Ok… just as we are learning to be still, we come to the next step to cope with anxiety and stress. It’s Movement. We know that exercise has lots of physical benefits but getting our bodies moving can also improve our brains. Studies have shown that physical exercise at least twice a week will help prevent normal cognitive decline that we see as memory loss as we age. We sleep longer and better when we exercise regularly.
I find this interesting. It doesn’t have to be aerobic exercise, meditative movement can also boost the brain. From Harvard Medical Publishing: “ changing your posture, breathing and rhythm can all change your brain and help reduce stress, depression and anxiety.”
The Chopra Center reminds us of an added bonus: a healthier Lymph. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system. The Lymph system moves infection-fighting fluid though our bodies. And here is where movement comes in. “Unlike the circulatory or respiratory systems, the lymphatic system does not have a “pump.” Instead, it relies on your motion to circulate lymph fluid around the body. Each time you move large muscles of the body, you help pump lymphatic fluid through your body, keeping your systems circulating.” (Chopra Center).
In our virus crazy world this sounds pretty important.
As you have probably noted tonight and all week for that matter, I have been the “google’ queen, researching all kinds of sites on the benefits of these steps. I always find something that surprises me. For me, exercise is a “single” sport. For many years, I loved to walk on a treadmill. Weather permitting, I often walk alone outside. I have never been one for exercise classes, but then this caught my eye. Harvard Publishing reports a study showing that when we move in synchrony with someone else, it improves self-esteem. The study looked at people who exercise or move alone and those who exercise with others.
“Prior studies had shown that synchronizing your movement with others makes you like them more.. You also cooperate more with them and feel more charitable toward them. In fact, movement synchrony can make it easier to remember what people say and to recall what they look like. This was the first study to show that it makes you feel better about yourself, too. That’s probably why the dance movement therapy can help depressed patients feel better.”
Once again, the power of community, of not only being with others, but “moving” with others. I’m thinking “Dance Party!”
Grace and Peace,