Mindful Movement

Movement is a major aspect of health, as it is a key player in maintaining metabolic function, blood sugar regulation, mental wellness, immune function, and more. An active lifestyle promotes healthy regulation of gene expression, meaning the genes that promote healing are turned on and genes that contribute to disease can be downregulated! One specific gene involved in longevity and lean muscle maintenance, MTOR, is expressed only through adequate high-quality protein consumption or exercise. With that being said, maintaining a consistent exercise regimen is so necessary for our overall wellness and longevity.


However, finding the right type of movement for you can be challenging. We encourage our patients to engage in activities that they truly enjoy versus pushing through sessions they dislike, as this builds resentment or may cause a yo-yo approach. We believe it is best to incorporate habits that are sustainable, and enjoyable and reap the health benefits you wish for! If you absolutely dread attending your yoga classes, maybe it is time to try something different! Many of us carry a belief that movement has to look a specific way in order to gain results. Some, like my former self, believe that movement involves spending hours in the gym every week in order to maintain health. While this may be possible and enjoyable for some, if you are experiencing symptoms related to over-exercise, this may not be right or healthy for you.


We must check in with the ideal level of intensity and frequency that will help and not harm your health, based on your goals, your current health, and what will be sustainable. For example, if you are experiencing chronic fatigue, excess stress, or hormone imbalances, intense exercises such as heavy weight lifting or high-intensity interval training may not be the best fit for this season. There are many other options that could be explored to manage cortisol and promote sleep, including light walking (especially in nature), Tai Chi, yoga, light cycling, and more. It is so important that we continue to listen to our bodies and honor the messages that they are sending us so that we can provide them with the tools they need to heal. Of course, there may be seasons when we are feeling less motivated and need to push ourselves a bit to go for the run, attend the fitness class, get up from the couch, etc. But the key here is learning how to check in with yourself and identify when you need to push yourself a bit, and when to allow yourself the space to breathe and relax.


It is also important to note that if your sleep cycle is off, it is advised that you avoid exercise late at night and especially when it is dark outside. This could further disrupt hormones that promote a healthy sleep cycle and will impede recovery and energy production. Try getting in some movement while it is still daylight or in the morning if this encourages wakefulness and an elevated mood!


Embracing the concept of low-intensity but frequent movement can be a great first step in increasing activity in your day without becoming inconvenient or draining. Movement in shorter intervals, consistently throughout the day is great for circulation, blood sugar regulation, mobility, and overall health. This may look like going for a short walk after dinner, taking the stairs at work, going for a quick walk during your lunch break, stretching/chair yoga breaks, walking your dog in the morning and evening, etc. Exercise does not have to be specific to a sport or class, but can be worked into your day-to-day tasks!


Contact our clinic to see a health coach and design a plan! As with anything, before starting a new regimen or exercise routine, we highly recommend discussing this with your medical provider to ensure it is a good fit for you. Safety always comes first! Schedule a consult with a provider on our team to get started on your health journey!


 K;, Watson K;Baar. “MTOR and the Health Benefits of Exercise.” Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25218794/.


 Lamb SE;Sheehan B;Atherton N;Nichols V;Collins H;Mistry D;Dosanjh S;Slowther AM;Khan I;Petrou S;Lall R; ; “Dementia and Physical Activity (DAPA) Trial of Moderate to High Intensity Exercise Training for People with Dementia: Randomised Controlled Trial.” BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29769247/.


CE;, Cadegiani FA;Kater. “Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis Functioning in Overtraining Syndrome: Findings from Endocrine and Metabolic Responses on Overtraining Syndrome (EROS)-Eros-Hpa Axis.” Sports Medicine - Open, U.S. National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29222606/.



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