing kids all day doesn’t really count, sorry, but you do that anyway. We are talking about making the effort to wake up and join a virtual fitness class before you head to work, walking on your breaks, or playing a sport with the kids after work. We’d invite you to take a moment and think about how many minutes you spend a week on intentionally focused activity? Are you doing great? Could you be doing better? Or have you yet to get started? No matter where you are, there is no shame or guilt in that! Because it’s all about how you move forward, literally!
People say, “I don’t have time to exercise.” Yet, if you aren’t making time to exercise, you might need to start to make time for other things like doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, trips to the pharmacy, etc. That is reality. We were made to move! If we aren’t moving, chances are we are gaining weight, becoming extra stiff, and sometimes even losing our own independence, and, in turn, hurting our own health. You need to make time. There is no “best” time to exercise if you aren’t, it’s really going to come down to when you will do it! If you wake up early but decide to scroll your phone instead of moving, that probably isn’t the best time. If you always wait until the end of the day and then talk yourself out of it, then that probably isn’t going to work either. Unless of course, you are just full of excuses, in that case, it’s time for some tough love and major motivation. Only you can move you!
Too tired to exercise? Great, because exercise won’t make you more tired! It’s scientifically proven to increase your energy! In fact, many doctors will encourage their patients who suffer from fatigue to exercise! In a study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in 2008, University of Georgia researchers found that inactive folks who normally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% while decreasing fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise. How? “Contrary to popular belief, exercising doesn’t make you tired — it literally creates energy in your body. Your body rises up to meet the challenge for more energy by becoming stronger,” says nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, a nutrition advisor for the Journey for Control Diabetes program. Instead of another cup of coffee, move! It’s like magic! Start with a few minutes, choose one song or commercial break, and vow to keep moving! Trouble standing or walking? No problem, you can start by just getting used to moving your arms! Don’t be surprised if you end up having more energy, being more productive, and start feeling better than ever!
Physical Wellness is such an important piece to our wellbeing. It helps people to feel physically better, and have more energy, greatly improves people’s mental state, reduces stress, improves clarity, and on top of it, lowers the risk of diseases too. This month we challenge you to move! Just like you eat, drink and sleep, movement should be making your daily list! Set up a time you can devote just to physical wellness. The Wellness Center has been supporting our community in this for over 40 years with our in-person classes, and now our virtual fitness studio, but you don’t have to come to a formal class to reap the benefits of activity. Walking outside or jogging in front of the TV counts too. Depending on your activity level, walking to the mailbox may be your first goal, for others, it may be adding another loop to your daily run! It doesn’t really matter what you do if you are doing it! It may take a while to find something you truly enjoy, and sometimes it can take a while before you start reaping the benefits. If you want to feel better, think better, sleep better, reduce stress, increase productivity and become more independent in your own body, start by moving today, even right now! You can do it! Get a Spring in your step!
Director of The Wellness Center