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5 ways to improve your movement hygiene

“I want to see you dancing into your 60’s baby” - this was something my now husband said to me in our early years of dating. Throughout our years together, we have learned to make movement hygiene a priority in our home.


5 ways you can improve your movement hygiene


1. Change your perspective

Instead of thinking that you have to make sure you get a workout in, adjust your perspective to one of gratitude. It is truly amazing that our bodies can do so much for us.


Think about it…your body is the carrier of your soul that allows you to navigate this world and experience so many wonderful and beautiful things. You can find movement throughout your day without it feeling like a punishment or something you have to do- instead think, “Wow! I am able to walk up and down the stairs with ease! Thank you body”



2. Find the everyday tedious tasks a reason to mindfully move your body


Vacuuming

Mindful moment: relax your shoulders and trapezius muscles, instead focus on using your core and legs.


Dishes

Mindful moment: Lengthen your spine and flex your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles- think of lifting out through the crown of your head and pressing your belly button to your spine.


Laundry or Cooking

Mindful moment: Put some good music on and add a squat or some calf raises in between folding t-shirts or chopping onions!


Scooping/picking up your pet’s excrements (it isn’t glamorous but it has to be done!)

Mindful moment: Whether it is on a walk with your dog or scooping cat litter, mindfully move in and out of a squat focusing on proper squat form and an active core.



3. Start noticing and adjusting your unhealthy movement habits

The most common unhealthy habit is sitting. Not only sitting but the WAY we sit. If sitting is something you are having to do for most of your day, try alternating sitting to standing, changing postures so that you are not sitting for more than an hour. If you have the means, try doing something dynamic every hour- go for a quick walk, run or use the stairs. Maybe stretch at your desk or do a few yoga flows.


Not only is this beneficial to your body but breaking out of static postures frequently throughout your day will also recharge your mind.



4. Ask yourself what you want to be able to do when you are in your 80's and 90's

The effects of old age on the body is inevitable but if you put the work in now to consciously take care of your body, you are setting yourself up to continue doing basic everyday tasks on your own into your 90s.

Personally, I would like to be able to go for walks, and dance (whatever that may look like!). And just the basic everyday things that we may take for granted- picking things up, changing myself, going to the bathroom and feeding myself. In order to do this I need to maintain healthy joints and fundamental movement patterns. Incorporate daily movements/exercises that encourage range of motion/mobility and that challenge the core stabilizers (obliques, abs, pelvic floor muscles, deep muscles close to the spine).



5. Make movement hygiene a part of your daily habitual practice

Brushing your teeth every day is a daily practice to maintain and care for your health. The intention is not to brush until you bleed, it is to freshen up and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Have this same intention when thoughtfully adding frequent movement- more focus on range of motion and mobility with less focus on “no pain no gain” mindset.


By incorporating mindful gentle movement habits throughout your day, you are doing your future self a huge favour.



This blog post was influenced and inspired by my friend Dr Blake Martin and his colleague Dr Thomas Karakolis. Both movers and movement researchers with many years of experience on the topic of movement hygiene and health. They have a 5 day cycle video series called MEMO (Move Early Move Often) that encourages more movement throughout your day and healthy movement patterns.

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