Get Moving: A Conversation with Matt Nixon, PT

Can’t find time to exercise, not sure where to start, or not into running?

There are endless reasons why it can be hard to get moving, but oftentimes it’s because it doesn’t feel like there is enough time in the day. When you do have a few minutes, it can be easy to find yourself scrolling on your phone, giggling, lost in yet another TikTok, distracted from the realities of the day. Or maybe you get busy with your kids, as they need help with this or want you to look at that. Perhaps you just want to see the end of that Netflix show you’ve been binging.

During those fleeting moments of wanting to get out for a walk, once the distractions begin, any motivation you’ve had….poof, gone. You think – I’ll try again tomorrow.

Sound familiar? Well, I’m guilty of this too. How can we break this behaviour? I have a few ideas that might help you turn the corner and build some motivation, encouraging you to increase your heart and respiratory rate and maybe even get a little sweat on. Ah endorphins, where have you been?

Before I get to that, here are some hard truths (and maybe a bit of motivation). Did you know that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to an early death? (1). Ouch! Hey Matt, can you ease into this a little, please? Sure, sorry. Maybe that was a little fast. Let’s flip this around. Participating in physical activity produces many benefits to the body (and mind – but more on that later). Exercise can help control weight, prevent or manage stroke, metabolic syndrome (look it up), high blood pressure (guilty), type 2 diabetes, anxiety, arthritis, lessen the risk of falls, and help prevent or manage many types of cancer (2).

As you can see, exercise is good for the body, but what about the mind? Did you know exercise can help manage depression? (3)(4). And that’s just the beginning! Being physically active can have protective benefits for cognitive function, and increasing physical activity as we get older is associated with slower age-related cognitive declines. (5)(6)(7). Not only that but the protective benefits of physical activity have also been observed with the association between physical activity and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. (8)(9).

All of that is well and good, but how do you get started and be consistent? I recommend making sure you focus on just doing something, as it’s better than nothing.

At work? Try to get up from your chair every 15 – 20 minutes. Too busy? Try once an hour. The point is that you get up more often.

Do a squat, or 5, or 10. Squats are simple to do once you practice a few times. Make sure you keep your knees behind your toes, stick out your butt, and keep your arms out in front of your body or across your chest. Finally, don’t look straight forward as you’ll be too upright. Look down towards the ground, which will draw your upper body more parallel to the floor.

Texting your friends or talking on the phone? Ok, say hi for me… but also walk around as you do this. Keep walking. Don’t sit down.

Maybe you’re back at the office after two years – that’s great! It’s good to get out of the house and see colleagues. When you get to work (maybe you’re walking or biking as the weather improves), why not park the car at the back of the parking lot, or a few extra blocks away. Now you’re walking further to your office and you might as well opt for the stairs while you’re at it. Please, no elevators! Oh, you’re on the 15th floor? Fine, get off at 10 and start by walking the last 5 floors. Good job! It’s a start, right? Remember that every little bit counts, so don’t delay, stop reading, and get moving!

Here are a few more ideas on little habits to change. I encourage you to try a new one each week.

Do a little bit of exercise as you watch TV. I know that sofa is soooo cozy, but just for this one show, get moving as you watch. Not sure what exercises to do? Try something easy (and quiet) – you don’t want to miss out on anything.

Check out this article for some inspiration.

Not ready to exercise as you watch tv? No problem, how about trying to get up and walk or do squats every commercial (for you Netflix generation, please ignore). Point is, get moving. Often.

This one may seem a bit extreme – but get a dog. They’re cute, cuddly, and they need to do their business outdoors. This means you will need to get outdoors. And dogs, especially ones with high energy, must walk. Daily. So, for a guaranteed increase in your physical activity for the next 10+ years, visit your local animal shelter, and you’ll never look back.

Stand during meetings, join a fitness group at lunch, or take a meeting with coworkers while going for a walk. These are all little things that can make a big difference. And you might just start something in your workplace.

Have some chores to do at home? Turn on Spotify, crank up those nostalgic ‘80s tunes (real loud), and I promise you will never have so much fun sweeping floors, doing laundry, or cleaning the bathroom. You know you’ll bust-a-move.

Go for a date night hike, walk, or bike ride. Let’s face it, you’ve done Boston Pizza enough, so try something new. I can guarantee the conversations will be different.

Ultimately if you are restricted in your capabilities to get moving because something hurts, is stiff, or moving in general aggravates your back, knee, or shoulder, then we need to have another conversation.

Connect with us at Choice Health Centre. We have a dedicated team of professionals waiting to help you achieve your goals, get you moving, improve stiffness, reduce pain, and eventually, get your heart rate elevated and turn that tide of inactivity into physical activity. We can’t wait to hear from you.

References:

  • Diaz et al. (2017). Patterns of sedentary behaviour and mortality in U.S. middle-aged and older adults. Ann. Intern. Med. 465-475. doi:10.7326/m17-0212
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389
  • Mata et al. (2012). Walk on the bright side; physical activity and the affect in major depressive disorder. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 121, 287-308. doi:10.1037/a0023533
  • Schuch et al. (2016). Exercises for depression in the older adult: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials adjusting for publication bias. Rev.Brasil.Psiquiatr. 38, 247-254. doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2016-1915
  • Kawas, C.H. (2008). The oldest old and the 90+ study. Alzheimers Demet. 4, S56-S59. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2007.11.007
  • Ku et al. (2012). Prospective associations between leisure-time physical activity and cognitive performance among older adults across an 11-year period. J. Epidemiol. 22,230-237. doi:10.2188/jea.JE20010084
  • Stenling et al. (2021). Physical activity and cognitive function: between-person and within-person associations and moderators. Aging Neuropsychol. Cogn. 28, 392-417. doi:10.1080/13825585.2020.1779646
  • Buchman et al. (2019). Physical activity, common brain pathologies, and cognition in community-dwelling older adults. Neurology. 92:e811. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000006954
  • Palta et al. (2019). Leisure-time physical activity sustained since midlife and preservation of cognitive function: the atherosclerosis risk in community study. Alzheimers Dement. 15, 273-281. Doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2018.08.008

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