Movement is good for youIt’s now official: MOVEMENT IS GOOD FORYOU.Oh, wait, you knew that already. And you’re doing it,right?Well, not right now, but as soon as you have time.Of course that time never seems to come.But what if regular sessions of movement actually helped create time in your life by helping youlearn faster, and by making you feel more refreshed and vital so that you tackle tasks with zest andget them done quickly? Would that be a more powerful motivator for you? Or at least make youcurious enough to try some of the suggestions coming from newer research on movement, such as:Exercise makes you smarter.With the increased blood and oxygen flow that comes with exercise, you can improve your learningability. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has issued a paper advising more physical activityfor students, and where that advice has been followed, students have made dramatic improvementsin academic achievement and test scores. There is even evidence of increased creation of new braincells.How much exercise? A little jogging in place is great, but even just standing up can improve yourbrain activity by about 8%. And my elementary school teachers (now deceased) would be horrifiedto learn that even chewing gum counts as exercise in this context.That little exercise break you allow yourself can end in a solution to a problem that you have beenpuzzling over for some time.Another motivator: Reduce your pain and stiffness.One of the things that keeps us from exercising when we haven’t done so for a long time is that weknow in advance that we will feel stiff and it will hurt. But you don’t have to do dramatic things toovercome that stiffness.For example, you may raise your eyebrows at the idea that raising them will improve movementand your sense of well-being, but that was the idea at a recent IDEA Personal Trainer Institute inAlexandria, Virginia.Turns out there is a long band of fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, whichstarts at the bottom of your feet, extends up your legs, behind your back and neck, and ends at theforehead. Like a rubber band, it stretches when you bend over and touch your toes. That is, itshould stretch, but injury and overuse can form knots in this tissue so that it doesn’t glide along themuscle, as it should.
Raising your eyebrows or getting a neck or foot massage can help this long band become moreflexible. Or you can start at the other end: Take a tennis ball and roll it back and forth under yourfoot a few seconds. When you stand up and try to touch your toes, you will find it is mucheasier. Why? Feet are restricted by shoes much of the day, and those little knots that affect thatlong band of fascia inevitably build up. Your little surreptitious - and cheap – foot therapy can helpfix that.Ankle rotations under your desk, slow side-to-side neck stretches, big overhead arm stretches, allcontribute to a sense of release that will help keep you functioning during a busy day.If you do just a little bit of exercise consistently, you will find that you miss it very much when youcan’t do it. You may even find that, now that you have the habit, you want more, and then more.Hey, it worked that way with chocolate, didn’t it? Just try it.Lynette Crane, M.A.(Psychology) and Certified Life Coach,is a Minneapolis-based speaker, writer,and coach. She has more than 30 years experience in the field of stress management. She currentlyworks to provide stress and time pressure solutions to harried women, those women who seek"Islands of Peace" in their overly-busy lives. Her talks to groups of what she calls "harried women"are receiving rave reviews. Visit her website at http://www.creativelifechanges.com/ to see morein-depth articles and to view her programs.