Move More, by Vanessa King

Annamarie Dillon | June 09, 2015

It gives us great pleasure to share the fourth blog post in the series for rare disease caregivers entitled, "Building Resilience" by Vanessa King.

Let’s start with two questions: 
1.  Is exercise good for our bodies, our minds, or both?
2.  What do you think of when you hear the word ‘exercise’?

Our body and mind are connected

Scientific research shows that one of the most important things we can do for our physical and psychological health is to move more. Our bodies and minds really are connected, both are important for feeling good and functioning well, and looking after one has an impact on the other.

Reflect for a moment - have you ever been stressed, upset or felt overloaded and gone out for a brisk walk? How did you feel after that walk? Chances are you might have found your head was clearer, your mood was better and you felt you had a bit more energy. It’s not always easy to get out of our chairs to go for a walk but we almost always feel better when we do.

The benefits of exercise aren’t just short-lived.

Research is also showing that over time regular aerobic activity (increasing our heart rate above its resting level) for 30-40 minutes three or more times a week, has many benefits which can include: reducing or managing depression, better heart health, less osteoarthritis and osteoporosis and even increased cognitive functioning. Our brains literally work better. Yet our lives are increasingly sedentary - we sit at our desks at work, on our sofas watching TV or playing computer games and when we go out, it’s in our cars.

Being naturally active

Often when we think of exercising it’s about joining a gym. Whilst it’s true this is a good, common source of exercise, gyms aren’t always places we enjoy being or, as busy carers, that we can take time out to do. Some of us may have physical conditions that restrict what we can do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways of including more movement, more often into our days and our lives.

So how can you integrate more movement into your day?

  • Walk and talk - Do you do things sitting down that you could do standing up or moving – for example making phone calls or meeting with friends or colleagues? Why not try walking and talking instead?
  • Put away the car keys – instead of driving to appointments, to work or to the shops can you walk or cycle instead? If you usually get public transport, can you get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way?
  • Up your pace - At home can you make more of housework or gardening, put on some music and up your pace? Make it fun – scrub, clean or wash to a rhythm! Or simply do what you can to dance – even If that’s lying down!
  • Hide the remote controls and phone – so you have to get up to change channels or answer calls.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of movement a day, a minimum of three times a week. This doesn’t need to be in one chunk – every little bit counts so if you can only get out for a 10-minute walk, that’s really better than nothing and then why not try to do 20 minutes of housework later?

Regularity and variety help. Creating a habit of exercise – something you do at the same time each week helps us to keep it up. Variety is good to as it keeps our interest going.

Check out the link on the attached page.

Note: Not everyone is physically able to be more active. Please use your judgment of what is appropriate for you. In case of doubt, please discuss with your doctor before you start.

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