Reframing What We Think Exercise Is
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The doctor usually dismisses my claim that walking must count (always delivered with an eager face), but it occurred to me that it all actually must count.
I walk an hour a day doing the school runs, split over half an hour, twice a day. I walk the dog, sometimes running alongside her with her (in short bursts), for another hour each day. We'll walk through the woods, where there are little mounds we can run up and little valleys we can run down. I probably walk up and down the stairs about 10 times or more in a day. I play with the dog, chasing her in the garden, trying to get her ball off her to throw it. Playing dance games on the Wii with the kids, lifting the bulging laundry basket a few times a week and bringing it downstairs. Whisking up some bicep action while I make home made mayonnaise. Hoovering, dusting and cleaning the bathroom. Dancing about in the kitchen to Queen while I cook dinner, waving spatulas and spoons about.
It might not seem like it, but it all sounds like exercise to me.
I prefer to forget the term exercise and use the word 'movement' instead.
When you realise that exercise doesn't have to be done with a gym card you start to look at it differently. And it suits those of us who don't always have loads of energy, for whatever reason - whether because of chronic illness, lifestyle or generally feeling under the weather for a few days. Getting out and moving gently is a perfect start, and I think when you think like this, there really is no excuse not to get moving, in whatever way you can. Seeing movement as something anyone can do, really at pretty much any time, kind of takes the pressure off. Take the stairs in the shopping centre. Walk 20 minutes to the shops instead of driving for 5. I get it - the gym is really useful for building strength and endurance in certain areas of the body - but what if you're just starting out and want to get fit? Just get moving.
Look at Darryl, founder of Primal Play. He believes in movement. We're animals, after all, and we were born to do much more than run towards nowhere on a treadmill in a dark, musty gym, gazing up at a flat screen TV. He believes in the healing power of exercising outdoors, too. Take the kids to the park and have a go on the monkey bars. Climb the climbing frame. Run along with the dog. Pick up the skipping rope or the hula hoop the kids left out in the garden and have a go. You can move your body naturally, as it was intended, with minimal equipment and still get out of breath and get your heart pumping. And you'll have fun doing it, too.
Darryl's course uses movement to help build strength and tone in just 30 days.
Move like the animal you are, and find movement in every day.
The way Darryl approaches fitness has honestly changed my whole outlook on exercise and movement. I think it's a great idea.
Find out more about Darryl's Primal Play 30 Day Animal Moves Challenge here.
Photo credit: Clarisse Meyer, Unsplash
How do you incorporate movement into your day? Share your tips with us so we can get some ideas, too!