Any movement, anything at all, is a way that we connect with the world around us, and it makes us feel better.
The benefits are largely well-known, and yet we so often forget this fact when it comes to our own wellbeing. We may ensure our children have space and time to move around in their lives, but do we make the same time and opportunities for ourselves? Now we have some time, how could we move more?
The physical benefits of exercise and fitness are a constant theme of many lifestyle books, tv shows and articles, but what about the emotional benefits? How often do we prioritise movement to change our moods? We can probably all remember a time when we’ve been for a walk, a swim or even a run or bike ride, and felt better afterwards. We intuitively seem to know it makes us feel better, but did you know it actually changes our brain chemistry?
Moving rewards us with increased optimism and hope.
And the good news is that even a very small amount can have a positive impact. We are more resilient when we move and we notice feelings of happiness more. Moving helps us feel calmer and boosts our feelings of wellbeing, particularly when we are anxious or stressed. No amount is too small to count, so there’s no need to be defeated by not running a marathon, just walking around your garden counts, or gardening, or carrying a bag of shopping.
Often when we feel low the last thing we want to do is move, and research shows us that we get less reward for doing so, than we might do normally. However we can teach our brains to rewire this reward system by moving more, and waiting for the effect to come with time.
What small change could you make today to boost your level of movement from where it currently is?
If you’d like to hear more about this research try the Feel Better Live More Podcast series, lots on movement and it’s benefits.