by Todd Fulginiti

What are you doing? You there- with the paper in your hand. Or is it a cell phone? Or a laptop at your desk? Staring at words. Your body is not very happy with you right now. Empty your hands. Get up! Start moving. Take a walk, go for a jog, ride a bike, jump in the lake, lift some weights, clean the house, rake the yard, whatever. Just get up and move! Your life depends on it. No joke.

If your body could sing, it would probably sing that catchy but annoying song the lemurs sing in the 2005 DreamWorks film “Madagascar”. I bet you can hear it in your head right now. “I like to move it, move it.”

Your body loves to move it. We aren’t made to be still. Want proof? Just visit your local elementary school and watch kids at recess. Especially the younger ones. They run. Often times for no reason. They just run around the playground. Older kids often do their movement or running in the form of a game, but they’re still usually moving a lot.

So what do we do to our elementary kids? We make them sit still in a chair for long stretches of the day. This goes against human nature, especially for little ones. When the kids grow up, they turn into adults, many of whom get jobs that require them to sit for long stretches while working. Over time, all of this sitting can take its toll on our minds, bodies, and spirits.

When I am forced to be still for too long, I turn into a different person. Besides the soreness and stiffness that attacks my legs, back and backside, I get really irritable. Ask my wife. I also have a reduced flow of creative thought, or logical thought, or any thought at all other than “I need to get up right now.” I’m probably not alone in this.

We know that proper exercise can add years to our lives, or subtract them if we are neglectful. We also know that if we’re going to be sitting for a large part of the day, we really need to balance things out with some good, old-fashioned exercise. Even a little can make life much better. You’ve heard all the cliches about the benefits of regular exercise, and they are all true. The body gets increasingly stronger, the mind brighter, and the spirit more in tune.

Beyond full out exercising, several studies have shown that any type of movement is better than nothing. Even standing up is better than sitting. Some recommend that we make a conscious effort to stand or move around for at least 10 minutes of every hour. This is in addition to exercising “full out” 3-4 times per week.

So try it. Stand up! Walk around. Stretch! Start an exercise routine. This article is short for a reason- get moving!

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