By Barbara Broggelwirth, RDN, CDN

Did you ever have a stressful day and then feel reinvigorated after participating in some form of physical activity? That’s because our minds and bodies are intimately connected; we tend to hold negative energy in our bodies. In other words, the issues are in our tissues. The good news is that while our brain is the master control system for the body’s movement, the way we move can also affect the way we feel. Even better is that the movement does not have to be a 30-minute spin class to be effective.  Whatever your preferred method of movement is, counts.

One type of movement that may be especially helpful is “meditative movement” where you pay close attention to your bodily sensations, such as Qigong, tai chi, and yoga. Changing posture positions, focusing on breathing and rhythm can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety.

The key is to your move your body in some way. Other suggestions may include gardening, a walk outdoors or an indoor exercise class. If you are limited to an apartment, indoor gardening counts because the plants you sew will need daily nurturing that require you to get up and move.

Lastly, let’s not forget about non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis (NEAT), which is just a fancy way of saying increase our activities of daily living.

Ways we can boost our daily movement with NEAT:

  • Stand at your desk – research shows that standing boosts your calorie burn by an extra 72 calories per hour.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Mow your own lawn.
  • Clean your own house.
  • Pace around when you are waiting instead of sitting.
  • Break up your day with short walks and trips.
  • Do your own grocery shopping.
  • Go for walks in nature on the weekends and take the trail with the most hills.
  • Plant your own vegetable or herb garden.

In these uncertain times, many of us are dealing with negative emotions. Even mundane tasks like taking a trip to the grocery store can be stressful. Find some solace in the fact that there are things you can do for yourself that can release those negative feelings.


Barbara Broggelwirth, RD, CDN a registered dietitian nutritionist who works with Bariatric and Medical Weight Management patients to help them achieve their health and weight loss goals.