The liberating lessons I have learned about movement

A core part of my health message is the 5 pillars; sleep, breathe, nourish, movement and thought. These are the things we do in life that build resilience and improve our health. When it comes to implementing these pillars, everyone struggles with different pillars. This last week I had someone reach out to me explaining their biggest struggle was the movement pillar. They had been out of the habit of consistently exercising for a number of years. On top of this working full time with 2 teenagers meant that life had become pretty chaotic and prioritising herself had taken a back seat.

This isn’t an uncommon challenge people face. Finding the time to exercise can be a struggle, let alone finding the time to do it regularly and consistently. I wanted to share some things that I have learned and I do to keep movement a regular part of my routine.

One hour of exercise a day isn’t necessary

In fact, a 10km run boosts your metabolism for up to six hours, while 20mins of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) can boost it for twenty-four to forty-eight hours. This was incredibly liberating for me in 2009 when I first heard this from Aaron Mckenzie at Origin of Energy. The major take away from this is that it’s about quality, not quantity. For me, 20mins of HIIT feels far more manageable than thinking I have to go out and flog my body for an hour.

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Aaron Mckenzie. Post continues after audio.

Train intelligently, think sustainably

In addition to feeling more manageable, a HIIT style workout is also more sustainable. Rather than being extremely fatigued for days after a workout, this form of intermittent intensive exercise can be repeated day after day. If you don’t have the time for this then even 3-4 times a week can boost your metabolism and leave you stronger and more flexible.  Just 20mins of intermittent intensive exercise in combination with weight-bearing exercise is key.

Prioritise sleep

This may seem an odd point to make when talking about regular exercise but stay with me. If we aren’t sleeping properly (or for long enough), then we lack the energy to exercise. When we make sleep a priority and get to bed early, then we are able to wake up early and fit exercise in at the beginning of the day.

Not sure where to start?

I start my day with just 10 sun salutations. This whole body yoga movement is an integral part of my morning routine. It’s something I do at home and daily. It gives you a great stretch and also has positive effects on our endocrine, cardiovascular and lymphatic systems, not to mention heart, muscles and digestive tract. If you have not done yoga before or are unsure of the moves it is worth getting some advice from a yoga teacher, as proper alignment is key. I follow a routine similar to this one. Sometimes after sun salutations, I’ll feel like doing a bit more. So 4-5 times a week I’ll do a variety of 15-20 minute workouts with a focus of core at the end. The whole thing takes 20-30mins.

Listen: Dr. Ron Ehrlich interviews Dr. Jason Kaplan. Post continues after audio.

The key points about movement:

  • 20mins of intermittent intensive exercise boosts your metabolism for longer than a 10km run
  • Make your movement sustainable
  • Prioritise your sleep so you have the energy to exercise
  • Incorporate sun salutations into your morning routine
  • Just start – so often we put off starting something new until we feel like we have all the equipment to do it or everything is in line. Just start doing some form of movement today.