Last month, bonebalance™ was pleased to co-sponsor the Healthy Ageing Conference, hosted by Move it or Lose it. Positive ageing and the science of happiness were high on the agenda and between each speaker, we got to our feet and did a minute of movement, choreographed by the Move it or Lose it team. The moves were fun, the music was spritely and we all felt better for it.
There is undeniably joy to be found in movement – not to mention a big tick for bone health! Yet our busy lifestyles, work commitments and demands of family life, leave us with precious little time to be active. If that’s you, read on because such small bursts of activity are indeed precious little time with the power to raise your heart rate, boost your metabolism, lift your spirits, ease aches and pains and put a smile on your face.
We discount the value of small bursts of activity at our peril. In fact, it’s better to do activity a little and often, rather than engaging in a long stint of exercise before sitting down again for hours on end.
Why movement matters
As we age, our bodies and minds often face new challenges. Our metabolism slows down, stress levels rise and the demands of everyday life can leave us feeling overwhelmed. It’s easy to fall into a sedentary routine, but this is precisely why movement becomes even more critical at this stage of life. Here are just a few compelling reasons why movement matters:
Mood Boosting Magic
Movement releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones, which can instantly elevate your mood. Dancing, in particular, has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing.
Regular movement, even in short bursts, can boost your energy levels and combat mid-afternoon slumps. It can help improve our stamina, making daily tasks feel less exhausting.
When you’re up on your feet putting weight through your body, you’re giving your bones a boost. As you work against gravity and your muscles pull on your bones to move your limbs, you’re triggering your bone building cells to respond.
Movement can be a form of stress relief. When you dance or engage in any physical activity, you’re present in the moment, free from worries. This allows you to clear your mind and release tension.
Adding more movement into your day
Now you know why movement is so important, here are some ideas to incorporate short bursts of movement into your daily routine:
Start the day with a five-minute stretching routine. Reach for the sky, touch your toes, and gently wake up your muscles. (Bet it makes you smile as well!)
When you feel stressed or low, put on your favourite song and dance like nobody’s watching. One song later – your spirits will be boost and your heart rate elevated.
If you have a desk job, take short breaks to stand, stretch or walk around your workspace.
Walk and Talk:
Instead of sitting down for a phone call, go for a walk while you chat. Even if it’s indoors, walking while talking will provide valuable steps.
Gardening is a therapeutic and physically engaging activity. Spending a few minutes tending to your garden has the added benefit of being in the fresh air and connecting to nature.
A little and often
The joy of five-minute movement bursts is that they’re quickly done and easily added at intervals throughout the day. Start small. Make a note of when you do a burst of activity and how you felt afterwards. Remember, just five minutes of dancing, stretching or walking up and down the stairs will benefit your mind, body and bones.
Start right now and have fun rediscovering the joy of movement one step at a time.