Movement, not exercise – A-lister’s New Year’s mantra about health, here’s how to do it
This time of year is rife with exercise. Instagram influencers wearing Lulu Lemon outfits, headlines about getting ready for the New Year, and a slew of challenging workouts that make us never wear a sports bra again. We’re not about that life in GLAMOR. We do our best to protect our mental well-being, especially as the long-term mental health consequences of isolation and the pandemic are becoming strikingly clear.
Of course, it’s no secret to anyone that physical activity is a great way to lift our mood and boost the production of these endorphins, especially when we spend most of our time locked up inside. So what’s an easy, no-pressure way to get our bodies moving without horrendous HIIT workouts with heavy burpees?
Famed personal trainer Dalton Wong tells us how to incorporate movement, not exercise, into our daily lives.
Set a daily alarm
Exercise is a great way to maintain a positive attitude about your mental health. I didn’t say exercise, but movement is the key. I suggest sitting, getting up, walking, and doing light stretching for at least 15 minutes every 2-3 hours. These stretches can be specific to your head, neck, and hips to improve posture, or they can be fully stretched to improve blood flow.
Try this: Assume a 1/2 lunge position with your right leg in front and your left leg back, arms extended straight in front of you. Rotate slowly to the right to feel the stretch in your thighs and mid-spine. Do 15 reps and then switch sides. This is a terrific active hip and back stretch.
Remember to breathe correctly
Concentrate on your attention and diaphragm breathing. The more oxygen we consume, the better our body controls stress, and also relieves tension from overly tense muscles. The ability to relax muscles through breathing work has tremendous effects on our body and mental health. A clear and flexible body can lead to a clear and focused mind.
Try this: Lie on your back with your heels and feet straight up against the wall so that your body is in the L position. This is a great natural stretch for your hamstrings, in this position focus on deep diaphragmatic breaths filling your abdomen and exhaling slowly. This combination of stretching and breathing is great for your flexibility and also clears your mind.
Make your workout fun, not stressful
100% full body activity is very beneficial for our body and our mental health. When we physically stress our body or push it to its extreme, it forces our minds to focus, increases blood flow to our entire body, improves the range of motion of our joints, and is great for cardio. Try sprint, cardio or strength training, you just need to RISE to 8/10. This physical activity releases endorphins, our wellness hormones that are very beneficial for our mental health and well-being.
Try this: find your favorite dance / rock / rap or hip-hop song, turn it up loud and dance! Most of the songs are about 3 minutes long, dance like NOBODY is looking, wave their hands, jump and get into the rhythm. Just have fun! It is the perfect 100% activity for body, mind and soul. My personal favorite that my father dances to is Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana!