Why Moving Your Body is SO Important Right Now
For most of us who've been stuck at home with the kids these past few months, life has been a strange vortex of the mundane - cooking, cleaning, making sure the kids are occupied and fed, worrying about the future, and maybe you are also juggling the demands of working from home on top of it! In a strange way, the hours drag on but the days flash before your very eyes! At least, that's how it feels for us here. :) In the mad rush of the new normal, it is easy to forget your own needs while so many demands are being placed on you right now, but now is the time to invest in your health & wellbeing and set aside some time for movement in your day. It doesn't have to be a huge chunk of time either. Even 5 to 15 minutes of exercise at a time, several times a day, can really add up!
I never used to like exercise. In fact, for much of my life, I hated it. Growing up, physical fitness was never really emphasized that much, so I was the one of the "laggers" finishing near last in P.E. class, walking most of the mile we were supposed to run. I felt uncomfortable pushing my body, so I avoided anything that got my heart rate up. Once I started graduate school and felt the need to take care of my body better, I started up running, but I never loved it. It was a chore to get up the motivation and go for a run, and my only enjoyment with it was getting near the end of my route and feeling so glad I didn't have to do it again soon!
This all changed once I discovered pilates. My husband and I started up lessons just prior to our wedding, and I was shocked that I actually LIKED it! It was fun and challenging, and I enjoyed the rush of pushing my body for short periods of time and getting breaks for stretches and relaxation. Once I became a mom, things shifted. Perhaps the physical challenge of labor and delivery made me appreciate my body's own strength and encouraged me to tap into it more frequently. Exercise, for me as a new mom, became my time for myself, an opportunity to look inward and draw on my own inner warrior. It was, and continues to be, a way to let go and destress from whatever has been weighing me down.
Exercise is so important for so many reasons, but for me especially, I find it immensely helpful for my mental health. Challenging my body physically sets up a cascade of endorphins that I draw on for the rest of the day, so I feel more relaxed, calm and energized for the work ahead. My physical achievement builds my mental resiliency to whatever stress the day may bring, while also making me feel more productive and accomplished as the evening draws near.
With our days being more stationary than usual, daily exercise should be made a priority now, since the resources we had access to before are no longer easily available. Our bodies were literally designed to MOVE, and much of our modern day afflictions can be traced to not enough physical exercise. Getting your heart rate up, even for 5-10 minutes, can be helpful in strengthening the cardiovascular system, supporting proper circulation, and even aiding in better sleep and better digestion. Plus, engaging in exercise every day sets a great example for your children to follow as they grow up.
There are a number of different resources online that you can try at home, even free YouTube videos featuring workouts of all kinds. I believe variety is the spice of life, and with our exercise too, it's important to vary things up to continually challenge our bodies. A quick dance routine, a 12 minute body weight strength training workout, and a yoga/stretch series can be great things to break up your day when you're feeling blocked or stressed. I've been getting my kids (not always successfully) to do a brief tabata challenge with me every day, and I've loved engaging them and fostering a love of physical activity that they will hopefully carry on with them for the rest of their lives!
So move your body. Every day. You and your family will thank you.