The Peace Region has been enjoying some warmer weather and now is the time for us to take advantage of the sunshine and fresh air, and schedule movement into our daily routines. Our bodies were made to keep active so movement is an essential part of a healthy life. How do we shake the winter dust off and get our bodies moving? First, it’s important that we look at how being regularly active can benefit us and second, we should choose movement that we enjoy. If you do a quick internet search you will find plenty of information on the benefits of being active. In this article, we will briefly discuss three of these benefits.
First off, being active on a consistent basis helps a person regulate their weight. All types of movement burns calories and this calorie burn determines whether we lose or maintain our current weight. It’s important to note that different types of movement will have different calorie expenditures. For example, a daily walk will not burn quite as many calories as a strength training routine, but both of these activities have physical and mental benefits.
This leads us into the second benefit, which is: movement improves our mental health. Being active lifts our mood through the release of endorphins and helps us to feel more confident in our own skin and abilities. It decreases stress and negative thinking, helps us gain energy, and helps us build the mental toughness needed to face life’s challenges.
The third benefit is that being active promotes connection between us and other people. With the abundance of technological connection available to us it’s easy to lose out on face-to-face time with those around us. Engaging in activities with our family and friends, or even taking up a team sport, can help us to build meaningful, supportive, relationships, and a healthy life.
Now, choosing what kind of movement you want to incorporate in your life is a personal decision. Movement can have many definitions based on a person’s individual circumstances and interests. For one person, it could mean having a dedicated exercise routine in a gym, for another it could mean playing a sport. For yet another person, it could mean taking their dog on a daily walk. Consider the activities you already enjoy and then look for ways to increase your time spent doing them.
I know that for many people a busy life can crowd out time for being active. If we find that daily movement is lacking in our own life we need to analyze how we are using our time everyday. It’s beneficial to draw up a list of our daily routine and see if we can cut down on non-essential tasks to make room for movement.
There are many more benefits to incorporating movement into our daily routine. I encourage you to do your own research and then think about how these benefits translate into your own life. Doing so will make it easier for regular movement to become a priority for us.
Caitlyn Harbottle is a Peace Region nutrition coach.