If you had a free 30 minutes of your day, what are the top 3 things you would spend that time doing?? Sleep? Get some extra work done? Spend time with family/friends? Scroll social media? Binge watch your favorite shows? How long would your list be before you said something like “I could really use this time to move my body or stretch my mind!”?
For a lot of us exercising or slowing down to just breathe wouldn’t have even been in our top 5. We spend so much time either wanting to spend our free time getting more work done or being sedentary rather than taking the time for our physical health.
How much intentional movement do you get each day? Even those of you with physically demanding jobs - outside of that, how much time do you spend even stretching? Did you know that just 30 minutes a day intentionally moving your body improves your mood for up to 12 hours after completion?! That means even just walking or stretching for a straight 30-minutes releases enough endorphins to boost your mood for the day!
When we hear the word “exercise” most people are quick to think that it has to be a grueling, sweaty, hardcore workout to get any type of gain. And yes, although those types of workouts have their added benefits, intentionally moving your body from even just walking or stretching has huge rewards! Regardless of your age, shape or size, working out has the following benefits:
- Improves brain performance which increases productivity
- Sharpens your memory
- Prevents signs of aging
- You get sick less often
- Boosts self confidence
- Better sleep
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Improves your mental health and mood
- Builds muscle over time - in turn your body will then burn 3x more calories than fat
The list could go on for days, but aren’t even just these benefits enough motivation to move?! Setting aside 30 minutes is only 2% of the 24 hours we are given each day. Why not set your alarm early and make the remaining 98% of your day great?! I for one know that intentionally getting up each morning to move my body, creates a clear mind to where I am ready to tackle whatever the day may bring.
Now for those of you who do not enjoy working out or even just thinking about where to start may add some stress and not be so motivating. I get it! I’ve been there, done that countless times! Some of us do not like crowds and the gyms are intimidating. The biggest advice I could give to anyone when it comes to starting a movement routine is don’t over complicate things and start small! Here are a few ideas from starting out small leading up to more challenging activities as you get more comfortable:
- Yoga/Stretching - this is a great way to do guided breathing and prepare your body for more challenging movements. Great for your muscles and joints too! Google, Pinterest and YouTube have so many free resources on all
- Walking - even starting with 10 minutes a day is good; increase your time every few days when you feel ready!
- Swimming - this is great for people who have joint issues; the water takes the pressure off!
- Running - gets your heart pumping a bit faster and is a great stress reliever!
- Dancing - this is a fun one and you get to be creative! So many free videos online from jazz to hip hop to even line dancing! Can be done in a gym if you sign up or in the comfort of your own home where you get to express yourself with no limits!
- Bodyweight Exercises - try this and do as many rounds as possible! 10 high knees (each side), 10 jumping jacks, 10 squats, 5 push ups, 5 sit ups. As you get better, increase the number of each exercise.
- Weightlifting - although the gym is a great place as they have the most equipment, even a few sets of lighter weights at home will get your body moving! Again, a lot of free resources on Pinterest and YouTube where they show you each move as to minimize injury.
Find something you enjoy or change it up each day/week to keep your interest. Whatever you choose, do it intentionally and you will reap the benefits in even just a short amount of time each day. Being consistent will help turn this time into a part of your daily routine to where it will just come naturally. The 21/90 rule explains this perfectly - it takes 21 days to make a habit and 90 days to make it a permanent lifestyle change.
My second biggest piece of advice is get someone to hold you accountable. Having someone even just text you daily something as simple as “You got this!”, “Have you moved your body today?” or “Remember your why!”. Better yet, have your accountability partner do it with you! Go on a walk with them and just talk or if you’d rather just have them keep you accountable via text, put on a podcast that stretches your mind or even makes you laugh or listen to music while you’re moving your body. The time will go by faster than you think and you will enjoy it more.
So here’s my challenge to you, start a routine this week of just 30 minutes a day intentionally moving your body. Choose your activity based on your physical ability; once you feel up to it, change it up to something more challenging. Always give yourself a variety of movement options so as to not get bored. Once you start and create that habit, it will become second nature and a part of a happier and healthier you!