We all know that when we enjoy an activity, we tend to stick with it longer. Apply those same principles to the way you exercise and move with joy.
BY: KATHERINE RATLIFF, MS, RDN
We all know that staying active is part of a healthy lifestyle. But how you decide to stay active is all up to you. Some people love going to the gym, while others love walking, running, yoga, biking… you get the picture.
The most important piece of the puzzle is this: find a form of activity that brings you joy.
Can you think of something? Good. That’s the sort of activity to include in your weekly routine. Listen to your body, and you may find that the type of movement you need varies day-to-day. Perhaps some days, you’re craving a run. Other days, your body wants a long walk or bike ride. The key is to listen to your body and do what brings you joy.
So what are the benefits of daily movement?
The benefits associated with a regular joyful movement routine are (almost) limitless. Let’s dive into a few particularly intriguing benefits.
1. Heart health
Exercise provides many benefits to cardiovascular health. It lowers blood pressure, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, and control triglyceride levels.
2. Blood sugar control
Both aerobic and resistance exercise support blood sugar regulation through insulin-independent and insulin-dependent mechanisms. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
3. Brain Function
Physical activity improves learning and memory, and reduces the risk of cognitive decline in aging adults. Studies also suggest that regular activity can improve mental health outcomes in individuals with anxiety and depression.
4. Digestive health
Consistent exercise promotes healthy digestion and has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Physical activity also appears to have a positive effect on our intestinal microbiome by increasing the diversity and growth of the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Now that we understand the health benefits, let’s get moving!
Daily physical activity doesn’t have to be something you dread! Start by taking an inventory of the types of activities you enjoy that get you moving. Not only does it include sports activities, but it can also include daily opportunities that simply allow you to move for at least 30 minutes in a day.
Here’s a list to help you get your ideas flowing:
- Rock climbing
- Strength training
- Cleaning the house (for all you clean freaks out there!)
- Running around after your kids (or dog)
- Ultimate frisbee
- Fly fishing
- Shopping at the mall
- Taking a walking break to gossip with your co-worker
Pick between 4 to 7 activities, and schedule it into your weekly calendar. Repeat each Sunday, and see how setting your weekly activities can help you get moving.
Time to get your movin’ groove on!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: ERIK ODIIN
Katherine Ratliff, MS, RDN is a Minneapolis-based Registered Dietitian with a passion for transforming food into simple, delicious, and nourishing meals. She believes the path to health and happiness comes from focusing on foods that help nourish, heal and grow. By focusing on the six pillars of health, Katherine helps others create vibrant and meaningful lives. To read more, visit her at At Katherine’s Table.