Eating real food, movement (moving your body) and connecting with something you love are key aspects of health. Sometimes, without any intent, this trinity converges organically … moving will often bring about better food choices (e.g. a bag of chips doesn’t sit well during a run) … and if you are moving outside, you might start connecting more with nature: “trees, leaves, grass, gardens, breezes, bright moon with clouds, a fox, rabbits, too many skunks”1, different types of people: running buddies, dog walkers, baby carriage pushers and so many other things including “fine living room art”2. Then, somehow, something that may have started out as walking or running opens you up to other aspects of life, maybe making you a little more curious and a little more alive with that pleasure. And this my friends is what I believe gets many of us hooked on one type of exercise or another.
Why move? – some unconventional answers:
- Movement encourages life within the body. In complete stillness, we can feel our breath, blood pumping, minute pulsing, heat, coolness… Active movement helps maintain the intricate systems that make us – us.
- Builds digestive fire which is necessary to receive good nutrition from food.
- Balances the center for making biochemicals that influence moods and emotions in general. Modern day science informs us that moderate exercise makes depression and bad moods much less likely.3
Strategies to get you moving
From Dan Buettner, a longevity expert (p.5): Inconvenience yourself; Have fun. Keep moving; Walk; Make a date; Plant a garden; Enroll in a yoga class.
From me: Enjoy the snow!
- La Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ) is giving free access to their 13 beautiful parcs this Saturday (January 27th) AND providing the opportunity for free trial runs on cross-country ski and snowshoes.
- Mont-Royal rents skis, skates and snowshoes at the chalet by beaver lake.
When does exercise stick?
People were asked why they ran regularly, interestingly exercise was not what they answered. Here’s what some said:
- “I was like, oh, my body can do things. And I never really looked at my body that way. Like, my body can be trained to do new things. And I was hooked, and I’ve sort of been running ever since.”
- “ … running is, for me, a simple way to shatter stereotypes. It challenges people to see me from a different perspective than they would otherwise.”
- “So much of my life is — my mind is just buzzing and busy and worried about a lot of stuff. I’m needing to accomplish things and worry about things, but when I’m running I can kind of get away from that.”
In some cases, running as exercise may have drawn people in, but what made running stick went well beyond exercise. The full running segment can be found on onbeing.
Coach Chris (in Montreal): Improve your technique, performance and/or distance with a personal coach.
Mindfulness: Improve workout sticking power. In one study, participants who increased their levels of awareness during workouts showed marked differences in weight loss, body fat reduction, and reduced systolic blood pressure .4&5
Born to Run: Inspiration. Great read on humans and running. And if you are to believe the author: running is part of our DNA, and in less modern times was necessary for human survival.
1 & 2 Jim Bobyn: an avid walker who became an avid runner at 67!
3 Pitchford, Paul (2002). Metal Element: Autumn. In Healing with Whole Foods, Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition (pp 346-347, 352-353 ). North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, California. Print.