This is a guest post from the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition and Jessi Minshall.
Moving is one of the best things you can do for your body and your mind. Moving can help boost your immune system and decrease stress. As a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, I work with clients that misunderstand how easy moving is, and most don’t know where to start. Moving your body doesn’t need to be complicated. I’ve compiled a list of four things that I prioritize to care for my body and mind. As with all movement (especially if you are new to exercise), check in with your doctor, start slow and listen to your body.
Whether you do yoga, chop wood, dance, run, swim or walk (the list is really endless), find some form of repetitive movement that increases heart rate. Pick something you enjoy doing and go for it. Start with 5 minutes and slowly work your way up. Shoot for a total of at least 30 minutes per day. The complete 30 minutes can be accumulated in 10-minute chunks: 10 minutes + 10 minutes + 10 minutes = 30 minutes.
2. Stand on one foot
As we age (and we all are) our balance deteriorates. With weakening balance comes increased risk of falling and injury. Standing on one foot and then the other strengthens the muscles that contribute to good balance. You don’t have to stand on one foot for long to reap the benefits. Try out yoga poses like Tree Pose for a few breaths on each side.
3. Something for your core
And no, it doesn’t have to be crunches. Our spines are capable of 5 movements: twisting (rotation), flexion (forward bending), extension (backward bending), axial extension (straight up) and lateral flexion (side bending). A crunch is a great example of forward flexion but only one movement. Aim to move the spine through its complete range of motion at least once per day. I recommend the yoga poses Cat and Cow to everyone. Cat and Cow can be modified to be seated if hands and knees is too much pressure on the wrists.
4. Be quiet
We get so busy. Have you ever noticed when the power is out, how quiet it is? Take some time for you to just be still and be present. No tv. No social media. Start with 1 minute and day by day slowly increase. Select a place that is relatively quiet and free from distractions. Your mind will wander, and that’s ok. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath, lengthening each exhale.
Today is the day to start taking care of yourself. If you have any questions about the best way to move your body, reach out! You will be amazed at how great movement makes you feel.
Healthy Minds is a monthly column coordinated by Ketchikan Wellness Coalition as a way to share positive stories from people living with mental illness, offer information from local mental health professionals about maintaining mental health in your life, and provide details on tangible activities or actions you can take to strengthen your mental wellness. If you would like to contribute to the column, please contact Romanda Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org