The Importance of Daily Movement for Body Composition & Strength
Being sedentary has become the norm. In our society everything has become too easily accessible and as a result most people have a disconnect between their mind and body. Many have desk jobs where they’re seated for 8+ hours a day, simply clicking a mouse and dancing their fingers on keyboards. The relationship between our bodies and our movement has been abandoned. We only acknowledge our bodies when something goes wrong. The body will adapt to whatever you do most – DON’T MOVE and your body will grow stiff – MOVE, and your body will allow for more movement! We are betraying our bodies, ignoring the importance of everyday activity and neglecting to appreciate the blessing of movement.
When discussing the importance of everyday movement in relation to body composition and strength there’s a few things to consider.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the energy your body burns in a day also known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Total Daily Energy Expenditure has three components;
- Resting Metabolic Rate
Resting Metabolic Rate accounts for 60-75% of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Your Resting Metabolic Rate is the minimal energy requirement of the body at complete rest before eating, moving or exercising at room temperature. At rest the body requires fuel to run all its essential systems, which include the Central Nervous System, Reproductive system and everything else in between. One of the biggest differences in Resting Metabolic Rate between two people is their individual Lean Body Mass. The more lean body mass someone has the more calories they burn at rest. Think bigger engine requires more fuel! Muscle requires 3x the energy that fat does!
Take away point: Beneficial to add muscle mass! The more lean body mass the more energy burnt at rest!
- Thermogenic Effect of Feeding
The Thermic Effect of Feeding is the energy required for digestion, absorption, and disposal of ingested nutrients. Its magnitude depends on the composition of the food consumed.
On average this can account for approximately 10% of Resting Metabolic Rate.
Carbohydrates: 5 to 10% of the energy consumed
Protein: 20 to 30%
Fats: at most 5%
Take away point: Prioritising Protein can help you lose fat because it requires more energy to break down and absorb, in addition to preserving your muscle mass.
- Activity Energy Expenditure
Exercise Associated Thermogenesis
- What you burn during planned direct exercise. This is a large proponent of fat loss.
Non- Exercise Associated Thermogenesis
- All energy for spontaneous or day to day tasks, cooking, commuting etc.
Activity Energy Expenditure is the most variable aspect of the Total Daily Energy Expenditure, ranging from 15% in very sedentary individuals to 50% in highly active individuals.
Take away point: Move more = expend more! Getting people to be more active and expend more energy is a big proponent of fat loss.
To create movement, our central nervous system has to send signals between our brain and the rest of our body, our heart has to work harder to pump blood to the muscles contracting, and our muscles shorten and lengthen enabling movement.
The more we move, the more efficient we become with movement – our nervous system improves with signalling, the more adaptable our heart grows in its ability to pump more blood with fewer beats, the stronger and more mobile our muscles become through contracting through a full range of motion, and the more supple our joints as a result.
Movement promotes blood flow – blood carries nutrients – nutrients act like medicine to our muscles, tendons and ligaments, leading to fluidity in movement!
Not only will everyday movement improve things like body composition and strength it can also help to:
- Improve functional movement patterns so every day movements are easier
- Enhance your bodies ability to absorb nutrients
- Increase stress on our bones and in turn increase bone mineral density
- Lower the risk of injury
- Increase athletic and day to day performance
Our health depends on movement. Our bodies contribute far more to our lives than just physical attributes such as strength and endurance – the body is intricately involved in all our thought processes and emotions. The body and the mind are indivisible. Train the body and you train the mind.
Our bodies were made to move so we should aspire to move each and every day. This doesn’t mean intense, high heart rate, sweat dripping off you. It could be a walk, a swim, a surf or a hobby that’s active and interests you, a mobility flow or a meditation – basically allocated time to invest in doing something good for your body and mind, whatever that may be.
Probably the most commonly desired goal in the Health & Fitness Industry is to improve one’s body composition – less fat, more muscle mass. In setting out to achieve this goal it is paramount to supplement a healthy diet with what’s known as ‘progressive overload’. Progressive loading suggests that in order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension or weight that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.
Doing the same thing over and over again, in terms of intensity and duration is serving you little to no benefit, you need to exert the body to improve and promote adaptations. Please note that exertion is relative to each individual.
It all comes down to establishing habits. Consistency is the biggest thing people struggle with and yet is of most importance.
If you start with small steps, you build upon discipline, and discipline will always trump motivation. Establishing discipline means that the days you don’t feel like training, you will still train. Without habits people lose time and lack motivation. If habits are in place it all becomes second nature and you do it even when you’re not motivated and you’re time spare because it’s become a part of your every day.
Surround yourself with people trying to achieve the same goals! You will become what you’re surrounded by. They say you are an average of the 5 people you hang out with most – think about it – are you?! If you have friends that are in a routine of being sedentary, you too will likely follow suit.
So get out there and celebrate the body and its ability to move!