How Movement Can Improve Your Life
You might find yourself asking, how can moving my body really help me? That thought might be followed by a thought like, “plus, I have no time.” That might be enough to make you want to throw in the towel. But not so fast - let’s take a look at some reasons why moving your body may be something worthy of your time.
1. Better Mood – Yes, please!
Stressful events can get to us – we are human. However, when comparing a group of active people to under-active people, research showed that physically active people experienced fewer negative emotions (like nervousness, worthlessness, loneliness, anger, and frustration) in response to stressful events (such as arguments and problems at work or home). In this way, being active during your day could act as a buffer against some difficult emotions when pesky life stressors come along. What would your day be like with a little less nervousness or frustration?
2. Better Stress Management – I want that!
Those same researchers just mentioned also found that on days when people were active, they experienced fewer negative emotions (including anxiety, sadness, and shame) in response to a daily stressor, regardless of when in the day the stressor occurred. This was not found to be the case for under-active people. This suggests that being active at any point in your day could help you better manage stress throughout that entire day. If you were active in the morning, how might your following day improve?
3. More Satisfaction with Life (and goal achievement… whaaat?)
Research has suggested that people may experience greater satisfaction with life on days when they are more active than is typical for them. Authors of this study considered that it is perhaps the “revitalizing” impact of physical activity that may contribute to this. When you are revitalized, you may have more pep-in-your-step to work toward your goals. If you’re achieving your goals, it was suggested that you may be more satisfied with life. So, to try and amp up satisfaction with life, it might be worth considering how you can get more daily activity than usual. How could you revitalize yourself?
4. Increased Willingness to Help – Sign me up!
Humans can move in synchrony in all kinds of ways – from full-blown dancing to simply tapping their feet to the beat of the same music. The impact of synchronized movement has dated all the way back to 1912 (Durkheim, as cited in Rennung & Göritz, 2016) when it was suggested that synchronized movement increases social bonding and cooperation in humans.
Moving along to more recent years, researchers have found that synchronized movement may encourage helping behavior. When comparing people who engaged in synchronized vs. non-synchronized movement, the synchronized folks were three times more likely to help someone who wasn’t in their “group.” Grabbing a buddy and moving together in a dance class or going on a walk could potentially increase bonding and may contribute to prosocial effects. How could you intentionally sync up with others to improve your life?
The ways that people may move to their benefit are plentiful.
To learn more about movement in holistic therapy at Grow True Psychology, schedule a 15-minute informational phone consultation. Get started with online therapy or walk-n-talk outdoor sessions!
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1 & 2: Puterman, E., Weiss, J., Beauchamp, M. R., Mogle, J., & Almeida, D. M. (2017). Physical activity and negative affective reactivity in daily life. Health Psychology, 36, 1186-1194. doi: 1037/hea0000532.
3: Maher, J. P., Doerksen, S. E., Elavsky, S., Hyde, A.L., & Conroy, D.E. (2014). Daily satisfaction with life is regulated by physical activity and sedentary behavior. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. 36, 166-78.
4: Reddish, P., Tong, E. M. W., Jong, J., Lanman, J. A., & Whitehouse, H. (2016). Collective synchrony increases prosociality towards non-performers and out-group members. British Journal of Social Psychology, 55, 722- 738.
5. Rennung, M. & Göritz, A. S. (2016). Prosocial Consequences of Interpersonal Synchrony. Zeitschrift für Psychologie, 224, 168–189. doi: 10.1027/2151-2604/a000252