My Movement Trifecta- Strength, Walking, and Yoga

Movement and exercise have always been a big part of my life.  As a kid, my brother and I were very active.  We would play in the woods, participate in games with the neighborhood ruffians, and even wander around in half constructed houses near us (so safe).  I grew up rollerblading, playing tennis and volleyball, and generally just loving the outdoors and activity. 

Now that I am older, I still love various active endeavors.  The biggest change is having to diligently incorporate movement into my routine, not only for my mental state and the health of my cardiovascular system, but also for the very important reason of continuing to fit my butt into my pants.  That was less of a concern as a kid.  

Luckily for me, I am able to be very active in my job.  I don't have to combat a long commute in the car and hours of desk sitting.  My heart goes out to you, cubicle dwellers!  This does make it easier for me to preach about daily movement, as I am fortunate that it's integrated into my work.  Office peeps have it a lot harder.  Maybe you all could talk your bosses into walking meetings?  Hey, Steve Jobs did it!  

After years of trying various workouts and routines, I feel like I have a good handle on what works best for me at this time in my life.  This might change for sure, but I feel like my exercise is sustainable, continues to be enjoyable, and hits all of the areas I need to be well balanced in body, mind, and spirit.  

Here is my trifecta of movement:

 

 

Why do I love strength training, walking, and yoga, and why would I recommend these three types of exercise to anyone?

Strength training

In my opinion, strength training will be the best way to get where you want to be aesthetically.  If you want to look toned and more defined, strength training is definitely the way to go.  I think it is super important for everyone, but especially women, to incorporate some kind of strength or resistance training into their lives.  And not just to look fly in those jeans.  There is such a great sense of accomplishment when lifting weights and realizing your own potential.  I love the goal setting aspect, seeing weights get progressively heavier, and shattering misconceptions of what I thought I could lift.

If you are a beginner to strength training, I will give a shout out to my profession.  Hire a personal trainer.  The cost for a trainer will be worth every penny to learn proper and safe form, how to build a strength training program based on your goals, and to help you stay accountable.  Cincinnati people- shameless plug for Cincy 360 Fitness.  We have a fantastic team of really passionate, knowledgable, and dare I say FUN AND HILARIOUS AND CHARMING trainers! 

This is no lie- I was the first vegetarian my boss saw in the gym who could lift a good amount of weight and wasn't a weak little twerp.  I literally showed him that vegetarians/vegans could be strong.  Couple that with being female, and I basically gotta keep showing up in the gym to represent my peoples!  Too many women believe that the 5-15lb weights are where we "live".  Nah girl, load up that leg press with 270lbs and show yourself what you can do!  (Safely and with good form, of course).  

Lastly, a byproduct of lifting weights is that I feel more confident in my strength from a safety standpoint.  Women are often preyed upon for being "weaker".  Could a large man still overpower me?  Yes.  However, I could give him a hell of a fight.  Muscles come in handy not only for moving furniture and carrying 20 bags of groceries up the steps, but who knows when being strong might save your life or help you in a sketchy situation?  GIRL POWER! 

 

Yoga

I looooove me some yoga.  Let me count the ways.  Yoga is a great form of bodyweight resistance training.  It helps keep the body flexible and stretches the muscles.  It improves balance and posture.  It develops core strength and proper breathing practices.  The body benefits are the smaller portion of why I love yoga so much.  For me, the mind benefits keep me coming back again and again.  

The mind body connection paired with yoga breathing is a like a moving meditation for me.  I love practicing tuning in to my body, clearing my mind, and focusing on inhaling and exhaling.  Practicing yoga is imperative for my personal stress and anxiety management.  It is an invitation to slow down and think about self care.  Not to mention that there is often a meditation aspect before or after the yoga practice. It is an amazing combination of movement and mindfulness.  I honestly believe if everyone did yoga the world would be a better place.  Kumbay-freaking-ya! 

Let me squash one misconception- you don't have to be all hippy dippy trippy to try or be into yoga.  It is beneficial for anyone and everyone.  CEO's, stay at home moms, kids, garbage collectors, teachers, accountants, I don't care.  GET YOUR YOGA ON.  

If you are brand new to yoga, I recommend going to a studio for the first few times at least to get instruction and body cues from the teacher.  If you feel like you are very body aware and good at taking instruction, you could try beginner videos online.  There are tons of fantastic websites you can use to do yoga from home!  Try:  

yogadownload.com

gaia.com

alomoves.com

or my personal favorite because it is free- YouTube!  That is my primary source for yoga videos.  Some of my favorite YouTube channels for yoga are: 

Fightmaster Yoga

Heart Alchemy Yoga with Michelle Goldstein

The Journey Junkie

Yoga with Adriene 

 

Walking

Walking is my primary form of cardio these days.  I do like doing other HIIT based cardio now and then like the rower, jumping rope, ball slams, etc.  Walking is included in my Movement Trifecta because it is easy, accessible, effective, can be done consistently, and most importantly, gets people outside!  Walking on the treadmill in the colder months is fine, but if and when you can- get outside!  The nature aspect is a huge addition to why walking, in my humble opinion, is such a great form of exercise.  

Walk at a fast pace, put on a favorite podcast, get some sunshine and fresh air, and burn calories while you relieve stress.  Bonus points for doing hills, nature trails or hikes.  Do not underestimate the power of the humble walk!  

 

How about you?  Do you have your own personal Movement Trifecta?  Let me know in the comments below!  Stay tuned for a future post with a more detailed graphic that includes my Movement Trifecta, plus the other BusyBody essentials for a healthy and balanced life!  

 

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