Joyful Movement

We can’t deny the evidence that our bodies are designed to move. Physical activity has been shown to have far reaching benefits for prevention of disease, mental health and social wellbeing. But what if we don’t like exercise? What if our only relationship with exercise has been for weight loss? What if we use exercise to punish our bodies for not looking different?

Most people who exercise just for weight management or even just health reasons find it unsustainable, demotivating and stressful. Which is missing the whole stress relieving benefit! Now you may have heard Eat Smart Nutrition have a new service called Project EAT, which aims to improve our relationship with food, but also with physical activity. We need to look at moving our bodies from a different perspective.

Take a moment to reflect on what you are looking for in movement?

  • Socialising with others- e.g. group training, classes or team sports
  • Time alone- running, swimming, yoga
  • Nature or fresh air- bush walking, beach jogging, adventure trails
  • Productivity- cleaning, gardening, walking for transport
  • Creativity- dancing
  • Stress relief- any movement!

If there is a movement that brings you joy in any way, do that. If we enjoy something, we are far more likely to repeat it. We don’t need to get sweaty or sore to benefit from movement. In fact, it is inactivity- not moving for prolonged periods of time that leads to health problems. If you have a medical condition that impacts the way you move, see an Exercise Physiologist to help find out movement that is safe for you. Many conditions that make movement difficult actually improve with (safely planned) movement. This includes arthritis and chronic pain.

So, once you start moving, what is the best thing to eat before and after movement? Glad you asked! If you’re moving for over an hour you will benefit from a carbohydrate based snack in the 1-2 hours prior. This will provide your moving muscles with fuel to work efficiently, and enough energy to complete the activity without fatigue. Common choices include:

  • Fruit
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Smoothie
  • Sushi
  • Sandwich

After movement, our muscles will repair and adapt best if we have a snack within 30 mins containing both protein and carbohydrate. For example:

  • Yoghurt + fruit
  • Sandwich with meat, cheese or peanut butter
  • Tuna + rice/crackers
  • Smoothie with milk, fruit + yoghurt
  • Flavoured milk

If you feel like you need more ideas, see an Eat Smart Dietitian.

Happy moving ?

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