What Movement Does for Us

Author: Karen Porter, RHN

For almost 30 years Karen battled severe IBS, & anxiety.

Forced to re-evaluate and take her health into her own hands, she started looking into alternative methods to help her heal where the traditional medical approach had failed. 

Karen’s health, and consequently her life, entirely shifted and she felt compelled to help as many women as possible to feel their absolute best!  

I’ve exercised for many years and know the impact that it has on us physically and mentally.  As a Holistic Nutritionist and Wellness Coach, movement is a key “Ingredient” in what I call the “Recipe” to feeling your absolute best. The other 3 ingredients are Nutrition, Mindset and Stress Management.  I’m going to breakdown the reasons why movement is so important, but first I just want to say, start from where you currently are.  If you’re not currently doing any type of movement or exercise at all, it’s not very likely that you’ll go from zero to exercising 1 hr for 5 days a week.  You can just set small goals.  The second most important thing is you need to do what you love!  If the thought of running, or slogging it out at a gym doesn’t appeal to you, don’t do it.  Try different things.  But most of all, do something you enjoy.  After you’ve been doing it for a while, you may want to push yourself to something a bit different, but the main point is to just start something.  Set a timer and walk or dance for 15 minutes, and then build up from there.  Okay, so what does movement do for us?

Movement keeps you looking and feeling young. It will also means that you’re more likely to be able to do the things you want to be able to do as you get older.  For me, mobility and flexibility is a huge thing.  I want to continue to easily get onto the floor when grandchildren come along, and run around with them.  I also want to be able to go on whatever adventure I desire.  Exercise changes the aging process in your chromosomes.  Researchers have found that exercise can keep our DNA healthy and young.  Telomeres, the caps at the end of our chromosomes that are responsible for aging, get shorter as we age.  But regular exercise lengthens telomeres, so keep on moving if you want to feel and look young!

I enjoy exercising in the morning.  It sets up my day on the right trajectory.  When I’ve really pushed myself exercising, it translates to the rest of my day and makes me feel like I’ll be able to tackle even tough situations throughout my day.  But if morning doesn’t work for you because you start work early, find the best time that works for you.  If you’re starting with 15 minutes, you can likely fit that into various spots throughout your day.

Exercise helps us control our weight.  What we eat is more very important, in fact even more important, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be exercising.  There are so many benefits!  Exercise increases our metabolism.  Putting more muscle on the body burns more calories.  It helps boost HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) which is our good cholesterol, and it helps to lower unhealthy triglycerides.  Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more effectively. It also improves lung capacity.  And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

Exercise helps to promote better sleep.  It helps reduce levels of the body’s stress hormone cortisol.  Just make sure you’re not exercising close to your bedtime because it is stimulating.  Exercise can help you manage blood sugar and insulin levels by lowering your blood sugar.  Exercise, especially weight bearing is good for your bones.  It increases bone density.  And remember, it doesn’t have to be lifting heavy weights.  It can be light free weights or even body weight.

Exercise can help with the health of your skin.  Moderate exercise can increase the body’s production of natural antioxidants which helps protect cells.  It stimulates blood flow and induces skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.

Exercise can improve your sex life.  Regular exercise improves energy levels and can increase your confidence around body image.  Because of increased blood flow, in can also increase arousal.

And finally (although certainly there are more!), exercise helps the brain.  It has been shown to cause the hippocampus (a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning) to grow in size.  It serves to increase mental function.  It also stimulates endorphins that help us to feel happier, less stressed and more relaxed.  It promotes changes in the brain that regulate stress and anxiety.  Exercise is very effective in treating mild to moderate depression.  With all of these benefits, moving is definitely something we want to be doing!  If you need any assistance, let me know!

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