• Pat Birnie

18 (or more) reasons why we should move our body daily!


Have you opted in to my "Be Inspired, Be Healthy" series yet? If not, I would be delighted if you would take a few minutes to check it out. My goal is to provide a series of tips - many of them are 'micro-habits' that don't take much time, but perhaps you need to focus on cementing the habit. Others take a bit more time, but the payoff will be immense and long-lasting. As a very active, very healthy hockey-playing, marathon-running grandma of 8 I have convinced myself that some of my choices are worth sharing! Here's a link to the opt-in if you want to check it out.


The message is loud and clear - we need to move our bodies! However coming up with a novel way to inspire you to do so (if it's something you struggle with) is not so simple. Someday it is easier for all of us - even me. I had a golf lesson midday today but I still felt I need to walk and I had a lot of other things to accomplish. On the way home I stopped at the store and locked my keys in the car. Oops! BONUS 2 km walk home to get my spare key!



It doesn't matter what you do -- it matters that you do something. Our bodies are a gift -- they are incredible machines that allow us to enjoy the many beautiful things that life brings our way. With any machine, as the years go by stuff happens; the mechanisms slow down, moving parts get a little sticky and occasionally need maintenance. The reality is - even if it hurts to move, it's going to hurt more down the road if you don't. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults need at minimum 150 minutes of vigorous activity each week (20 - 25 minutes a day). If this sounds like a lot, let's put it into perspective -- There are 10,000 minutes in a week. We are asking you to commit 1.5% of your time to being active.


For the purpose of today's conversation - I'm going to use the word 'exercise' as an over-arching term covering anything that increases your heart rate, makes your muscles work and gets your circulation going.


We all differ greatly in how we feel about 'exercise'. If you know me at all, you probably know that I never miss a day of activity. At minimum, I will go outside for a 20 minute walk, and I will also do a few pushups. I also know that many of you think I'm 'weird' or perhaps obsessive. (honest - I'm neither) I guess we fall into various categories with respect to our feelings about it. What category do you fall into?

  1. My day is never complete until I've done some activity that gets my heart pumping and my muscles moving,

  2. I'm hit & miss - I go through stages where I exercise like crazy but then fall off the wagon completely until something inspires me to get moving again.

  3. My exercise is the last thing on my schedule and the lowest priority -- it usually does not happen.

If you are a solid 3 or a sometimes 2, I encourage you to keep reading.


There are so many reasons & benefits to consistently move our bodies. Let's list a few - lower blood pressure & cholesterol, fewer joint issues with less risk of arthritis, stronger bones, improved sleep, better stamina for the fun things in life, improved mood, less anxiety, better memory & less risk of dementia, improved digestion....I could go on and one but I think you get the message!

Don't believe me -- I think these experts know what they are talking about here, or here and yes, this is a really solid source, the Mayo Clinic!


Let's talk how to make it happen, little tips and tricks that I have used for years.

If you are a morning person, how about setting the alarm 20 minutes early and just get it done. (if you love coffee more than being active, let your coffee be your reward). Perhaps you love to get right to work, or your have kids' demands to deal with - set yourself a health break a couple of hours in. If you go for a 20 minute walk or bike ride or even do some core work & stretching, you will be amazed at how fresh your mind will be when you get back to work. I don't recommend leaving it until late in the day, but sometimes that happens. Make it a rule that the TV doesn't go on until you've done some type of physical activity. After dinner walks are so special - if you walk with a family member it is a wonderful time to rehash the day. (Bonus benefit: Improves communication and relationships:)


I want to finish up with some ideas that you can use to create an awesome 20 minute workout: (Have a mat + a couple of light weights or full water bottles handy)

1 minute Start with 'simply moving' your body - bounce up and down, high knees, touch opposite toes, rotate upper body -- you are warming up your muscles here!

1 minute of squats -- watch your form! Feet are hip width apart, hands out front for balance - sit down with a straight back. You can touch your butt to the edge of a chair to help your form.

3 minutes of upper body work with light weights - Try this combo: 25 front raises, 25 shoulder press straight up, 25 side raise, 25 bicep curls, 25 bent over rows, 25 standing chest flyes (if you aren't sure how these are done, google is your friend. Here's good link with some photos of good form)

2 minutes of standing cardio - kickbacks, side kicks, boxing jabs & upper cuts, elbow to side knee, elbows to opposite knee, jumping jacks (at whatever intensity works for you)

4 minutes of abs: lie on your back: 20 reverse crunches (legs in air, lift hips from floor) bend legs at knees - 20 mini crunches, legs straight up -- scissor legs as you lower slowly to the floor -- be careful not to arch your back!

2 minutes of back strength: Flip over to your tummy: 10 Supermans, 10 cobras (hold each for 3-4 seconds then relax). Then get on hands & knees and do 20 cat-cows.

1 minute of lunges - alternate legs or 10 on one side then switch

REPEAT 3 minutes of upper body

3 minutes of stretching & YOU ARE DONE!

If you can do this, and add a short walk or bike run, I promise that in no time at all you'll feel the benefits.

(Feel free to ask me if you have questions about these exercises or anything else)


In closing, our goals are all about "Pro-Aging" , embracing our life experiences and challenges that have made us who we are today. We are not "anti- or reverse- aging" but rather becoming the absolute best version of ourselves as the years go by. This is just not possible without embracing daily physical activity.


Let's get physical!


Warmly, Pat xo





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