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Move + Breathe – Stress = Freedom (Part 1)

Overbearing stress and crappy situations can be a real damper on your happiness and motivation to succeed. It is easy to procrastinate, use them as an easy excuse, or just feel debilitated by them and get absolutely nothing done at all; I know because I have those feelings begin to rise when faced with a bunch of stressful situations.

Many people devise tactics that help reduce stress, especially this time of the year. There are two that I find to be extremely powerful that require very little time to do well and do not need any special skills, environment, or equipment to make you feel better.

This is part 1 of a 2 part series, check back next week to complete this equation for a great recipe for success.

Move

Move often, and move softly. Those two “rules” will shape your ability to exercise physical freedoms to the best of your capacity. Moving often doesn’t equal out to 24/7, 365, but it does mean throughout the day, appreciating your body with some ‘out of the ordinary’ movement can give you a spark of energy while aiding your body health, a nice one-two combo.

Moving softly is implied as using movement in a soft and gradual manner. Transitioning from hours of stagnant activity into something that gradually awakens, stimulates, and supports feeling strong is the goal of this short bout of movement. There are a time and place to get your heart pumping and sweat dripping, and this is not that scenario.

Here is Why…

Do you know that feeling after sleeping, or a long car ride, needing to just stretch your body out like Mr. Incredible so you don’t feel like a rusty gate? That “glued” feeling is your body’s fascia (muscle, ligament, tendon, tissues) becoming stiff and actually do stick together beneath the surface of your skin. That can lead to feeling tight, stiff joints, weakened muscles, and more. Like many, if your workday basically occurs in one spot, usually by standing or sitting, that stickiness feeling you have gotten used to, and might not even recognize as being an issue, it just feels normal. It is not permanent, but the longer it sits, the more comfortable it is with being stuck.

My rebuttal to this phenomenon is engaging in Moments of Movement

You might have heard it before as ‘Greasing the Groove’ or ‘Mobility WOD’ or others. The concept remains the same, it is a way to break your day-to-day repetitive tasks and explore the physical freedoms you have so you can more adequately maintain and learn them.

Sometimes it can feel “impossible” to block off an hour (or more) to commit to exercise for the day. When planning your day/week/month with obligations like work, vacations, shuttling kids around, or whatever else, it is easy to forget to commit to improving yourself. Reiterating what I stated above, human bodies were designed to move often. We are sophisticated, physically able beings that are like an egg waiting to be cracked, don’t restrict what is naturally the best medicine for your body, just move!

30 seconds, 1 minute, 3 minutes, even up to 12 minutes, any amount of time is better than no time at all. Begin with small and manageable blocks of time, and if your schedule allows time for more than add more in.

Bodyweight Squats, Plank, Step In & Reach, and other types of mobility or body moves don’t require a ton of space or equipment to dive in to. Looking for some inspiration? Here is a 13-minute sequence I developed that hits multiple planes of motion and will loosen you up from your head to your toes. 13 minutes is too long, skip to a section of the video and follow along for however much time allows!

(don’t mind the music, unless dub-techno-rock gets you jazzed up, then go to town)

The Big Takeaway

  • Set a time each day, whether it is in the morning, afternoon, or night to disconnect from every other obligation aside from you
  • Put time in your day where everything else is on pause to just softly move for 2, 5, 10, or 15 minutes; you have time for it, I promise
  • A few minutes can yield amazing benefits for mental clarity, mood enhancement, reduce anxiety/overwhelm, and other intrapersonal feelings
  • Don’t break a hard sweat, just break the cycle of stationary!

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