The liberating lessons I have learned about movement

A core part of my health message is the five pillars; sleep, breathe, nourish, movement and thought. These things we do in life build resilience and improve our health. When it comes to implementing these pillars, everyone struggles with different posts. 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 several years. On top of this, working full-time with two 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.

A 10km run boosts your metabolism for up to six hours, while 20mins of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) can extend 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 significant takeaway 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. The post continues after the audio.

Train intelligently, and think sustainably.

In addition to feeling more manageable, a HIIT-style workout is more sustainable. Rather than being highly exhausted 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, 3-4 times a week can boost your metabolism and make you more robust and flexible. Just 20mins of intermittent intensive exercise in combination with weight-bearing exercise is vital.

Prioritise sleep

This may seem odd when discussing regular exercise but stay with me. If we aren’t sleeping correctly (or long enough), we lack the energy to exercise. When we make sleep a priority and get to bed early, we can wake up early and fit exercise in at the beginning of the day.

Not sure where to start?

I start my day with just ten 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 positively affects our endocrine, cardiovascular and lymphatic systems, heart, muscles and digestive tract. If you have not done yoga before or are unsure of the moves, getting some advice from a yoga teacher is worth it, as proper alignment is critical. 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 core focus at the end. The whole thing takes 20-30mins.

Listen: Dr Ron Ehrlich interviews Dr Jason Kaplan. The post continues after the 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 – 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.