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Corey Vanderwouw: Inspiration, exercise, empowerment

Corey Vanderwouw
Columnist

It has been about a month now that we Californians have abided to stay-at-home orders to keep ourselves and our communities safe from COVID-19. Many of us are feeling overly home-bound and are potentially more sedentary than usual. Living in the midst of the coronavirus era can feel like carrying a heavy weight around or can bring on a feeling of disempowerment.

More recent developments give some hope with Governor Newsom making plans to start the process of re-opening the state. The sun is shining, and it’s spring — a time of new life, and a time for a freeing of the spirit! Let it also be the time for us to gather our personal and collective inspiration and make sure to bring out the goodness that we have already inside of us.

Inspiration is a deep-seated passion and uplifting drive. It is an initiative toward something that feels good and right. Having inspiration gives us hope and helps us to create a mental pathway toward achieving and creating. It is a time to treat ourselves to some joy!

One access to joy is through physical movement. Movement elevates the spirit, calms overactive nerves, and spurs personal empowerment. Studies have shown that movement exercise supports mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative moods and helps to improve self-esteem and cognitive function. Furthermore, movement dynamics improve blood flow, lubricate joints and invigorate our bodies! Taking charge of our bodies can help us to feel that we are taking charge of ourselves and feed our self empowerment.

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But what can we do to stay active and keep the body moving while being confined into our personal spaces with no access to gyms, parks, fitness centers, or sports activities?

Try to get cardiovascular exercise for at least 25 minutes a day. Going on regular walks is a good start. We are lucky to live in a rural community where the neighborhoods are spread out and we can take walks while maintaining social distancing. It is uplifting to be in the open air, and we have access to walking hills which bumps up the level of strengthening and cardiovascular exercise.

Make use of your cardio exercise equipment at home, such as a stationary bike, treadmill, or even stairs, if you have them. If not, there are many ways to task your large muscles in ways to increase your heart rate. Have a look at our website at http://www.fitforlifencpt.com/inspiredathome for a few video ideas to get your blood moving. Whatever you do, however, please move at your own pace to avoid injury or exertion, as your body needs to re-acclimate to exercise after a period of inactivity. Also, please consult with your doctor, if you have any contraindications to exercise, before proceeding with self guided cardio activities.

Many local yoga and pilates studios are now offering online virtual classes, such as the Pilates Place (thepilatesplacegrassvalley.com), Center of Movement (centerofmovementstudio.com), Kinfolk Yoga (kinfolkyoga.com), Warmth Studios (warmthstudios.com), Wild Mountain Yoga (wildmtyoga.com), the Yoga Dive (theyogadive.com.com), and others. Check with your preferred studio, and you might find that your favorite classes are now available in your living room.

For those of you who enjoy dancing, put on some music for 30-60 minutes and just dance. If you need outside inspiration, there are also many online virtual dance opportunities with live DJs, and/or facilitators. Those dances are also often streamed on the Zoom platform, allowing you to connect visually with other dancers, locally, as well as world-wide. There are numerous local groups hosting dances and dance classes such as the Aerial Lab (theaeriallab.com), the Ecstatic Dance crew in Nevada City (ecstaticdance.org/dance/ecstatic-dance-nevada-city/), the Foothills Fusion Dance crew (facebook.com/groups/foothillsfusiondance/) and others. You might find many more dance opportunities arising online during this time, if you look for them.

In addition, many local gyms are providing online exercise classes, which might help you bridge the time until you can return to the gym.

Through this uncertain time, we can still find precious moments and seize the opportunities that are presented. It may be a time for many of us to catch up, reassess, and re-calibrate. We invite you to take a moment of time out of your day, and gift yourself and your precious body with a movement practice you enjoy. It will make you feel better and prepare you to return to a life of vigor and vitality.

Move better, live better!

Corey Vanderwouw, MPT, Ingo Zirpins, MSPT and Mags Matthews, MPT are co-owners of Fit for Life Physical Therapy in Grass Valley.


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