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Why You Should Practice Saying Yes To Movement & How To Do It

Hannah Frye
Author:
December 01, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
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Image by Javier Díez / Stocksy
December 01, 2023
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There's a lot of talk about the Blue Zones these days, and for a good reason: Aiming to live to 100 is a great way to inspire healthy longevity practices. But with increased chatter comes plenty of misconceptions, one of which is that you have to partake in high-intensity exercise daily.

Surprisingly, many of the folks in these Blue Zones are more active in terms of movement cadence, not necessarily intensity. Committing to more movement breaks isn't always easy, though, so consider this step a great starting point. 

How to practice saying yes to movement

On a recent episode of the Clean Beauty School podcast, nutrition and wellness expert Mona Vand, PharmaD, recommends saying yes to movement. Even when the opportunity seems small, it can make a big difference in your daily routine. 

For example: "Let's say I'm on the other side of the house. Instead of asking my fiance to get me something, I take my body for a walk," she says.

"It's a choice to get a little bit more blood flow," she adds, without having to dedicate too much time to the activity at hand. 

Vand also finds this simple mindset shift quite motivating. It's a mental override of sorts: If you commit now to saying yes to movement (when it makes sense, of course), then you'll be more likely to form a repetitive habit. 

Sure, it may not be a huge difference to your overall routine. But on the flip side, you never know how much a quick stroll to the door or walk to the mailbox might impact how you feel. 

Especially for those who work at a desk most of the day, getting up and stretching your body has benefits far beyond stimulating blood flow—it can help you regain focus and relieve stress. 

Even just reminding yourself of the physical and mental benefits of movement can make you more motivated to follow through with the movement break. "When you have that intention, you just look at these habits differently," Vand explains.

Here, a few other quick movement breaks to consider: 

  • Refill your water bottle (even if it's not empty yet)
  • Take your coffee mug to the sink when you finish rather than leaving it on your desk
  • Walk laundry to the laundry room rather than tossing it in a hamper
  • Walk into the room to speak to someone rather than shouting
  • Park a block from your destination
  • Walk to the kitchen to take your supplements
  • Work at a high table or standing desk for a few minutes

Still don't believe in the power of simple movement breaks like this? Let me illustrate it for you: Imagine you're about to head out for an eight-hour drive, and you have the option to take a quick break in the middle to stretch your legs… Would you take it?

I'd wager your answer is probably a yes. While working at a desk for eight hours and driving in a car aren't the same exact situation, the significance of even a short movement break shines through. 

So if you're searching for a way to fold in more movement on a busy schedule, consider saying yes when the opportunity presents itself. You may just find yourself moving more, just like those Blue Zones centenarians. 

The takeaway

If you want to encourage blood flow and stress relief throughout the day, consider saying yes to movement when it presents itself. Even a quick stroll to grab a cup of water or premeeting stretch can make you feel better in the moment and contribute to more positive habits over time. For more tips on keeping up with healthy habits, tune in for Vand's full episode below:

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