Let’s get moving!

By Emilie Paradis

Ever feel like your body is so heavy to the point that just walking up the stairs feels like you are climbing a mountain? Do you feel so restricted in your ability to move that going through your day requires extra effort and power?

Physical limitation can drain you of energy, vitality and joy. We should be able at any age to move freely, to feel secure when walking outside and to do simple tasks like grabbing objects off the floor or extending our arms to store carry-on in the overhead compartment of an airplane (because we can travel again!)

Fact is, lack of mobility, pain and fatigue are often related to being sedentary.

The human body consists of more than 600 muscles and about 360 joints. Obviously, our amazing machine is meant to move – that’s essential to being healthy inside and out! The rapidity of movement execution changes as we get older, but age should not get the blame for all our aches and pains nor be used as an excuse to stop moving or enjoying life.

Technology has brought many great changes that allow us to increase productivity and efficiency and save time. This digital era may have eased certain aspects of our lives, but it has also had a tremendous impact on our lifestyle and caused us to be more sedentary. With that in mind, tech companies have created many tools such as watches to bring awareness and encourage us to take more steps. Who would have thought that we would need a gadget that tells us if we moved enough during the day?

Repetitive movements and holding the same posture for too long eventually cause restrictions to our mobility. One of the best examples is the long-term use of cell phones, commonly known as “Tech neck syndrome.” The slow but certain forward projection of the head increases its weight, creating tension on the neck and back muscles and inevitably changing the posture. This can generate local and referred pain and can affect mobility of the upper body and vision.

Mobility is defined as the quality or state of being mobile or movable. The ability to move is a combination of flexibility, strength and motor control. Most of us can move from point A to B, but the question is how much energy is needed and how effectively, safely and painlessly can you get there?

There is no better remedy than movement to make you feel healthier and to increase your present and long-term energy level! Spring has arrived, and we now can go back to a “normal” life. Why not take this season of new beginnings to integrate movement into your life and create healthy habits?

Regardless of the current state of your body and your age, the ability to move can always be improved. Starting with a short 10-minute walk every other day, gradually increasing the length and the pace of the walk will make a difference. Dance to your favourite songs, take the stairs or park the car a bit further away. Gardening, mowing the lawn and washing the car are great ways to get active outdoors. As for rainy days or if you are a bit shy, YouTube is filled with free exercise videos that you can do in the comfort of your home.

There are many group classes available in the Glebe. It can be a good way to help you commit to a new activity: tai chi, Pilates, yoga, stretching classes, strength training or bowling. Hire a qualified coach who can help and guide you safely in your goals to better mobility and health. Every move counts. It is an investment in your health, your quality of life, energy – and mental well-being. Like the old saying goes: “We don’t stop moving because we grow old; we grow old because we stop moving.”

Be healthy, be happy.

Emilie Paradis is co-owner of InStep Health and a holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and mobility coach.

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