“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.”
~ Carol Welch
If you need an uplift, here’s an idea… get off your butt and move. It’s such a simple way to re-energize and yet when we’re busy and stressed we ignore that truth and sink further into fatigue… which is truly counter intuitive.
Movement always matters, but these days it’s particularly important, and in this video discussion with mindfulness advocate Chris Bauer, I talk about why, and share small-steps ways to fit it in.
What’s your go-to plan for movement? Share in the comments then watch the video below, or read the transcript that follows and gain access to the free online mindfulness program connected to this interview!
Chris: Well hi. I want to welcome Michelle Cederberg, a colleague of Ravi and I, we’ve both known and worked with for a long time. She’s an expert on health and productivity and success. Michelle, thank you so much for taking your time to do this for today.
Michelle: Very happy to be here Chris.
Chris: Thank you. Well so tell us a little about what got your interested in exercise and the relationship between exercise and wellness and productivity.
Michelle: Yeah, it’s kind of been a life long endeavor for me. I come to the speaking world through the fitness world. So I was a personal trainer, and fitness instructor, and teacher of Exercise Physiology at the college level, and all things health. And so it’s been an important part of my ongoing philosophy of life, you know, physical health as a foundation for personal and professional growth. So, all my life.
Chris: All right, so this was just one more step for ya?
Michelle: (Laughs) I guess, yeah.
Chris: All right, terrific. So you know, we all know that exercise is important for our health, but could you talk a little bit about why it’s important, and that may sound like an obvious question, but I think people can use a reminder. And also to talk about why it’s especially important now.
Michelle: Well, I mean, I think that most of us know why, in general, exercise is important. You know, longevity, and health, and starving off disease and all of that, so I’ll go straight to the “why” it’s especially important now.
Chris: Go for it.
Michelle: Here’s what I’ll say. You’re an essential worker and you’re out there, you’re probably moving just as much, or more than you were before self-isolation. And to that group I often say, give yourself the downtime when you get it. But for those of us who have been in self-isolation, I guarantee, simply because we’re not leaving our houses to go run errands or do the work that we do, or travel to the airport as many speakers do, our step count is down by thousands, every single day, even as active people. And because we are self-isolated, I’m guaranteeing that the steps are fewer, they’re less frequent, and they’re less intense. And so under self-isolation, we need it to just maintain the health we gain from movement, but we also need it because of the mental health that we gain because of it.
Chris: Sure, so talk a little bit about what kind of exercise we should be doing at this point.
Michelle: Well, I mean exercise is a funny one, because it… High intensity exercise, if you’re not ready for that, can be a stressor and we don’t need more stress now. We’re bombarded with stress right now from the outside world, the news, and uncertainty, and all that. But the right kinds of stress being lower intensity, stuff that you already love and stuff you already enjoy. And even mindfulness type of exercise. So I’ve been doing a lot of walking. I’ve started to do yoga online, which took a little bit of getting used to, and I’ve continued to do almost daily bike rides from my house, and that’s what I’ve done prior too. So you know, it really is about doing what you had been doing, it’s about doing what you love, and at the very least, the good old simple, put your running shoes on and walk out the door for a physically distanced walk with mother nature.
Chris: Yeah all right, and a couple of questions that are sort of tied together, in my mind at least. One is how much exercise is enough, and number two, there’s some people that are shut in, you know, by choice or not, and do you have some thoughts about kinds of exercise that people can and should, or maybe should not be doing at home maybe, just using what’s available to them in their house?
Michelle: In terms of how much is enough, when I talk to my audiences I say, “Your goal is to consistently do more than what is normal for you.” I want you to think about that. If you’re you know, a high intensity triathlete, go, go, go kind of person, It’s gonna be challenging under self-isolation to do more than what is normal for you.
Chris: A lot of laps around the living room.
Michelle: Well it might be laps around the living room or the backyard, it might be getting out for a bike ride or a run and keeping physically distanced. But for most of us, I believe that during self-isolation we should make a concerted effort to do some sort of movement every single day. Whether that is a walk around your block to start and end your day, whether that is dancing in your living room, or walking up and down flights of stairs for you know, 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much that gets your heart rate up. Or going online to any number of the organizations that are putting hundreds of hours of free workouts online that don’t require equipment, that you know, are actually a lot of fun.
Chris: Yeah, so things that anyone can do?
Michelle: Yes, and I think that for most of us, making a plan to move everyday for at least 10 minutes, and then having a few days a week where we’re moving for 30 minutes or more, is really gonna help us get to the other side of this with resilience, and with self-esteem, and with energy, to kind of square our shoulders for whatever’s gonna come next. And I will also say this, I often say I exercise for my mind, and my body reaps the benefits. So let’s face it, these have been challenging times for so many reasons, for so many people. And the stresses of that cannot be ignored, but when we take care of our physical health it really does give a boost to our emotional wellness, and to our resilience I guess, to push back against whatever we’ve got coming our way.
Chris: Yeah, terrific. Well so I know in your book, and I need to double check the title here, “Energy Now, Small Steps to an Energetic Life,” you talk about taking small steps. That’s one of the things we’ve talked about a lot in this course, is taking small steps whatever you’re doing, learning it a step wise fashion with practice, over time. So how small can or should those steps be when it comes to exercise?
Michelle: You know, as small as you can fit in I say, some days. I say that, you know, we all have the best intentions to be better and do better. We all have this go big or go home mindset that we’d like to be able to daily implement, I’m finally gonna…
Chris: It sounds good, doesn’t it, yeah?
Michelle: Do that thing right, I’m gonna work really hard, I’m gonna, you know, regain the health I had in my 20s, whatever it might be. But when our time is… I don’t wanna say we’ve got lots of time now, but it is very much distracted due to homeschooling or to working from home, or to processing news or dealing with how you’re going to get the next payment for your mortgage or what have you. The pressure to then go and do a big proper workout can have most people overwhelmed.
And so I would rather that people take small consistent steps every single day through this, rather than going big every day. And to listen to what your mind and body need on a given day. I say that 10 minutes everyday of doing something is going to help you feel better, and then those days when you feel like you can do more, do more. I’m a big fan of getting outdoors whenever it’s safe and where you can physically distance. And the thing about walking outdoors is that you’ll be drawn into wanting to go more. So if you’re feeling like “Argh, I don’t wanna do anything, I just wanna curl up in a ball and watch Netflix,” put your running shoes on, and I say walk out the door for 10 minutes, and if you don’t feel like walking, you know, when that 10 minutes is up, then turn around and walk home, right (laughs.) All of a sudden you’ve got 20 minutes. (laughs.)
Chris: All right, so actually my next question sort of dovetails on that, and maybe the answer’s exactly the same, I’m not sure. So you know, there’s gonna be some people watching this who, for whatever their reasons, really don’t feel like doing anything at all. And maybe it’s physical exhaustion, maybe it’s emotional exhaustion. Maybe it’s depression or anxiety. There could be all sorts of reasons. You know, what would be your advice for those folks? what are things they can think or things they can do that might help them at least begin to take those small steps that you’re talking about?
Michelle: You know, it’s a great question because when we are depressed, or anxious, or feeling high levels of stress, we can have a tendency to go inward, to hibernate, to curl up in a ball. When the exact thing that we probably do need, is a little bit of movement. The one thing I will say is the walking is such a simple one. Put on some earbuds with music that you like and head out the door, or physically distance with a friend, or go out with a family member. If you’ve got a dog, they need you. Take them out for a walk. But if you’re having one of those days where it’s like, “I don’t know if I can do this,” just simply put on some music that you love. Just turn it on in your house and just stand with the music. And it can be some sort of inspiring classical music, it could be jazz, whatever kind of music really just gets at your heart, because sometimes just having that on, and I say standing in it, will just kinda give you, I don’t know, it’s energy and empowerment. And if you feel…
Chris: Literally standing in it.
Michelle: Standing in it, and so it’s getting up and letting your feet be grounded and letting your energy come up and out of you, so you can really kind of trust that your legs are gonna hold you. You’re gonna be okay, you can move if you want to. And this is what I’m talking about when people are really having a tough time. And then at the best of times, if we’re just feeling like, “ah, I don’t wanna do anything,” music always helps (laughs.)
Chris: Yeah I agree…
Michelle: Music and walking are the two simple ones, I would say. You know?
Chris: Fantastic. So this is incredibly helpful. Tell folks where they can get more information if they’re interested in finding out more about what you do, and maybe following. I know you’ve got a strong social media presence. Where can people get more Michelle Cederberg information?
Michelle: Michellecederberg.com is a great place to start, and I am on Twitter and Instagram as @cederbergspeaks (sign up below). I send out regular tips, I send out a weekly video, and you can sign up for that via michellecederberg.com. And I’m always happy to answer questions from your viewers if they email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris: I love that email address.
Michelle: Hello! (laughs)
Chris: Thank you so much Michelle, this has been incredibly helpful, I appreciate you taking the time to do this for us.
Michelle: Thank you Chris. It’s great that you’re doing this for all of your viewers. We will get through this. And hey, if you wanna sign up for Ravi and Chris’ 21 Days of Serenity, go to www.getridofthestress.com. and don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and check out those other social channels for lots going on. Until next time.
Hey, I’m presenting online these days, and it’s not only fun, it’s pretty darn effective. If your organization needs a break from the work-from-home routine to learn how to boost resilience, work-life balance and productivity, reach out to me to chat about my engaging online sessions!
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