By Michelle Murdolo, MS, RD, CDN
Self-care is considered taking action to improve your health or to protect your own happiness and well-being. This includes taking care of your mental health. Typically, when we think of self-care, we envision things like sleeping in, taking a hot bath, finding some “me” time in our day – relaxing activities. Engaging in physical activity may not always be the first thing that comes to mind when we think of self-care – but it should be on our list. Movement is just another way that we take care of our body and mind.
Moving our bodies provides us with many benefits including:
- Helping to manage weight
- Reducing risk of chronic disease
- Improving mood
- Improving brain function and health
- Managing blood sugars
- Strengthening muscles and bones, and reducing risk of falls
- Improving sleep
- Increasing longevity
- Increasing energy
- And so much more!
Not all forms of physical activity may feel as calming and relaxing as a spa day, but we can still reap all these benefits with any type of movement we choose. And all these benefits fit right in with the definition of self-care – improving our health, happiness, and well-being. It’s up to you to determine what form of activity makes you happy.
To get the most bang for your buck, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. How you choose to move is up to you! By moving your body in a way you enjoy, you’ll get even more benefits from your routine and will truly feel the self-care aspect of exercise.
Remember, movement should be enjoyable, it should not feel forced. Spend some time exploring different kinds of physical activity until you find the one that is right for you.
Michelle Murdolo, MS, RD, CDN registered dietitian nutritionist who helps guide patients through their bariatric surgery and weight management journey. She comes from a background of eating disorders and disordered eating and emphasizes body positivity and health at every size principle.