based on a recent podcast with Caroline Williams, author of Move: How the New Science of Body Movement Can Set Your Mind Free
Movement should not be a luxury. Movement should not be confined to a 30 minute Zoomba class at the end of the day. Movement, as Caroline Williams explains, should be an essential component of our lives.
At the moment, this does not seem to be the case. We are mobile creatures by nature, yet we spend most of our time sitting. Williams identifies that the modern human spends as much as 70% of their time in a sedentary state. It’s a problem.
According to the World Health Organization, sedentariness leads to an “increase in all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety.”
Sedentariness can also lead to mental health concerns, including an increase in stress and anxiety.
Which is why we all need to Move! Movement can improve health and prevent disease. Movement can be a remedy for tension and stress, she says. Getting physically active is a great way to combat mental exhaustion. And, most importantly, it’s fun!
A thoughtful approach to movement can empower people in a variety of ways. Williams notes a study dating back to the 1980s which documents the correlation of strength training to psychological empowerment in young women, improving “global self efficacy” – loosely speaking, strength training improved the way the women in the study perceived the world around them.
With so many positive outcomes to moving often and well, and so many negative correlations with sedentariness, why are we modern humans still so inactive?
Is it possible that schools are to blame?
Imagine the natural behaviors of a child in summertime. Running, playing, exploring, and having to be nearly pulled by the shirt collar when it’s time for dinner. During childhood, one’s natural inclination is to move.
When summer break comes to an end, children find themselves indoors, nearly buckled into desks and – almost always – immobile.
Schools often provide wonderful learning environments with plenty of guidance, care, and socialization. But one can’t help but wonder if the experience is a developmental interruption to a young person’s natural programming. For the first time, behind and under those heavy desks, students are taught to be sedentary.
Which is why YOU are so important. Teachers, coaches, parents must create active environments which nurture movement and promote an appreciation for lifelong health and wellness. We have to reframe our mindsets around what it means to live a healthy life.
In our most recent podcast, Williams noted that she will often feel guilty for leaving her desk to go for an extended walk. “That mindset is bonkers,” she admits.
It is not a natural mindset. It is one we learn over time. Let’s correct it.
Call to action:
Teachers, Coaches, Parents, and Practitioners of all kinds, WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. What are your strategies to incorporate movement into your daily practice? Your classroom? Your home?
SHARE YOUR IDEAS HERE and we will be eager to publish your thoughts.
We all need to move about more. If it weren’t for my dog I probably wouldn’t walk anywhere, but he gives me the reason to go outside.