Being stagnant is something that I have always struggled with. Whether it is traffic, my career, or relationships, I would always rather be moving forward than standing still.
Although I do not have a traditional 9-5 desk job, and I consider myself to lead a reasonably active life, I am still guilty of days where my step count is in the hundreds, not thousands. And considering 10,000 steps a day is recommended, that can’t be a good thing.
As I age, I realize more and more how this needs to apply to my physical sense as well. I want a life filled with movement, flow, and activity, not defined by stagnancy, or complacency. Don’t get me wrong, I have my “guilty pleasures” on TV that occupy more of my evenings than I’d like to admit, and there is nothing I love more than curling up on my couch or in a hammock with a good book, a glass of wine, and no intention of moving for the next few hours. But I also know that I need to move, to stretch, to exercise for the sake of getting my heart rate up, to be active simply because I can.
It’s a constant struggle to learn what this looks like for me. I am not naturally athletic, and I usually despise anything that feels like exercise. I certainly don’t run… unless, as the old adage goes, something is chasing me… and even then I’m more likely to surrender. But I do love the way it feels when I push my body and realize the gift of health and movement that I have, when being active leads to amazing vistas and new revelations.
To be active for me has become an eclectic mix of ways in which I encourage movement in my life.
Yoga is one of my favorite activities, and yet I am far from being a yogi. I’m still the girl in yoga class whose legs shake in every downward dog position and who very likely will pass out by the end of the class. But there is something serene about the flow that comes from stretching and moving my body through yoga poses that awaken me and helps me to dust off the cobwebs of my joints and muscles. This has come to be a 20-30 minute way that I start my day. To many I am sure 20 minutes doesn’t seem like much, but for me, it’s enough and it sets the tone for a day that will be energized by movement and activity, intentionally and slowly and rhythmically, but moving none the less.
I love to walk. Especially in new cities and new surroundings because I’m an observer and I love to drink in new sights and experiences. But even at home, I try to walk every day. Usually, it’s the same 30-minute walk on the nearby recreation path, but this has become a chance for me to learn and balance activity and stillness. I used to listen to music during my walk as a way to kick off my day, but I’ve recently taken to “listening to now”, and hearing the birds, the sounds of my neighborhood coming to life in the morning, and the greetings of fellow walkers and joggers as I’m walking at dawn. I’m often envious of the runners, seeming to glide through the neighborhood with ease and at more than double my pace, but I know that running just isn’t for me, so I refocus myself on my activity, my walking, and keep pushing forward.
There are a number of activities that don’t feel like exercise to me, although can certainly be construed as such, and definitely fall into the category of being active. Hiking, or really nature walking in the way I participate in it, biking, kayaking, an evening stroll with a friend… these aren’t daily occurrences for me, but I count these all towards a daily commitment to being active. Anything that keeps me from sitting complacently at my desk or on my couch or in my car for the entirety of a day.
What does being active look like for you?
Is there one small change you can make today to bring more movement into your life?
How does it feel to move and flow?