Body Movement versus Vigorous Exercise
It is well-known that exercise is imperative for maintaining your health:
it keeps us at a healthy weight and lowers our risk for many diseases. Exercise gets our endorphins going,
leading us to feel happier and more energetic. However, sometimes we don’t
feel like exercising or don’t want to put excessive strain on our
body; this is completely natural. Did you know there is still a way to
move without feeling like you are doing a chore? Body movement, also known
as movement with
body sense is a great way to feel good without engaging in strenuous activity.
What is body movement?
When it comes to body movement, it is not necessarily
what you are doing, but
how you are doing it. It’s about being mindful and enjoying the movement;
your body is capable of so many different things, and this is about taking
the time to appreciate what your body is doing for you. Rather than feeling
restricted by a strict workout plan, body movement is all about doing
what you love; the payoff is in the fulfillment and gratitude you will
feel, not about working your body to the max. You move your body constantly
throughout the day, but how often are you really thinking about it?
This is the time to focus on that: appreciating how your hand works to grip
your cup, enjoying all of the actions you take to cook a delicious dinner,
or simply rolling around on the carpet with your children or grandchildren.
Attentive body movement is known to have positive effects on our health
as well. For example, “bodily movement has long been employed as
a foundation for cultivating mental skills such as attention, self-control
or mindfulness, with recent studies documenting the positive impacts of
mindful movement training, such as yoga and tai chi. A parallel “mind-body
connection” has also been observed in many developmental disorders.” Further, the time and attention spent on purposeful body movement can
mirror some of the positive effects seen in exercise, including the release
of endorphins. “Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish
the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives,” so this type
of movement can help cancer patients experience less pain with minimal
exertion of energy.
Putting body movement into practice
There are many ways to get your body moving, especially now that you are
no longer confined to vigorous or strict workout regimens! Here is a list,
but feel free to add your own as well:
- Go for a walk outside, taking time to enjoy the environment and nature
- Stretch, focusing on your breathing throughout
- Dance – any kind that you prefer, or what fits your mood at the time
- Play with children
- Cook a meal, putting care into each step of the recipe
- Gardening – no matter how large or small your garden may be
- Aerobics – modify to whatever level you feel most comfortable with
What is important is that you are
moving, staying mindful and aware of all that your body is capable of. Let this
be a time to let your creativity and passion shine; you are in control
and should not feel limited in any way! Your body is capable of so much,
and this is an opportunity to embrace that.
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 Clark, Dav. Et. al. “Mindful movement and skillful attention.”
 “Exercise and Depression.”