Terri K. Lankford, LPCS
Holistic Health: the Benefits of Movement
In our latest blog post, we talked about what the term holistic means. Just as a refresher, the term holistic means looking at the whole picture, not just parts of it. We also discussed how mental health should be holistic - that is, we aren’t just a set of symptoms, but complex beings impacted by all the systems we live in.
One of those influential factors is sleep. In our latest blog post, we also learned that sleep has multiple benefits:
Physically, sleep helps our body repair and rejuvenate various systems, such as the immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
Mentally, sleep helps the brain process and consolidate memories as well as regulate mood and emotions.
What, besides, sleep, impacts our physical and mental health? We’re glad you asked!
Movement is another element of holistic health. Addressing movement is an essential component of holistic health, as it promotes physical wellness and enhances overall wellbeing. Movement can be anything from exercise and stretching to simple activities such as walking or gardening.
If you’re interested in learning the emotional and physical impacts of movement, plus how to improve your relationship with movement, keep reading!
The Impacts of Movement on Physical Health:
This one is probably the more obvious one for many people. Movement has a significant impact on our physical health, as it is essential for maintaining a healthy body and preventing various health conditions. Regular physical activity can improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and endurance, and enhance bone density. Furthermore, engaging in physical activity can improve immune function, reducing the risk of infections and diseases. Regular movement has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Overall, movement plays a crucial role in promoting physical health and well-being, and incorporating regular exercise or physical activity into our daily routines can lead to long-term health benefits.
The Impacts of Movement on Mental Health:
Movement plays a crucial role in promoting good mental health, as it can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve overall emotional wellbeing. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals that can increase feelings of happiness and well-being. Engaging in regular physical activity has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving mental health outcomes. Movement can also help to reduce stress levels, which can have a significant impact on mental health. Overall, incorporating movement into daily routines is an essential aspect of promoting good mental health, and can lead to improved overall wellbeing.
How to Incorporate Joyful Movement:
Movement can be triggering for many folx - especially those recovering from eating disorders or who have experienced fatphobia in the medical system. Today, we’d like to introduce some weight-inclusive tips to incorporate joyful movement, which only has an agenda to have you connect with your body as it is.
Take a walk: Going for a leisurely walk in nature is an excellent way to get moving and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. You can make it more enjoyable by bringing a friend or family member, listening to music, or exploring new areas.
Try yoga: Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can improve flexibility, balance, and strength, while also promoting relaxation and reducing stress. You can find beginner-friendly yoga classes online or in your local community.
Dance: Dancing is a fun and joyful way to get moving and express yourself. You can dance alone or with others, at home or in a class, and choose a style that appeals to you, such as salsa, hip-hop, or ballroom.
Gardening: Gardening is a relaxing and enjoyable way to get moving, and it also has the added benefits of connecting you with nature and providing a sense of accomplishment. You can start a small garden in your backyard or balcony, or volunteer at a community garden.
Stretching: Stretching is a simple and gentle way to get your body moving, reduce tension, and improve flexibility. You can do it in the morning, during a break at work, or before bed, and find stretches that feel good for your body, such as a seated twist or a standing forward fold.
We hope this blog post helped inform you about holistic health, and just one element of it: joyful movement! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life - including movement. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!