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The Importance of Movement
Wednesday, 31 October 2007

You’ve got to exercise to lose weight. And then, when you’ve reached a good weight and level of fitness for you: You’ve got to exercise some more, nearly every day, for the rest of your life.

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Why? Well, because, you’re an animal. Sorry, sweetness, but you weren’t designed to sit still, no matter how cushy the cushions, no matter how firm the foam. No matter how inwardly inward, bookish, and thoughtful you are. You were made to move. And so, if you value your health, you will move, as much as you can, for as long as you can.

You don’t have to hate it, or overthink it, or do it competitively. It doesn’t have to be expensive, adventuresome, social, or pretty, it just has to happen. Today. Tomorrow.

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You won’t have to do it the same way every day, or commit to a lot of expensive equipment or spend thousands on memberships, although if that’s fun for you, then by all means. Just move. Just exercise.

We were built for movement, and our health depends on it. Movement increases circulation, circulation fires all the complex and interdependent biochemical reactions that make a body go and keep it healthy for the long run. Movement builds muscle, encourages bone formation, each activity driving up your metabolism to use up the energy you consume.

And of course, the more you move, the more you can use what you consume, the less fat you’ll deposit on your frame.

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We were never designed to sit still all day long. Instead, we were built to stay on our feet most of the day, wandering about, hunting down our food. If, like me, you spend a great deal of your day seated, mainly inert, moving from car to desk and back again, then you need to make up for it. Take breaks every couple of hours to walk up and down a flight or two of stairs. Walk on your lunch hour, park in the farthest spot. Try morning calisthenics, evening aerobics. Put an exercise bike in your office, and hop on for 15 minutes or so every couple of hours to pump up your heart rate while you think through your next tasks. Can you ride a bike to work? Walk? Get off the subway or bus route a couple of stops early?

At first it’ll be something you have to force yourself to remember to do. But eventually, with plenty of practice, you’ll find that moving comes, well, naturally. Just spend some time today remembering that you are an animal, and like all animals, you need room to move. Then do it.


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"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."

Helen Keller

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