The joy of everyday conscious movement: How to make every movement count
When you think about healthy exercise and activity, you probably think of things like going to a gym, going dancing, doing a form of martial art, cycling or jogging – all wonderful ways of keeping us fit and active. But do you ever think about all the little movements that you make on a daily basis, and how they affect the overall balance of body and mind?
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing with the idea of ‘conscious everyday movement’. We move all of the time, and I think it’s important to make the most of every movement. Do you ever think about your walk when you go to pick up the milk? All the bending and stretching that goes on when you’re tidying the house? Every movement is important and helpful to the balance of your body, so today I want to share with you a few of my thoughts on conscious movement.
Moving house means moving body
We recently moved house, and the move gave me a great selection of conscious everyday movements to work with. Things like:
- Bending down to pack boxes
- Rotating to pick up items to go in boxes
- More bending to pick up items
- Stretching to get items off shelves
- Wandering from room to room in a dazed state wondering what to pack next
- Walking out of a room having forgotten what I went in for
Even once we’d moved home, the conscious movements kept on coming. The tireless activity involved in moving and shuffling about the trunk, the bean bag, the comfy chair, the side tables, the bookcase (ok, I didn’t do that one, it’s REALLY heavy). Where do they look best? The process of adjusting and de-cluttering takes days.
Just when I think it’s all sorted, my new standing desk arrives. I confidently refuse the delivery guy’s offer of help to lift it up to our flat. Oh boy, it’s heavy. Five minutes later I stand triumphant at the bottom of our flat, pulling the box apart so that I can break it down into manageable bits for the rest of the journey. Every step climbed and piece of furniture dragged is another opportunity for some weight training. I eventually make it to the lounge, victorious!
Let the desk-building commence: Arrange the parts (walking bending, rotating), arrange the tools (more bending and rotating), screw desk legs into the middle bars first (sitting, rotating), rotate and lunge to other leg, screw into other side of middle bars, look up under the shelves to get the screws in, stand and back away to stare at the miracle before me. You get the idea?
Conscious everyday movement: Give it a try
So perhaps you’re not moving house, or buying DIY furniture, but the potential for conscious everyday movement is everywhere. For example, as you head away from your desk for your lunch break, feel the joy of the body uncoiling from its desk bound position. The choices of movement towards lunch are limitless:
-A joyful skippy walk (I quite like to play with this one when I’m feeling a little down)
-A slow mindful amble
-A brisk cardio boost
-An angry ‘let off steam’ march
-A sad meander (interesting to experiment even when feeling jolly, just don’t let it get you down)
Conscious everyday movement and the breath
Breathing is so easily forgotten amongst the plethora of exciting activities we undertake during our day. But it’s one of the most important things we do: it keeps us alive, it keeps our body balanced and it keeps our digestive system working comfortably, among other things. So check it out!
Make sure you let your body move with your breath. Your belly wants, no, needs, to bulge out when you breathe in! Otherwise what happens to all of the organs that need space as your diaphragm comes down? Here’s a short video that explains it very well.
Experimenting with conscious everyday movement has made me more mindful, and grateful for simple movement. Our small movements are a big deal – we make them all the time. So pay attention throughout your day, and make sure you take the time to notice and consciously experience them. It’ll be well worth it, I promise!