I have been enjoying moving lately.
I decided to sell my car few years back and move to an upper flat. This was the beginning of my ‘growing older gracefully’ plan.
Traveling frequently up and down a flight of stairs gives me plenty of opportunity to improve my balance and posture and to keep my heart and legs strong.
Learning to social dance was a ‘someday’ fantasy for me. A couple of years ago I decided that I was running out of ‘someday’ and I had an opportunity to take dance lessons. I enjoy ballroom dancing with my friends at least twice a month. I walk daily and have joined a once a week belly dance class.
I travel miles on my bicycle (I call it the Grey Goose). All of my errands and shopping are accomplished easily by bike. Most of my needs are easily toted on my bike carrier or in a back pack.
In the garden I have been trimming, mowing, hand clip-clip-clipping, planting, digging holes and generally moving things from pillar to post. I am horse-back riding again after a hiatus of almost 20 years.
Barefoot in the Park
My mother said that as a child I never walked. I was either asleep, running or falling down. I have scars on both my knees, so this must be true. I wonder when in my life I decided that running wasn’t fun. This past Saturday I participated in a barefoot running clinic. I wanted to find out if I could re-kindle my love of running. It really was fun! Vision a bunch of grown-ups acting like lunatics running around the park in the rain.
I had a phone call this week from my older sister who has retired from 40 gruelling years of nursing. She is enjoying being active by, she says “working her land”. She has been lifting, toting and hauling and digging and carrying and enjoying all of this natural and amazing everyday activity. Most of her shopping and errands are achieved by bicycle. She has lost weight, gained a lot of muscle as well as a waist, and is waking up in the morning felling refreshed. Her conversation exhibited a passion for life and a positive attitude about her future.
The truth is; we are created to move.
We are meant to carry firewood and water. Activity is required for us to balance our bodies physically, mentally and emotionally. In other words, what isn’t moved through our bodies has to be expressed some other way. This leads to inner tension as well as stuck or inappropriate emotions.
Another truth is that the less we do, the less we can do.
I often observe people trying to unfold themselves from a sitting position, and then try to amble away from their car. Many people move as if walking is an unnatural act. A lack of activity causes body tension, stiffness, poor range of motion. Cardio-vascular tension may also be a sign of a lack of activity.
Another truth is that we are healthier in every way when we have an active lifestyle.
We make our bones strong by moving and using our bodies. Our lymph circulation depends entirely upon muscular contractions during physical exercise. Our hearts and circulatory systems work best when movement is the norm. Our hormonal and glandular systems function better when we are active. Our metabolism requires movement to set its rate of calorie burn.
The truth is that we need to move to be healthy.
Depression may be a symptom of a lack of physical movement. A sluggish metabolism may be a symptom of a lack of movement. Chronic constipation may be a symptom of a lack of movement. No matter what else we do to enhance our health in a conscious way, such as meditation, taking supplements, eating impeccably well, having great hobbies and enjoying a wonderful work life and wonderful relationships, nothing will create health and balance in the human body unless activity is part of the package.
The real truth is that we are built to enjoy activity.
Most of all, it is great to move just for the fun of it. Moving is fun. We feel good in our bodies when we move easily. We have more energy when our muscles are strong and limber. When we move emotions and the chemicals of emotions through our bodies, we experience less physical tension. We relax more fully and we sleep better. The more we do, the more we can do. That makes us feel positive and powerful.
In my mind’s eye I am trying to imagining the various pieces of gym equipment that tries (rather unsuccessfully) to mimic this kind of everyday fun.