How do we know that something is alive? A basic question we try and answer in junior biology classes. One of the basic answers is locomotion, or simply, the ability to move. A plant whose actual locomotion is not readily perceptible, moves to face the sunlight; its roots will move and grow towards a source of nutrition. Animals display obvious signs of locomotion. Even non-living objects wear out when not in use for a long period of time. My father would always advise me to take my car around for a spin if it had been standing for too long. Long forgotten gadgets and objects collect dirt sitting in one place and oftentimes when you pick them up on some fateful day, they’re suddenly dysfunctional.
Everything needs to be used, moved, engaged for it to continue to fulfill its purpose of being and if that hasn’t been met for a while, it is sure to rot away. Yet, we humans are hell bent on finding ways to move less. We have remote controls for our televisions, air conditioners, and even curtains and blinds now. We need everything to be done by the touch of a finger or the click of a button. As a result, today we spend hundreds of thousands at the gym to get us to do the basic movement that we have found a million ways to avoid. We need a treadmill to walk. Ever wondered that we wouldn’t need one at all if we just got up and walked to the grocery store instead of ordering them online? Or skipped the elevator to take the stairs? After all, the point of walking is to actually move forward, right?
Keeping the larger technological debate aside, the need for movement is an inherent one. So moving on from the seemingly judgmental tone about life choices, I would like to reiterate the fact that this body of yours was meant to move. Its extremely complicated musculo-skeletal structure was designed to get you moving and do so safely. Not to sit bent over in a chair all day. However, If one must do that (got to feed that stomach), it is imperative to get some kind of movement into your routine through the day. There is a rampant increase in the amount of ailments being caused due to a lack of movement: postural instability, muscle fatigue, repetitive stress injuries on one hand and a plethora of heart diseases, diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure on the other.
Physical movement is also directly related to one’s mental wellbeing. Apart from getting our feel-good juices (hormones) flowing, physical exercise also helps clear the mind and regulate breathing, all contributing to better mental health. Coming to mental health, even the mind can be looked at as an organ in the body and it too needs its fair share of kicking and punching to function optimally. “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop”. The longer we keep our mind from fruitful activity, the more vivid kind of garbage it becomes capable of breeding. And the muscle you exercise the most becomes strongest. So if your sole focus is on getting more sales, adding more zeroes to your bank account, that will take predominance over your fundamental need and reason to get more zeroes in the first place: to be happy.
If you want to feel happy, that’s the muscle you need to feed. Those are the thoughts to be entertained, discussed, and evaluated rather than keeping your happiness reliant on a certain condition to be fulfilled (bank balance, for example). If you’re seeking love, nurture feelings of love, pay attention to the things that bring home those feelings.
Thus it would only help to make time and opportunities to strengthen and develop the muscles of our minds and bodies alike and give them the exercise and nutrition required to keep them in good working condition.
Some tips to get yourself moving physically and mentally:
1) Take them stairs! Unless you’re suffering from a knee problem, stairs are an excellent source of cardio through the day. Alternately, choose to walk, cycle as much as you can to get around.
2) Set aside attributed time in the day when you get your body/mind moving. It could be a walk/run/gym/yoga, whatever sails your boat. Don’t forget to factor in some time to exercise your mind by practicing puzzles, learning a new skill, reading a thought-provoking article or book.
3) Keep some time only for your feelings. Feelings can come from thoughts, and thoughts from feelings. What’s important is to allow the experience of what you’re feeling without trying to rationalize it immediately, even if it is unpleasant.
4) Your mind stagnates even when it is working on only one thing all the time. You may be clocking in hundreds of hours a week, but only being hooked on one kind of thought is still a lack of movement. That is why hobbies exist and you need to give yourself a time-out from time to time to provide space for newer mental connections to be formed which may end up adding more value to your work and outcomes.
5) Love is an important part of the package. Exchanging a hug or kiss with a loved one, or even just a hi-5 with an old chum can go a long way in keeping your happy hormones flowing and providing the all-important feelings of security and attachment