Movement Medicine for the Fall and Winter Season
Transitioning from Summer to Fall
~ Optimally, Organically, Naturally ~
Using the magic of movement medicine
In recent articles posted this season we've written how powerful & important it is to change how we care for and optimize our vitality as the season changes using theories of Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture and Ayurvedic Medicine (click the links for all the info!).
These are both ancient Eastern Medicines that have stood the test of time. They focus more on maintaining and restoring the body's ability to heal itself - naturally & organically versus Western medicine which tends to focus on fixing the body's chemistry and mechanics/imaging (Not that we don't love Western.....we do!!).
As the seasons shift, adjusting foods, activities, plant medicines (supplements and teas), appointment types, routine and energy flow are large components of optimizing vitality, health, happiness, and protecting us from break-down, illness, or disease.
In this article, our Vitam integrative Physical Therapists are sharing our unique approach to the activity piece - a powerful organic integrative medicine you can harness anytime.
Activity = movement, fitness, exercise, recreation, play, time-out, time-in......whatever you are drawn to calling it!
Movement is Medicine for the Mind, Body, and Spirit.
The body, mind, and spirit adapts and levels-up given a new regular stimulus/load. The movement is the "medicine" you "take" to apply the stimulus.
In the fitness world there are a lot of "shoulds." At Vitam we prioritize celebrating life as a whole (Carpe Vitam!!!). Life is too short to be riddled down by too many "shoulds."
So, we're going to take a different approach with movement incorporating your freedom and trusting your wisdom to choose based on how you feel. Fall and winter is a time to slow down and conserve and restore so incorporate stillness too. We know you want more happiness, energy and contentedness. And less depression and stress. Move in a scientifically proven way to have the necessary amount of serotonin in your brain (It's essential, actually, and takes way less than you think - see below). We know you want to feel more sensual and free. Move in a sensual & freeing way. It lights up everything. We know you want to feel steady and strong. Spend time with a strengthening routine. Practice focusing and harnessing your energy in one direction. It strengthens the body, mind and spirit. We know you want to look like you are full of vitality. Move in a way that fills your cup (not in a way that drains it). We know you want & need sleep. Movement is one of the most powerful modulators & promoters of deep sleep when utilized correctly.
Movement is one of, if not THE, most powerful medicines we can take. It's natural. It's organic. It's effective. EVERY CELL in your body is affected. The side-effects, purely, are your fuel.
Fall is an ideal time to take a look at how you want to feel and design and cultivate that feeling though efficient, effective, conscious movement & stillness.
Here's how to concoct your own movement medicine:
(estimated think time: 10 minutes)
1. Take a self inventory (& a lovely drink! :-).
Grab a cup of coffee or tea or any favorite bevy, a pen, and paper.
Summer 2021 in Review: Celebrate what you were able to do! Write that alllla that good shit down!
Then, take an inventory on what didn't feel doable or pleasant or where your confidence was lower. Visualize how you want next year to shift.
Assess your current state: How is your body feeling now? How are you feeling mentally and emotionally? How is your energy/chi/vitality/spirit? Quickly jot down what comes to mind.
2. Write down how you want to feel
Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually
3. Design your own movement routine around the way you want to feel this Fall & Winter - come up with this on your own or ask us to design for you!
4. Identify and Remove Barriers that are in your way or have gotten in your way before:
Energy? Family? Pain? Tightness? Old injury? Work? Enjoyment? Not rewarding? Not sure?
We can help with all of these.
5. Take advantage of the season with these pro movement tips
Same routine, different temp. When the summer temps are high, much of our energy, literally, goes to keeping cool. Try the same trail, workout, walk, etc. now that it's cooler. You'll have more energy. More success. More reward. More reward = more craving to do it again.
Closure: the fall brings a feeling of closure on the summer. Do that one hike, ride, run that's been on your summer 2021 bucket list. Or use the energy you have to clip flowers and do the last cleansing & harvesting of the garden. This will offer closure to the summer and prepare you mentally for welcoming the cooler months and holidays.
Grounding: walking, gardening, or any kind of movement outside can help ground you and inspire solutions, ideas, or clear your mind. If you can - go barefoot for a bit. The grounding energy is anti-inflammatory.
Warming for winter: spend time outside as the temps cool and don't put your coat on until you feel a chill. Your body needs to feel the coolness to trigger your energy to go inward and trigger your protective shell (immune system) for winer.
Easy does it. Really. If you're tired, short on time, or feeling down or anxious all you need is 15 minutes daily of moderate activity to "reset" the decline in mood that naturally occurs as time from your last activity passes. This stimulus of serotonin production increases mood, decreases anxiety, and helps you sleep. It gives you a solid foundation for adding more to the habit and makes future choices, working, care-taking, & creating more enjoyable.
Hire a Movement Professional (Doctor of Physical Therapy) to help!
If you come in for a visit with a Doctor of Physical Therapy we can work through this with you and assess the all of the things that contribute to pleasure-full movement: joint health, nerve functioning, muscle functioning, mobility, stability, and more. It's like a check in with your Dentist - but for your whole spine and body!
Physical Therapy consultation or seasonal follow up visit: Determine what recommendations will hold the most power for you throughout the season. We will design & support a program specifically for you. We will incorporate and prioritize REST and bring in other practitioners and delicious treatments as warranted and desired.
A Physical Therapist is your current body's engineer and your future body's architect.
New Clients: Call or email us: Info@IamVitam.com. 208-830-1668
Existing clients: click here to schedule
Meet your Dr's of Physical Therapy: Allyson Pearson and Kathleen Berg
Have a great Fall season & Carpe Vitam!!
(seize the life!)
Written by Dr. Kathleen Berg