3 Forms Of Movement Your Body Needs Every Week

3 Forms Of Movement Your Body Needs Every Week

Walking has gained popularity as a simple and convenient exercise that offers a variety of health benefits, and many studies confirm this fact. For instance, a study published in a 2023 edition of the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that taking at least 2,300 steps a day can lower your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. What’s more, walking and other weight-bearing exercises help to prevent osteoporosis, according to a study published in the journal, Nature Scientific Reports.

While walking is beneficial, some health and fitness experts, like Melissa Boyd, argue that it may not be considered “high-quality” exercise. This is something that Boyd discusses with her clients, some of whom listen to social media influencers who say a daily walk can help them achieve a beach body.

“Our lives have gotten so busy—we commute, sit all day, then are exhausted at night—that getting a short walk in makes you feel like you’ve done this big, exponential thing,” Boyd, a certified personal trainer and coach with Tempo, an online personal training platform in San Francisco, told CNN. “But walking is really a baseline movement your body requires to function well, to help with things like circulation and digestion, and to decompress.”

Rather than performing just one form of movement, Boyd tells her clients that three types of movement contribute to overall health and fitness: Everyday movement, athletic movement, and social movement.

“It’s important to think of movement in these different categories because not moving throughout the day has become normalized,” Boyd told CNN. “Our lives are so sedentary, many of us are trying to dig ourselves out of a movement deficit. But exercise is different from physical movement.”

1. Everyday movement

The body requires movement, such as walking, stretching, and bending every day. Dr. Carl Cirino, a sports medicine surgeon at HSS Orthopedics with Stamford Health in Connecticut, agrees with Boyd that the body needs more than walking or one form of movement to be functionally fit.

Dr. Cirino says that people need to train and stretch their muscles and tendons in a variety of directions because this helps with all the bending, twisting, and rotating they do every day. Pilates and yoga are two activities that are highly effective because of the stretching and strengthening involved in these exercises.

“Stretching is also incredibly easy and something you can do when you wake up and before you go to bed,” Cirino told CNN.

Additionally, Cirino said having loose and flexible muscles enhances balance and stability, which protects against falls and injuries during any physical activity. Increasing your heart rate several times a week is also beneficial for heart health.

2. Athletic movement

This type of activity can be done a few times a week to improve fitness or to train for a sport. To get substantial health benefits, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend getting at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. These activities can include walking, running, swimming, and bicycling.

The guidelines further recommend getting at least 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running, swimming laps, tennis, heavy yard work, or aerobic dancing. These activities help in muscle development, improve stamina, and elevate overall fitness levels.

The guidelines also suggest getting an equal combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

When it comes to physical activity, Boyd and Cirino both recommend doing something that you enjoy that doesn’t seem like a workout, such as playing kickball or pickleball.

“We see kids here in sports medicine whose parents want them to play baseball, but they don’t want to do it,” Cirino told CNN. “It’s the same with exercise. You need to find something that’s interesting and easy—maybe an activity your friends are doing—and use that as the basis to build good habits.”

3. Social movement

Social movement involving other people plays a major role in improving not just physical health but mental health as well. For instance, connecting with others has been shown to improve mood, boost memory, and build self-esteem. A brisk walk in the neighborhood with friends, walking with coworkers during lunch, dancing for fun, or playing volleyball with friends are all good forms of social movement.

Engaging in enjoyable activities that foster social connections also helps in maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle.

For many people, incorporating these three activities into their daily lives may seem overwhelming, particularly those who juggle busy schedules. Boyd suggests breaking down these different movements into “exercise snacks.” In this way, you’re getting in the movements that your body needs.

“Maybe get a walking pad and do some of your meetings while walking slowly on the pad,” Boyd told CNN. “Maybe every time you go to the bathroom, you do 20 squats or every time you get water, you do ten push-ups against a wall. If you attach these exercise snacks to something else you’re already doing, you can make it more of a habit. I’ve seen huge success with this.”

Looking At Exercise From a Different Perspective

Just the thought of having to exercise may stop some people before they even get started. However, viewing exercise as essential movements your body requires to function properly, remain fit, and interact with others can change your perspective about the activity, Boyd said. You may then be more willing to fit weekly workouts into your daily schedule.

The good news is that fitting new workout activities into your daily routine doesn’t mean that you have to make a drastic lifestyle change overnight. Actually, it’s more effective to begin slowly with only a few exercises and gradually add more physical activity.
“What I usually see is that people love the way this starts to make them feel,” Boyd said. “Then the stronger they become, the more they want to move even more. The movement inspires movement.”

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