Movement for Mind and Body
Tired? Stressed? Depressed? In Chronic Pain?
Get moving. No matter your physical capacity, there's an activity suited for you.
Of course, you can buy expensive exercise equipment for your own home gym, or when you feel it's safe, make use of that gym membership. In the meantime, don't let a pandemic keep you in couch-potato mode. You have plenty of options:
Take a walk in nature or your neighborhood.
Ride a bike.
Challenge your young 'uns or spouse to a friendly game of tag or basketball or what have you.
Pull up a chair, if being seated is the best way for you to get in a workout. YouTube has just about every kind of movement/exercise video you can imagine.
Take a dip in the pool, if one is available to you.
Choose the stairs over the elevator.
If you're in the right climate, consider converting your summer garden into a field of greens for fall and, just maybe, winter.
Dare to take up yoga or tai chi.
How often and how much?
That depends. Researchers, including those at the famed Mayo Clinic, say, "Any amount of activity is better than none at all." Start out with 5 to 10 minutes a day and gradually increase to at least 30 minutes a day. Feel free to break your 30 minutes into three 10-minute blocks; you'll still be building strength and endurance. Especially in this period of pandemic-related stress, make sure you do something. A brisk walk around the corner might be just what you need to take a break from your workplace computer or overseeing your kids' distance learning.
What are the benefits?
Physical activity gets your blood flowing-literally. And when more oxygen-carrying blood gets to your brain, your heart, every part of your body, you think more clearly, you act more purposefully and mindfully. You simply feel better. Oxygen is what we breathe. It gives us energy. In addition to more mental clarity and energy, activity can
What are the potential hazards?
Of course, going beyond your limits or improperly using exercise equipment could result in an injury. So, know your limits. If you have a physical disability or a major health problem, do check with your primary medical provider before starting any exercise routine.
Also, forget that "no pain-no gain" myth. For sure, pain may be a sign that you have injured yourself. But discomfort is different than pain, and is more likely a sign that you have not exercised or been physically active enough. When muscles and joints get re-activated, you can expect to feel some discomfort. Additionally, that surge in blood flow sometimes causes minor itching - keep moving, it will pass.
How to track your renewed physical activity?
There's the old-fashioned way: jot it down in a journal. If you're more high-tech than that, download any among a host of digital apps that clock miles ridden, steps taken, et cetera and flash what you've achieved on your cell phone or one of those fancy wrist watches. Johnson Space Center even has a
for translating time in the garden-or hauling clean clothes from your laundry room to your clothes closet-into steps taken. And steps turn into miles and … well, you get it.
So - get moving, keep moving.
If you have any questions about movement for mind and body, please log into your account and send
us your question. We are here to help.
Dr. Joe Banken PhD