Updated: Dec 13, 2022
You don’t need to run for miles or go to the gym all night to reap the many benefits of working
out and moving your body. Moving your body can be going for a half hour walk, stretching,
standing up, even just holding certain poses and practicing breathwork. When we engage in
regular light physical activity, we are more likely to continue to engage in moving our bodies
People who exercise regularly tend to experience an over-all sense of well-being. They often
sleep better, eat better, have more energy throughout the day and have a stronger sense of self-
confidence and self-worth. Regular exercise has been shown to have profound benefits on
anxiety, depression and ADHD as well.
Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant
medication, and of course, without the side effects! The reason for this is due to exercise
promoting changes in our brain including neural growth, a decrease in inflammation, and new
activity patterns that promote feelings of calmness and well-being.
Exercise is also a natural and effective anxiety treatment. Adding mindfulness elements to
moving your body or exercising is also great for anxiety as it is very grounding and can interrupt
the constant worries anxiety holds over us.
Other mental health benefits of exercise are a sharper memory, higher self-esteem, better sleep,
stronger resilience, and more energy.
Don’t have time for a full hour or half-hour work out? Who does! If you start with 5-10 minutes
of moving your body or exercise you will slowly tack on more time. Really, what you are doing
is creating a habit. The key here is CONSISTENCY. Even if you start with doing one stretch a
day for a couple of minutes. If you can do it at the same time every day, or most days, and stay
committed to this it becomes a habit that you can slowly add on to. It is better to set small
realistic expectations that you can meet so that you can build confidence which will in turn create
Here is an example of a subtle body movement/pose you may like to begin with - Forward Bend:
Start standing, with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Notice how your weight is being held
by your pelvis, your hips, and your legs. Be sure to engage your legs. Sweep and reach your arms all the way up to the sky. Image creating separation between your rib cage and your pelvis or hips. As you reach up you should be breathing in, filling up with air. Sweep your arms down, breathing out, and bending at your hips. You should fold over your legs and try your best to touch the ground or your toes. (This will not happen for everyone but the more you practice and incorporate breath work the closer to the ground you will get I promise!) Be sure your legs are engaged, and you are not collapsing over yourself. Make sure your head is dropped looking back behind you. You should feel a decompression of your spine and your neck.
This pose is extremely beneficial for spine health which all of us need today with the amount of sitting we do. Stay here as long as you like. You can play with your breath too. Breathing in and lifting or coming up half-way, hands to knees, breathing our and dropping back down (you should be able to drop a little further than before when you sink your breath like this). While hanging here you can nod your head yes and shake your head no for some extra relief. Bringing mindfulness into
this again, check in on your jaw, if you are clenching, release it, making sure the tip of your
tongue is gently pressed up behind your front teeth. When you are ready come out of this post by
lifting with your legs and bending from your waste. Sweeping your arms up again, creating that
separation between ribs and pelvic area and placing your hands back down by your side.
Let us know how this went for you!