4 Tips for Better Health in 2020
Continuing on from last week, I'm discussing the top 4 areas for better health. Last week I discussed sleep and this week, I'm discussing movement for better health. We all know that moving more and keeping active is key to maintaining good health, but in these days of growing sedentary lifestyles, it's always good to be reminded! So if you need some inspiration to get yourself up and moving, read on!
You feel better after you go for a walk right? Or run, go to the gym, do a yoga class? We all know that exercise releases happy endorphins and we get a natural high from it, but very often the thing that stops us from getting our bum off the couch is motivation, or more to the point excuses. It's too cold out; my favourite TV show is on; I don't have time; I have too much work to do. And on and on and on. Inactivity, particularly as we age can cause muscle loss, which in turn makes us lose fitness and flexibility. And it confirms one thing, the body was made to be in motion, so if you don't use it, you loose it! So, if you’re not moving enough on a regular basis and need some motivation, read on for the top 4 benefits for keeping that body active!
"I move, therefore I am" - Haruki Murakami
Here are the most important things you need to know:
Helps our mental health - exercise has numerous benefits for both the body and mind; it can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and it also helps lift our mood by releasing endorphins, which generate positive feelings in the body. It helps to reduce stress, by releasing those ever important endorphins and also increases blood flow, which in Chinese Medicine is crucial for good health. Where there is good blood flow, there is good health.
Increases oxygen levels - any type of movement is going to increase your levels of oxygen. Oxygen is great for our blood cells as it keeps them healthy, increases our immunity and helps keep blood flowing freely. In Chinese Medicine the free flow of blood is so important, as when we have what we call blood stagnation, this leads to pain and disease. Lack of movement can cause the blood to stagnate, causing us to feel unwell in various different ways, some minor, some more serious, so keeping the blood flowing freely helps us stay healthy.
Increases metabolism - moderate exercise can help increase your metabolic rate while resting, which can help with weight loss. More vigorous exercise can lead to a higher metabolic rate, even hours after exercise. Either or will help you keep healthy and lean, two things which are crucial when we age.
Reduces your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes - both diseases are endemic in the Western world, with heart disease still one of the biggest causes of death. Exercise helps strengthen the heart, giving it less work to do in order to pump blood around the body. An overworked or weak heart has more work to do, causing an increase in blood pressure, which is harmful for health. So in order to stay heart healthy and help keep your insulin levels under control, get moving!
While acupuncture can't make us exercise, it can help keep us motivated by boosting our energy levels when they are low and relieving stress levels when we are feeling overwhelmed. It also helps keep the blood moving freely through the main meridians and most importantly its great at treating pain, which can be a major barrier to some people exercising.