The best New Year’s Resolution you can make is to
MOVE. As much as you can.
Let me tell you why this is the best thing you can do for your life:
- You’ll get more flexible. People are always asking me what they can do to make gains in flexibility. Many people are too narrowly focused on stretching to accomplish their goals. While stretching is good, and that is a part of it, stretching alone will not do it. I don’t want to simply stretch out my tendons (which is not healthy and can lead to injury). By focusing on movement in every joint instead of stretching muscles, you’re creating a system that is sustainable and will have longevity. Remember back to when you were a kid. Do ever remember feeling stiff in your muscles? Or ever being tight? Probably not. And it had nothing to do with your stretching routines. It was because you moved. When you were born, you started crawling as soon as you could. Then you started walking. Then you started running. Then you got shy or lazy about moving. You gave in to the culture around you, joining in the fun of sitting on the couch. Reverse what sitting has done to you. Get up and MOVE.
- You’ll maintain (or gain back!) your youthfulness. Whenever I am at the park with my kids, I like to treat the park bench like my prop at a hand-balancing show or jump in the fun of the playground by getting on the monkey bars. Random kids tend to ask me how old I am. They are quite stunned that a women in her 30’s is hanging upside-down. Just yesterday a 12 year old said she thought I was 14. The other moms like to say to me, “You make the rest of us look bad.” (You’d be shocked at how often I get this comment in my life.) That’s their way of saying, “I’m totally jealous that you have the guts to move without shame in a culture that doesn’t normally do that in public.”
- You’ll get stronger. People are always looking at the latest fad to get them in shape. The best thing you can do is develop a lifelong habit that can be done anywhere at anytime and bonus: it’s completely free! Why lift weights when you can’t even lift your own body weight yet? I emphasize “yet” because if you got up and moved everyday like you meant it, you’d be doing push ups and pull ups like nobody’s business in no time at all!
- You’ll gain a wonderfully balanced body, not to mention look good in it. Your muscles have cravings just like your appetite has cravings. Just as your stomach can lead you to the best diet of your life if you give in to healthy cravings rather than crappy convenient cravings, your body can lead you to working every muscle in your body if you would just take the time to let it lead you. Movements might feel awkward or funny at first, but if you are persistent with your explorations, you will come across just the thing that you can’t do that your body is wanting to do. When you find that spot of weakness and you move into it, you will gain that strength where you need it and you will find that balance in your muscles. Yesterday you were pulling – today your body is asking for pushing. Move with it.
- You’ll live pain free. As people get older, it is common for imbalanced or weak muscles to give people back issues, hip issues, etc. When you move in the ways your body needs to move, you keep everything strong and balanced. You are very unlikely to suffer the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle if you don’t live one. I like what Tony Horton of P90X says, “Aging is for people who don’t know any better.”
- You’ll be happier. A huge benefit of exercise is the endorphin release. You will rest better, sleep better, and all of this will help you stress out about everything less.
- You’ll have more energy. I know it seems like a paradox at first. I’m telling you to expend energy to gain energy, but it’s true. It’s how it works. A mover has energy because they move. Think of it as an investment into recharging your batteries. It’s not an immediate affect, but a long term effect on your whole life.
- You’ll be better at everything else you want to do. You have other goals in life besides moving?! So do we all. But when we move, we can then have the energy, the health, the vitality to do everything else. Do you want to keep a cleaner house, cook at home more, etc? Moving will get you moving. If you get up and move first thing in the morning, then you’ll be ready for everything else that comes your way. And I’m not asking you to get up and run 5 miles. Heck, you can crawl around for all I care. Take it slow and gently add on your movements. Hmm…let me lift a leg here. Now maybe lift an arm. What about an arm and a leg at the same time? This is a great way to wake up each day.
- You’ll be an inspiration to others. It’s no secret that our society is becoming more obese as the years wear on. It’s also no shock that we are moving less in association with our time behind screens. Forgive yourself for looking at a screen to read this. Screens are important, necessary and good, but they must have a time when we turn them off, get up and MOVE. Others will see you and want to join you. They often lack the motivation to do so, but you can be the spark that changes their mind.
- You’ll have more fun. Have a dance party at your house tonight in the living room. I don’t care how big your living room is. I don’t care if it’s just you. Put on the music and move. If you have kids, you will inspire them to a lifetime of movement as well. It will bond you to people, you will get a natural high, you will be on your way to being healthier, stronger, more supple, more radiant, balanced body. You are a MOVER.
Happy New Year! May all of your 2016 be filled with movement and all the good things that follow.