No, I am not thanking Thor, the Norse god/member of the Avengers. I am actually referring to our dog. Three months ago my son and I adopted a Labrador retriever mix, approximately 2 years old. We thought we were aware of all the changes in our life that having a dog would bring, especially living on the third floor of an apartment complex. We knew from the start that we were committing to lots of stairs to take him on his walks.
Little did I know I would be walking around 24,000 steps a day for the last 3 months. At first, it was a chore between my son and I, walking him 3-5 times per day. He would give us a pouty look or be very anxious, letting us know how eager he was to go outside again no matter what our priorities were at that moment. Once we’re out in the world with him however, it’s hard to get mad at him. It’s immediately obvious that he loves being outdoors, and being in motion with us.
I am by no means complaining, I am actually quite grateful. With the extra walking frequency per day and being in the beauty of nature, Thor has helped increase the health of my metabolism through mindful movement. Mindful movement can include walking, gardening, taking the stairs – any everyday activity done with intention and purpose. According to Dr. Jade Teta, movement can actually be more beneficial to overall health than exercise:
Research looking at a person who sits all day long and then does a 30 minute workout (metabolics), compared to a person who moves all day long but does no structured exercise, suggest the mover is far better off health and fitness-wise than the metabolic exerciser.
Overall health is a function of the countless small choices we make over the course of days, weeks, months, and years. Our metabolism is a stress reacting system that is made up of chemical reactions to sustain life. A healthy metabolism is one that is flexible and adaptable. Exposing yourself to new experiences, and low-impact stressors like walking and similar movements triggers the reactions that strengthen our body, mind, and spirit.
Movement and mindfulness are also two huge keys to a healthy metabolism and optimal health because of the effectiveness of reducing stress. Thor is a great demonstration of how to live a life that prioritizes movement and mindfulness, to gain the resulting reductions in stress. He enjoys simply moving for its own sake, and every little thing that pops into his awareness is a source of curiosity and fun. We could learn a thing or two from him. In fact, some of the lessons he’s taught me have informed the design of my new offer, Elevate. Combining movement appropriate to all fitness levels with presence and awareness in nature are core elements of this new approach to vitality that launches July 1.
So thank you Thor, for giving us a reason to get outdoors, enjoy the beautiful weather, and be present to the world around us. I encourage everyone to find their own version of walking the dog; get dirty in your garden, walk and talk with friends, take the stairs, or take in the beauty of nature to create more mindful movement throughout your day. Now I need to go and walk Thor…