Did you read last weeks blog? I hope you did. I got a LOT of feedback on it as it seems to have resonated with many of you. Which makes sense, it is a tough time for all of us and it’s important to know you aren’t alone in your struggles. I hope it inspired some of you to get or keep moving! If you didn’t read it, you can check it out here.
I wanted to follow up over the next few weeks and go over the 5 Pillars of Health we have at the studio, as reminders to you, in case some of these have fallen by the way side over the past few months or years.
One of these pillars is CONSISTENT MOVEMENT. As a subset to that, we have four recommendations.
- Move frequently at a slow pace. ie walking, puttering around the house, gardening etc
- Move quickly sometimes. ie. jogging, high intensity training, sprinting, cycling etc.
- Lift heavy things. ie. resistance training, home projects etc.
- Stay mobile ie. yoga, stretching, mobility training, range of motion movements etc
Over the past two years, many of us, being stuck at home have spent more time sitting and staring at screens than we probably have in all the years that have come before them. This comes with a host of problems that can be quite easily rectified by just getting up and moving, often, and in a variety of ways.
One of the simplest exercises that most of us have easy access to is walking. It is free, it is easy for most of us and it has a long list of benefits including weight loss, lowering blood pressure, improving bone density, improving muscular endurance, improving your balance and coordination and more.
But here is the clincher. In order to maximize the health benefit it really should be done outside and not on a treadmill or other type of equipment. At least most of the time.
I listed a host of benefits above, most of which I am sure you already knew about, but here is one I am going to bet you haven’t heard yet and it explains why outside is best.
It’s something called OPTIC FLOW.
Optic flow is a motion pattern generated at an eye that is moving relative to the environment. So if you are walking, things that are stationary are going by. You move forward, the trees stay in the same spot (hopefully!).
Dr Andrew Huberman, neurobiologist, states that optical flow quiets some of the circuits responsible for stress. This optic flow shifts the brain into a state of relaxation that is not seen when you are stationary.
When you are working at a computer, your eyes aren’t moving. What you see is two dimensional and fixed in space. Not unlike our hip flexors that get tight from sitting too long, our eye muscles need a break from staring at a screen for too long.
So do your eyes and your hip flexors a favor and get up and go for a walk. And while you are out there, do the opposite of what you do when you are sitting at your desk or on your couch and look up at the top of the trees and then to a distance far away from you…everywhere, just not at the ground in front of your toes. Not only will you get all the benefits I listed above, your stress levels will go down exponentially…and I don’t have to remind you that stress is linked to all six of the leading causes of death.
That’s all folks! Get up, bundle up, chill out… 🙂