Foundations: Move Introduction

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Move Introduction
Your Resilient Movement Plan

Move Your Body for Better Mental Health

"I know that I should exercise, but I just don't have time."

"Running on a treadmill is so boring."

"I can't afford a gym membership."

"I just can't seem to stick to a regular exercise routine."

Does this sound like you? If so, you're not alone. Many people struggle to exercise regularly, even though they know it will improve their physical health. The fact is, scientific research has shown again and again that moving our bodies more frequently has a significant positive impact on our mental health as well. Regular movement can: 

  • Effectively treat depression1
  • Normalize cortisol levels
  • Protect against oxidation
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Normalize blood sugar
  • Improve learning ability2
  • Promote the survival of new brain cells3
  • Help you grow a bigger, healthier, better-connected brain4

Focus on movement, not exercise. Good news! You don't have to run a marathon or even go to the gym to access these many benefits. Remember, just a few generations ago, most Americans made their living through some kind of physical activity. They spent more time outdoors, got plenty of sun and fresh air, were more attuned to the seasons—and they moved their bodies for several hours per day as part of their routine, not as something extra. Human beings have evolved to move regularly throughout the day. So, it makes sense to think of movement more broadly than just “exercise.” This can also make it easier for us to build it into our lives naturally.

Before you begin. Check with your physician regarding how to start and how quickly to increase your activity levels, especially if you have any of the following: a known heart condition, chest discomfort with or without physical exertion, loss of balance due to dizziness, loss of consciousness, joint problems, medication for high blood pressure or heart problems, or any other reason you should not do physical activity.5

Resilient movement plans. In order to help you find a movement routine that works for you, we have created three resilient movement plans: the Basic Movement Plan, the Even Better Movement Plan, and the Ideal Movement Plan. Click the button at the bottom of this page to learn more about the plans and determine which one is right for you.

Final reminders. It is possible to do any movement with greater awareness and presence. Incorporating mindfulness into any of our recommended activities, even the more vigorous movements, will help you get the most out of the movement you've chosen.

Ultimately, movement should be fun. The best way to ensure that you will stick with a movement routine is to keep it fresh and do many different things that you enjoy. Keep it light and playful. Move with others whenever you can. And when in doubt, just move!


Now that you know the basics, it's time to pick the movement plan that fits you best.

NEXT: Take Me to My Movement Plan >>>

References

  1. Mota-Pereira, J., Silverio, J., Carvalho S., Ribeiro, J. C., Fonte, D., & Ramos, J. (2011). Moderate exercise improves depression parameters in treatment-resistant patients with major depressive disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45(8), 1005-1011. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.02.005
  2. Winter, B., Breitenstein, C., Mooren, F. C., Voelker, K., Fobker, M., Lechtermann, A. ... Knecht, S. (2007). High impact running improves learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 87, 597–609. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nlm.2006.11.003
  3. Snyder, J. S., Glover, L. R., Sanzone, K. M., Kamhi, J. F., & Cameron, H. A. (2009). The effects of exercise and stress on the survival and maturation of adult-generated granule cells. Hippocampus, 19(10), 898-906. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hipo.20552
  4. Vaynman, S., & Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2005). License to run: Exercise impacts functional plasticity in the intact and injured central nervous system by using neurotrophins. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 19(4), 283-295. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1545968305280753
  5. Thomas, S., Reading, J., & Shephard, R. J. (1992). Revision of the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q). Canadian Journal of Sport Sciences, 17(4), 338-345.
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