As many of you will be aware, I am a glass half full, blue sky believer when it comes to making the most of the body one’s in, to live life more fully. Despite all that, I too fall prey to confusing being lifestyle ‘busy’ with being physically ‘active’ when it comes to investing in my health. I have been reflecting on a few lifestyle choices I have inadvertently made recently which has had some inadvertent results on my mind and body.
Walking-walking vs Garden Walking
The mental and physical health benefits of walking in the garden are not the same as walking on a ‘walk-walk’. They are both fabulous for all they offer our body and soul but the fabulousness is different. A walk-walk offers a varied pace, a change in terrain, a repetitive stride that generates momentum, rhythm, flow and postural poise which the garden walk simply can’t offer to the same extent. This year I like many of you, have used the additional time I’ve had at home, to create in my garden more than I ever have before. EVER.
Up and down, up and down I have gone and I must have walked miles in said garden, since the calling of March 2020. It has been incredible and wonderful to use my body in so many different ways. In particular it has strengthened my arms and enabled me to flex and twist in all manner of directions. Marvellous.
HOWEVER, for all that marvellousness one has to accept that for the majority of the time, gardening requires us to be in a more or less sustained bent over position as we work our green fingered magic (or at least our dreams of such). Even if we try really hard to break up the forward flexed garden tasks with reachy-uppy-stretchy-outy ones, by its very nature our spines are bent. While we can argue the case (and believe me I have) that all that up and down, up and down the garden path we go, justifiably replaces all the benefits of a bracing walk, IT DOES NOT.
(Note to self: are you listening Rachel Anne Kili?)
Therefore it is essential that our bodies are exposed to the joy and multiple mind and body treats freely available on a walk-walk. Allow the striding out, rhythm and flow and postural poise to enhance your core strength, cardiovascular fitness, leg dexterity while reconnecting body and soul. Then of course, straight back to the garden…
Teaching Simply Move! vs Living to Simply Move!
There are times when I catch myself out and realise I am talking the talk about living a movement enhancing lifestyle MORE THAN I AM ACTUALLY LIVING this life of which I speak. I have studied it, taught it, lived it and know it to be how we as human-moving-beings were designed to flourish and thrive. And yet recently I have been hugely distracted from nourishing my body and soul, spending gargantuan amounts of time (really) sitting staring at a screen to create, complete and then launch my new service Simply Move! Online and for it to stand loud and proud on my sparkly new website. Justifiably you may be wondering why someone like me whose whole joie de vivre, is to move and groove, to lengthen and strengthen, to replenish with relish restorative rest and relaxation, as an integral part of everything that it is to be me, has allowed themselves to become distracted.
Well, it’s a good point.
It turns out I have been burrowing further and further down the rabbit warren of drive and determination, so the finish line I was heading for would look as super slick and proud as punch professional, as I could possibly make it. The finish line has been crossed and I have achieved what I set out to achieve (and I hope you agree…) but it has been at a cost. My back is stiff and sore, my head is still too tightly wired and the rhythm of routinely tuning into what my body and soul needs, has lost its momentum.
But you know what? That’s life.
I recognise that is where I am. I sure as heck don’t like it and I’m even more sure that that is not where I am going to stay. I’m on it now to make the change, the mindset shift, recognising that this is not an endpoint but of course a lifestyle choice along a different path. Yes I admit it’s quite hard at times to switch direction but I have to accept that and just keeping chipping away in the direction I want to go in, for my body and soul to once again be in harmony with the life I live.
You too can switch direction when you find yourself somewhere you don’t like, or have fallen into a less than positive pattern, where things are somehow just off kilter. Be kind to yourself as you make this discovery. Make small, realistic but consistent steps in the direction you wish to head. Like me, you’ll probably find it won’t change overnight and you can lose your way really easily. It can take a considerable effort to change your habits because they have become a little to comfortably entrenched in one’s life. Darn them! The key is to keep on keeping on with tuning into your mind and body, noting unwelcome defaults and habits and making a conscious effort to choose a different path.
You too my friends can be a glass half full, blue sky believer just like me and believe in making the most of the body your in today, to live more of your life tomorrow.