I would like to talk about the importance of moving the body: moving the body for wellness of the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual self. Our world is fast paced and constantly changing. We have gone from walking on foot, to horse and cart, train, car and now air travel. It is not unusual to travel to Sydney and back in a day for business and barely any bodily energy is required. We communicate by lifting a phone. Our food comes to us faster, cleaner, packaged and prepared. We can choose what to eat, when to eat, and we barely move our bodies to get that food. Basics like clean & hot water, heating or cooling arrive at the flick of a switch.
BUT the one thing that has remained mostly unchanged is the design of our body. It is still, basically, the hunter-gatherer body. It is designed to be used physically; to collect wood, collect food and for our own personal transport. It has improved and lives longer with nutrition, clean water, warmth and medicine. I am not suggesting that we return to living in cold caves nor to the hunter-gather system for nutrition but I am suggesting that this world of convenience and its multiple options is not doing our body many favours.
Because we have developed this incredibly fast and convenient world, our focus is no longer on survival but that very convenience is threatening our health and wellbeing. Obesity, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease: the list of contemporary and largely reversible health issues is long. I think the imbalance of this type of convenience is creating personal and social pressure that is not conducive to health or happiness.
However, all is not doom and gloom if we MOVE. Moving our body can reverse ailments, such as being over weight or depressed and being told by our doctors that our blood pressure and blood sugar is too high or that our bone density too low. Awareness and planning is needed to make simple movement part of our complex lives. Make the time to walk, bend and stretch or swim. Take a class of dance, yoga or boot camp. Join a gym. Connecting socially and moving the body is a real spirit-lifter. We need to move the bones, joints, muscles, blood and oxygen in the body to make us feel energised and healthy. Parking even 100metres from the super market and walking back to the car with the groceries can reduce weight over a year by 1-3 kilos after the age of 40. Taking a walk in your lunch break to see the sky and watch the seasons change has physical, emotional and spiritual benefits.
We also need to ensure our children get enough exercise to reduce health risks for them later in life. Let kids walk to school, have family activities on weekends and holidays, get kids involved in sporting and social activities, strictly balance the heady activities of computer games and TV with running around outside, playing with balls, bikes and their friends.
We may feel too pressed for time for physical activity but if we plan to stay in optimum physical and mindful health we find we have more time available. The more active we are, the more energy we have, the better we use our time. In this modern world we must still make sure that we and our children MOVE for all round health. Use it or lose it!