• Kamal Abdul-Khaaliq

Why Movement Matters

It’s the New Year. Everyone (and their brother) is out to finally make this the year that they accomplish all their health and fitness goals.

Some goals are about vanity, like losing weight.

Some are medical, like getting off a medication.

Some are performance-related, like completing a Spartan race.

Whatever goal you have, everyone knows that in order to change their health, they must change how they approach how they live.

But where to start?

Well the media, Inst-models, and gyms would have you think that you need to buy the latest fat-burning supplement, join the newest calorie-torching class, and count every calories and macro like your life depends on it.

And all those things may help you, at least for a little while.

However, what if none of those things are what you actually NEED?

What if all you did was make your resolution to move better? Instead of starting a program that is designed to be short-term, what if this year you said, “screw that,” and made a vow to improve the quality, and quantity, of your movement?

Modern Life Has Made It Easy to Avoid Movement

It’s really no secret that our lives today are designed to allow for as little movement as possible. Remote controls for literally everything in our home, smart phones and computers. You can even have every meal you eat delivered to you now.

We sit in our cars. We sit at our desks. We sit when we get home. Then we lie down to go to sleep.

It’s no wonder that everyone you know complains of pain somewhere. Having a “bad back, ““creaky knees,” or a “stiff neck” are accepted as commonplace.

However, there are some amazing characteristics to moving better and more frequently:

a. we tend to be happy and confident in who and where we are in life

b. we have a more youthful spirit and increased energy

c. we forge better relationships with others

d. we are empowered to take risks

e. we have increased focus.

f. we are stronger, smarter, and calmer

g. we work more efficiently

h. we communicate better

In the article “The Real (and surprising) Reasons Healthy Movement Matters,” Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD presents 4 keys as to why movement matters:

1. Movement is how we interact with world

As an infant we engage the world with our wobbly unstable body, grabbing things, rubbing things on our faces and mouths, falling, getting up, and clinging to our parents for dear life.

Our only means of interacting in the world was direct exposure to taste, touch, sound, smell, and hearing. We have forgotten at an earlier age we use to explore our 5 senses so unapologetically that we learned how to move more and better as a result.

2. Movement helps us connect and build relationships with others

In a study where people’s facial expressions were paralyzed due to Botox injections, they were unable to read other people’s emotions, or be able to describe their own. There are moments when it’s a human need to mirror each other for understanding and common ground.

Also, as much as we communicate verbally, our nonverbal communication is just as, if not more so, important. Our face, hands, and arms movements can say just as much as our words. Think of the greatest communicators/orators you know. Were they just communicating with their mouths, or expressing themselves through movement?

3. Movement helps us think, learn, and remember

As much as we are used to believing that thinking happens only in our heads, the truth is, thinking takes place in our entire body.

Research calls this embodied cognition. How we move literally influences how we think, process information, and make choices. We can thank the part the brain called the Cerebellum, which is located at the base of the brain. At one time it was believed the function of the cerebellum was for balance, posture, coordination, and motor skills. We now know it plays a role in emotions and thoughts too.

Did you know moving better increases new neurons for better brain health…go figure!

So movement also:

- slows age-related diseases and supports existing brain structures

- increase levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF) which improves memory

- decrease oxidative stress

- (in the case this happens) recover injured, damaged, or an inflamed brain

4. Movement affects how we feel physically and emotionally

This is probably a no brainer but here is something that may blow your mind….

Research on comparing exercise alone to dieting found that people who change their bodies with exercise rather than dieting feel

Better about their bodies- about their capabilities - about their health - about their overall quality of life - EVEN IF THEIR WEIGHT ULTIMATELY DOESN’T CHANGE!

Which begs the question are you moving towards a short-term illusion of who you want to be or sustainable confident sexy model you already are becoming!!

There we have it folks! Movement is the game changer you desperately need and already have. Behind any fitness goal worth its salt, you must move more and better!

What would it be like to get out of your car without letting exhaustion and pain limit how much energy you have for yourself and/or loved ones at home?

What would be different in your life if your lower back did not restrain you from hiking?

Connect with us at Invictus and we will guide you to what your body is waiting for you to remember. You live well when you move with intention.

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