Natural Movement for Exercise

The human body is designed to move.

As children we thoughtlessly ran around, we played, we crawled around on all fours, and experienced a freedom in movement that is too commonly lost upon entering later years. Nowadays when adults hear the word movement, exercise is usually the first association to come to mind– such as going to the gym, lifting weights, signing up for a class, and so on. Though these kinds of traditional exercises are beneficial to many, we aim to simplify what healthy movement means as an effort to inspire more of it throughout the day.

Natural movements are all about using one’s own body weight and limb mobility to get the blood flowing, and the heart pumping.

An alarming amount of people today find themselves living predominantly sedentary lifestyles. Meaning people are not moving their body’s frequently enough, thus resulting in a cascade of physical ailments that compound over time. Common physical symptoms of sedentary lifestyles include headaches, backaches, digestive issues, circulation issues, low-energy, excess weight, and much more. It’s also notable to mention that people who frequently engage in natural movement generally feel more confident, capable, and in tune with what’s happening in their body. 

Movement as a Basic Human Need

While the idea of exercise can at times feel a little overwhelming, we see movement as a basic need that can be met with a sense of ease. There doesn’t need to be any special clothing involved, equipment, or carved out blocks of time. Instead it’s helpful when movement can be treated with less seriousness, and instead be met with an attitude of playfulness.

There is no right or wrong way to go about this. When you find yourself with an extra few minutes simply get into the habit of asking yourself how can I move in a way that best supports my body right now? Then follow through.

Daily movement can look as simple as taking a walk around the neighborhood in the morning, or in the evening after dinner. It can look silly like sprawling yourself on the floor and stretching out your limbs. It can look like opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator, doing a short set of calf raises as you wait for your coffee to brew, or doing a round of jumping jacks with your kids in the yard. Our body truly thrives with this kind of spontaneous movement.

Though we are designed to move in a variety of motions, our realities often consist of repetitive movements that have stopped the body from having to ever guess. For example, when something is in the way of our path we often choose to walk around the thing instead of over it. Next time the opportunity presents itself try to keep the body guessing, subtly stretching, and moving playfully by going over the thing.

Walking is a very effective natural movement that helps the body equalize itself. Countless studies have shown daily walking to trim body mass, balance cholesterol levels, stabilize blood pressure, improve mood, sharpen memory, and lower the chances of many preventable diseases.

Start by walking outside for 15 minutes a day, and over time experiment with gradually increasing the distance and pace. When we move in these natural motions we are contracting our muscles, activating our connective tissues, strengthening our bones, increasing respiration, heightening circulation, and releasing certain hormones and cell signals.  

The world of fitness, vanity, and weight loss have given us many misleading ideas of what it means to be healthy, and can ultimately feel unapproachable. It’s important to keep our relationship with movement as do-able as possible, and remember that natural movement is a part of our inherent design. This way movement has a chance to be woven into various parts of the day, certain to enrich one’s overall health and well-being.

by Melissa Aparicio, contributing author

We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

Homebound Life Self-Care

Homebound Life Self-Care

We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) want to shed some light and positivity during this difficult time in the world right now. Sometimes it is referred to as “lockdown,” many of us are experiencing what it means to be homebound. We have been hearing many UCA members ask, “How can we turn this into an opportunity to see the good?” and “How can we practice self-care while being homebound?”

Self-care is crucial.

Self-care requires us to be self-aware, which means being aware of what is going on within inside of ourselves. (A.K.A. checking in with yourself to see how you are doing.)  When we feel like we are going a million miles a minute, it is important to take a moment to pause and reevaluate. Write things down in a journal. Some suggestions on the things to write are: what have you have accomplished and wish to accomplish, and set new goals for yourself. Overall, be proud of yourself. Also, according to article on Taking Good Care of Your Yourself, be kind to yourself.

Meditation is a great tool for self-care. It improves our wellbeing and health. Also, meditation or mindfulness activities helps us get in a calm relaxing psychological state too. We have many mindfulness activities on our website. Here is an example of a guided breath mediation with soft spa music to listen to — Guided breath Meditation-Spa-Music. If you are craving more, we also have many more videos on our YouTube channel!

If you’re ready to start a new exercise routine or a better eating regimen, why not start now?

Yoga is great for the brain, heart and bones. It can also boost your immunity, reduce chronic inflammation, gain more self-control and self-confidence. An additional bonus is it can also help manage stress. All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day. We found a great article on Practicing self- care with Yoga that is a quick and interesting read!

One more self-care suggestion…

Salt Baths are very beneficial for self-care. Salt detox baths are usually made of Epsom salt, which allows for minerals to “draw out” toxins from the body. Supporters often claim that soaking in an Epsom salt bath can remove harmful toxins and balance the body. Some claim it can help with weight management as well. The suggestion is to soak in an Epson salt bath for 12-20 minutes per day, 1-2 times per week, for the best results. We love adding essential oils, like lavender, along with Epson salt to baths for an extra boost of relaxation.

Remember all of those little projects that you set aside?

While enjoying the homebound life, we can tackle small projects around the house. For example, that “spring cleaning” of the closets, cabinets, refrigerator, garage (or as some of us call it the storage unit), etc.  How does cleaning and organizing provide self-care? The act of cleaning itself has a positive phycological impact. Cleaning gives us a sense of control and accomplishment, which helps us better manage the ups and downs of life with a sense of resilience and self-confidence. Additionally, the simple activity and repetitive motions of washing dishes, mopping floors, or wiping down surfaces makes it easier for the mind to enter a focused and meditative state, temporarily relieving anxieties. In an October 2018 article published by VICE, Darby Saxbe, assistant professor of psychology at USC, said “[Cleaning] gives people a sense of mastery and control over their environment. Life is full of uncertainty and many situations are out of our hands, but at least we can assert our will on our living space, especially while being homebound.” If cleaning can lead to feeling in control of our personal destiny. Cleaning is Self-Care has an additional article for more information about how cleaning and doing projects around the house is beneficial.

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way! If you would like caring messages throughout the week, follow us on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter!

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