Most people today lead sedentary lifestyles, and do not get enough exercise. We sit in vehicles to get to work, where we sit at desks. And, at the end of the day, we return home and sit down to relax.
For optimum health, we need to move – the more body parts that move, in varied positions, the better. As movement becomes a smaller part of our day, joints stiffen, posture changes and our metabolisms shift. If your only exercise is heading to the barn after work or a lunch hour workout, the benefits may be negated by the amount of time you have sat throughout the day.
Movement/exercise is nutrition for your body superficially and on a cellular level. Exercise preserves lean muscle mass and bone density, improves fitness, function and mood. When you exercise properly, in good alignment, your bones load properly, your core is active and you stay healthy.
Studies show the more fun you make movement, the better choices you make relative to nutrition and the better results you will feel and experience overall.
Tips for Getting Active
• Start slowly. Sit less and move more through the day changing your position often. Take calls standing and walk during meetings. Try transferring your weight to one leg, and back, while forced to stand in lines, as this will help build hip and lower body strength.
• Select larger bouts of movement that incorporate moving your body in varied ways. At the barn try using two of each brush and get your whole body moving while grooming your horse.
• Incorporate the stretching and alignment exercises from parts one and two of this series (March/April and July/August issues of Horse Canada) to reduce limitations of tight unyielding muscles and joints and add the following elements to your exercise regimen to strengthen your core and improve your heart health.