When you take a look around your current environment, can you find at least two ways you can sneak in movement? Maybe it's walking to your co-workers desk to relay information instead of emailing. Or maybe it's simply standing up from the couch. Finding more opportunities to move is one of the easiest ways to improve our health and/or reach our goals, but is often a strategy overlooked.
More often than not, we’re told we need to sweat “x” amount of calories in order to achieve our goal. We purchase fit bits or download fancy apps that tell us when we've worked hard enough. We begin migrating further away from our own intuition, our own voice and start becoming more dependent on technology. We don't know what it means to be hungry, full, tired, or in pain. We keep trudging along because our devices tell us we need to burn "90 more calories" in order to enjoy that extra tablespoon of peanut butter. Sounds pretty crazy huh? But, does it also sound familiar?
Achieving a goal (ex. weight loss), is more about balancing how our body is perceiving and receiving stress (inflammation), in the forms of exercise, nutrition, recovery, emotions, relationships, environment etc. Chronic inflammation is the culprit of nearly every health disease out there: weight gain, cancer, GI issues and arthritis.
So imagine if you over stress your nervous system with a challenging workout, then ate something YOUR BODY negatively reacts to (yes, it could be chicken breast, sweet potatoes and broccoli), and then were stuck in traffic on the drive home and when you got home got into a fight with your spouse? Now imagine that repeated for weeks? You train harder because you need to manage the external stress you're dealing with. You decide to stay at the gym longer to sweat out the stress. And then before you know it your body is consistently puffy, your needing two extra cups of coffee, you develop insomnia, and your always on edge, irritable and just don't feel like yourself. This is a perfect example of how exercising more may not be the right recipe for success.
In my opinion, the belief that you need to do more is overrated. Most likely we're already overstimulated (work, stress, travel, etc). Overstimulation can often lead to unusual hunger cues, odd cravings and strained relationships. We spend too much time in front of a computer and not enough time sitting in the sun. We spend our evenings walking in place (treadmill) alone in a dark gym instead of taking a stroll in our neighborhood with our kids.
So what am I trying to say?...
Achieving your goal needs to address a few key areas and I'd encourage you to reflect on the following:
- Are the action steps realistic?
- Am I engaged in the process?
- Am I enjoying this?
- Can I stay consistent?
- And as an added bonus, can I picture myself doing this in a month, 6 months a year?
How you answer these questions, will most likely translate into how successful and happy you'll be through the process. Therefore, what if we tried adopting the idea of "I'm going to find more opportunities to move" verses "I'm going to get to the gym "x" amount of days, sweat "x" amount of calories etc". We may move closer towards our own intuition, may improve our ability to listen to our body and in the end make progress.
How much more realistic does it sound? How engaged do you feel? How much more do you enjoy movement when it's not run by numbers (calories, time, frequency)? And how much more consistent do you feel you'll be?
Well, my hopes are that the idea of moving more often helps open up more opportunities for us to step back into what we were born to do. To MOVE.