10 Ways to Add Movement to Your Day

Do you feel sluggish, tired and low on energy? It might be because you're not getting enough activity throughout your day. Your body is not designed to be glued to a chair or a sofa. Your body is made to move!

Modern life has cut out the labor of growing our food, doing our chores and getting around. All these conveniences have led to a sedentary lifestyle; we sit more than we move. And you already know that an active lifestyle helps to prevent obesity and all the health problems that come with it. So, let's explore how to add some movement to your day.

Before you embark on a plan to cut your couch time, you might want to consider ‘why' you want to add more activity to your day. Having a goal improves the odds of your following through, what's yours: burn calories, greater flexibility, increase your balance, enhance digestion, strengthen your muscles, boost your brain power, quiet your mind, or decrease stress. Once you've clarified your why you're ready to get into action.

If you're one of the folks that struggle with exercise one of the ways to shift gears on this is to consider it movement. Change the framework and you'll be surprised how you can find time and opportunity to include some kind of activity in your day. Here are some simple ways to add movement to your day:

1. Take the stairs. Pass on the elevator or escalator and put those muscles through their paces. Take the stairs every chance you get.

2. Work out during TV commercials. Do a set of 15-20 planks, pushups, squats or lunges. Imagine if you broke up the average 5 hours of television viewing with sets of exercises. You're well on your way!

3. Sit on an exercise ball at your desk. It will strengthen your core, as you stabilize your movement, and you can also take breaks and do 20 crunches on the ball.

4. Spend 20 minutes on a rebounder. It stimulates all internal organs, moves the cerebral-spinal fluid, and does wonders for the intestines. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, helping to remove waste and toxins at the cellular level.

5. Ride on a swing. Taking the kids to the park? Join them on the swings, race them to see who can go highest.

6. Grow a garden. Yardwork is great because not only does it increase your physical activity, but it also gives you an excuse to be outside. Pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedge, and raking leaves are all very physically taxing and like cleaning, they use a range of muscle groups.

7. Walk every chance you get. Park your car away from the entrance of the store. Take a walk after dinner. Walk to the grocery star and buy groceries for one meal only. Make repeat trips.

8. Walk your dog. This is one of the best excuses to exercise. Your dog will love the opportunity to be out and about. You'll boost your fitness.

9. Take a dance break. Put on your favorite music and dance your cares away. Grab the kiddos and make it a family dance party. Experience the delight of moving your body rhythmically and unleashing your joy!

10. Stand up.  Stand up when you're talking on the phone, get a standup desk, take small breaks from sitting throughout the day. Stand up more than you sit down.

Your body has a built in need for movement. It comes alive with it! Adding little bursts of activity throughout your day will not only nourish your body, it will clear your mind and impart a sense of well being. Let's move it!

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Image: Andrea Rose, Dance Me To The End of Love

7 Ways to Train Your Brain for Gratitude

I'm sure you're familiar with a gratitude practice. Are you practicing? Do gratitude and goodness flow in your everyday moments?

When you have a health challenge, financial stress or family strife it isn't always easy to focus on the good stuff. Challenges seem to block everything else from view, as if you just focused in with a camera. What if you pull out and focus on the bigger picture?

Right now, whatever is going on in your world, write down five things that are good in your life. Spend a little time there, feel deeply into the gift of receiving the goodness that is yours. Doesn't that feel awesome?

Here's another thing I've discovered… gratitude is a manifestation tool. I know that's a bold statement. It's been an experience that has occurred repeatedly in my own world. When I am focused on all the good in my world it opens the floodgates to more abundance.

When I am feeling good about me and my world, I have access to my creative flow and opportunities come my way more easily. The result is an abundance of ideas (that lead to income) and an abundance of connections (which help me shape and share these ideas). I also receive unexpected abundance in serendipitous ways.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
~ Eckhart Tolle

Aside from the feel good and focus benefits of gratitude, scientific studies have found that people who have a gratitude practice experience more emotional well being and physical health than those who don’t. There are many, many benefits of a gratitude practice.

According to Robert Emmons, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology, and author of Thanks!: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, there are also three phases to gratitude:

  1. Recognize what you're grateful for.
  2. Acknowledge what you're grateful for.
  3. Appreciate what you're grateful for.

Simple enough, yes? Here are 7 ways to train your brain for gratitude:

1. Notice What's Nice. Sometimes it may be too big a stretch to find what's good, instead notice what's nice. Take baby steps and find your way into the goodness. Let the avalanche of nice's create a path to gratitude.

2. Compliment Others. Instead of criticism, give positive feedback. No commiserating with one another on “How life sucks!” Notice something good about the other person. It doesn't have to be anything deep either. It could be as simple as “Your hair looks great!” Notice the amount of energy you spend on negative thoughts vs good thoughts. Tilt the scale! (While you're at, notice if the folks you surround yourself with are Negative Nelly's. Shift that too.)

3. Practice Self Gratitude. What are the things about YOU that you're grateful for. Take a moment to close your eyes and give thanks for your amazing body. It's ON 24/7/365! Saturate your cells with love. Give yourself a hug. Take inventory of all your gifts, all the ways in which you are brilliant. Whoa! You are amazing!

4. Turn a Negative Into a Positive. Don't focus on the problem, see the possibility. If it's raining outside don't complain about the weather, notice how it makes you feel calm, peaceful, introspective and go ahead and journal on the rain. Anytime you're about to whine about something, flip the switch, see the gift and sing life's praises.

5. Work Your Gratitude Journal. Don't list the same things over and over. Be specific, go into detail. Write down what's bugging you and then find the invitation in that. Write it down. The more that you practice shifting to a state of gratitude – and seeing how YOU do it – the easier this gratitude game becomes. Journal when you wake up, before you meditate or when you go to bed. Just journal.

6. Pay it forward. If you've been the recipient of an act of kindness make sure to share your kindness in turn. Notice how wonderful it feels to be the recipient of unexpected goodness. It fills you up with love and gratitude. Gift your goodness, honey! There's more where that came from.

7. Support your favorite cause or charity. Give to the causes that mean the most to you. If you're an entrepreneur, support Kiva. If clean water is your passion, support Water.org.  If you have a special place in your heart for wildlife, support the Wildlife Conservation Society. No matter what the cause there's an easy way to support it online. (Of course, volunteering is its own special path. If you're moved to give in this fashion go for it!)

Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
~ Melody Beattie

Gratitude gifts you infinite gifts of the spirit – love, kindness, compassion, joy – and it also shifts your orientation from less to more. May you dance in the riches of abundance and gift life with your grace.

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