Student Wellness embraces the philosophy of “Life-Enhancing Movement” – physical activities that allow people of all sizes, abilities, and interests to engage in enjoyable movement, to the degree that they choose. Shift your paradigm to movement in order to embrace all that is around you. You may have a thousand things on your mind you are trying to check off your “To Do” list. By connecting and being present to your activity, you can monitor breath, actively decrease stress, improve the efficiency of the movement by as much as 50% and make a solid body-mind connection for long term health. From the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep, we are moving. Roll out of bed (abdominals/core), make your way to the bathroom (lower body), sit on the toilet (legs and buttocks), coffee cup to mouth (biceps). Walking (mimics the treadmill), climbing stairs in your home or to access public transportation (makes like a StairMaster), carrying children or groceries (simulates kettlebell exercises), or even sitting down and standing up (involves modified squats) are all examples of traditional exercise. Become more conscious of the movement you are already doing on a daily basis and allow that information to set a solid foundation from which you can grow. Too many times we are being told we are not doing “enough” when the key is to recognize what we are ALREADY doing.
The question now becomes: What type of movement does your body want to do today? Let it come from your body and not from your head. The movement should be pleasurable and remember – all movement counts!
Identify activities that are fun! Try to create individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss. Make a list of all the activities you enjoyed as a child. Don’t be shy! Let your stream of consciousness flow with the joy of movement from childhood! Remember how those activities made you feel in your body – light, free, fun, joyful, exhilarated. Notice where you feel that sensation in your body and let that sensation be your driving force for movement. Movement offers many unseen benefits that will keep you engaged for a lifetime. The benefits include:
– An increase in self-esteem and self-confidence based on the muscle use and connection to breath.
– An increase in mobility and ability to move through space easier based on physical self-awareness.
– A pleasurable experience associated with moving your body.
Two things to keep in mind while you are trying to move:
– Breathe. Easy to say, not so easy to master. If you feel challenged, focus on your exhale to get you started. Try inhaling through the nose and allow the abdomen to rise. As you exhale through the mouth, allow the abdominal muscles to draw up and in – navel to the spine. This is not a size issue but rather understanding diaphragmatic breathing and the natural rise and fall of the abdomen with breath (watch someone sleeping and see what happens to their abdomen on the inhale and exhale).
– Feet to the earth. Try and bring your awareness to your feet and the connection to the earth. Energetically connecting to the earth feels different than the feeling of tired feet. “My relationship to the earth is steady” is a nice mantra to repeat to yourself.
Adapted from author Rochelle Rice
Other Ideas from ISU students…
ISU Fitness classes
City of Ames Parks and Recreation
Ada Hayden Heritage Park
All of the amazing trails around Ames
Ledges State Park
Do you have other movement ideas to share that you find helpful on-campus or in the community? We want to hear from you!