Live to Move
A fundamental part of being human is movement says Dr Kelly Mcgonigal; health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. Her book the joy of movement doesn’t tell us why we should exercise but instead shows us how to fall in love with movement. She recommends that our chosen activity allows us to engage with life in the way that we want to and that this could be through yoga, dancing, or walking in nature.
How can we make moving more a regular feature of our lives?
- Find ways to make it so that it’s not a chore. Your legs don’t know whether you are squatting in the garden or in the gym.
- Move in a way that gives you joy, it’s a very personal thing.
- Think of something you love such as wildlife then think of an exercise that allows you to experience more wildlife such as taking walks in nature.
- Strengthen a relationship by joining a friend or family member to do something they enjoy.
- Make movement a part of your life; run errands by cycling or walking.
- We can also use movement as a way to deepen our connection with other people; I have always enjoyed time walking or cycling as a family.
Actually movement is essential to human survival and regular movement improves our physical and mental health. Exercise actually changes the brain biochemistry to be more receptive to joy i.e.it increases sensitivity of dopamine, endocannabinoid and endorphin receptors. Exercises not only can improve how we feel but did you know improved fitness over time is linked to higher brain volumes in middle-aged persons! As a post menopausal woman I’ll take every extra bit of brain I can get!
Having a Midlife Moment?
Believe it or not, a midlife crisis could have a silver lining — it may reintroduce you to the importance of physical fitness. Perhaps you revisit your goals and decide to become more physically active. Don’t do it because you cling to your youthful days or because you want to compete with younger people, do it because you value your health.
Everyone can gain from being more active. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own.
In a study by Rachel Cooper et al in 2014, lower levels of performance at age 53 in the following 3 tests was associated with higher rates of mortality.
- grip strength
- chair rise speed
- and standing balance time
Even at this relatively young age (it’s very young actually because it’s my age) these measures identify groups of people who are less likely than others to achieve a long and healthy life. It is worth noting that there was some evidence that standing balance time was more strongly associated with mortality than the other two measures. Source
Are you Fit for life?
The 5 Pillars of physical fitness are power, speed, strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. But you don’t need to go to the gym to test your fitness. It’s all about our ability to function; can you get up off the floor, itch between your shoulder blades, lift your heavy shopping bags, touch your toes, reach the top shelf, unscrew the jar of sauerkraut (good for the gut microbes), balance on 1 leg to put your shoes on? And finally can you leap out of the comfy chair in a split second to get your delivery from the door?
Research has shown that it’s important to have variety in our exercise routines to improve our physical endurance, muscular strength, balance, and flexibility. Each one has different benefits. Doing one kind also can improve your ability to do the others, and variety helps reduce boredom and risk of injury. Source
As a Physiotherapist I am passionate about cross training and using Pilates and Yoga to enhance our performance on the trails, in the pool or on the golf course.
Did I leave it too late?
Absolutely not! Being physically active in mid-life increases the odds of being active in older age. A recent study published in the BMJ showed that middle aged and older adults, including those with cardiovascular disease and cancer, stand to gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more physically active, regardless of past activity levels. Source
So seize the day, grasp the nettle and move more today and join Phillipa for free in February
Prefer a Podcast? Catch Phillipa’s TopTips to become more active in this episode:
Fitness, why bother?
This time the tables are turned and I am the interviewee. Graham Coath is doing his bit for health and wellness and he says ‘’I want to help people to live a better life’’. This we definitely have in common and so Graham and I chatted about what it means to be fit, the benefits of movement in midlife, how to tackle getting fitter and how to seal the deal and develop healthy habits that last a lifetime. Grab your earpods, put on your pedometer and take some steps or feel free to stand on 1 leg or hold a small child at arms length, whatever floats your boat. A giggle and some good common sense advice ensues.
As always please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.
I look forward to seeing you again soon on Zoom.
With all my best wishes.
Move More, Feel Better, Live Longer