Getting your body moving doesn’t have to hurt. And caring for yourself with fitness doesn’t mean that you have to run a marathon or push a tractor tire across a gym.
In fact, there’s lots of evidence that shows that excessive exercise does more harm than good. While it’s essential to be active. It’s also important to choose to do it in a way that creates the most effective conditions for health and healing.
The World Health Organization reports that 1.9 million deaths per year are attributed to physical inactivity. In July of 2012, The Lancet, a leading expert on global health, called physical inactivity “a pandemic with far-reaching health, economic, environmental and social consequences.”
Since then, the trend has only continued and become worse. On the other hand, intense exercise has been shown to decrease well-being, due in part to the fact that it increases inflammation in your body.
You will need to incorporate three different perspectives as you grow your new practice of self-care through movement,
Be fully conscious of how powerful this low-impact, low-stress plan is. What you believe about the benefit of an activity directly affects the outcome.
For example, a study of hotel housekeepers demonstrated that the ones who had been taught about the benefits of their activity during work actually lost inches and pounds. The others, who had not been taught about the benefits but did the same exact amount of activity, did not lose any.
A Japanese study focused on walking, which tends to be among the easiest exercises to perform, no matter what your age or fitness level, and it can also be turned into an effective high intensity exercise. Don’t let the phrase high intensity interval training or HIIT, as it is known, scare you off. The important element is the difference in the two intensities, not so much that the high intensity be grueling and painful. In fact, it can be quite pleasant and yet deliver the highest quality of health benefits at the same time.
Intermittent Intensity Walking Practice
Simply walk for 3 minutes at a speed that feels like you are late for something and trying to make up the time, like you’re late for the bus. Then, stroll as if you have all the time in the world for the next 3 minutes. Alternate this pattern for approximately 30 minutes each day for at least 5 days per week.
If you find it difficult to make time to walk, think about someone you love very much for whom you want to be around and be healthy. Look at a photo of them or bring them up in your mind. Think about how much you love them and want to be there to spend time with them. Then, see yourself doing the Intermittent Intensity Walking Practice. Picture their face smiling with happiness that you’re taking care of yourself.