It goes without saying that if you consult someone in any medical or wellness field, they’ll likely agree that spending some time each day moving continuously is good for you. This is because massive amounts of research over the years have shown time and again that it addresses multiple areas our bodies and minds need to have supplemented in order to feel healthy and balanced. Some specifics it is beneficial to highlight:
- Improved cardiovascular health: Continuous movement can help improve cardiovascular health by strengthening the heart and improving blood circulation. This can lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
- Weight management: Regular physical activity can help with weight management by burning calories and increasing muscle mass. This can lead to a healthier body weight, which can reduce the risk of obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
- Improved mental health: Continuous movement has been shown to have numerous benefits for mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Exercise can also increase the production of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that can improve mood and reduce pain perception.
- Improved sleep: Physical activity can also help improve sleep quality and duration, leading to better overall health.
- Increased energy and productivity: Regular exercise can also increase energy levels and productivity, as it boosts circulation and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues and organs.
- Improved cognitive function: Research has also shown that regular physical activity can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.
The important part, here, is that it doesn’t really matter what kind of continuous movement you’re doing when it comes to getting a lot of these baseline benefits. All you need is some activity that involves moving as many different parts of your body as you can, and challenging your balance. Examples that fit this are walking (trying to walk a little faster than a stroll if possible), dancing, cooking (but being sure to stay moving the entire time while doing it), climbing (rocks or furniture), tai chi, yoga, stretching, crawling around and playing with your pets, sporting activities, weight training, cardio classes, and many more.
When figuring out how to bring more continuous movement into your life, what is most important is focusing on your sense of play. Playfulness is what encourages us to keep wanting to engage, and a form of continuous movement that you can infuse with a feeling of playfulness will keep drawing you back to it naturally. This, more than telling yourself what you “should” be doing, or comparing yourself to others who are more active, is how you can lean in to what works with your internal sense of fun and joy.
So, think about some kind of continuous movement it would be easy to try today, and experiment with it. Set a timer and try it out for 5, 10, or 15 minutes, and pay attention during and afterward to how you feel from it. If you like it, keep experimenting with it tomorrow and the next day. Change the amount of time, or other factors to how you’re doing it.
If you don’t like it, consider whether the challenge of learning to like it could be fun, or move on to another idea. The possibilities for ways to move continuously are nearly endless, and can be easily folded in to an activity you already do with a little creative thinking.
Keep this in mind for any time you may be struggling with anxiety, stress, depression or ADHD symptoms. A little movement is often a welcome respite from negative thought spirals or difficulty finding motivation or hope.
What kinds of continuous movement are coming to mind when you think about engaging with it playfully?