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In the pursuit of wellness, we often find ourselves immersed in the latest trends and fads, seeing quick fixes and shortcuts because, let’s be honest, we are human and we want results as quickly and easily as possible. Yet, amidst the noise of supplements and specialized workouts, we sometimes forget the fundamental principles that underpin true health and vitality. In this installment of our ‘Back to Basics’ series, we are diving into the foundation of movement and functional fitness, exploring why it is the cornerstone of preventive health for people of all ages and stages of life.

Why Movement Matters

The human body is designed for movement. From the simplest tasks like walking and grocery shopping to the more complex activities of weightlifting and Pilates, movement is essential for maintaining optimal health and functionality. The National Institute on Aging recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days per week. These guidelines aren’t arbitrary but are based on decades of research highlighting the profound impact of regular physical activity on overall well-being.

The Importance of Simple Movements

It’s easy to underestimate the power of simple movements like going for a walk, parking further away from the door or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. However, even low-impact activities can yield significant health benefits. Regular walking not only improves cardiovascular health but also enhances mood, reduces stress and helps maintain a healthy weight. We love counting steps simply because it is accessible to so many fitness abilities and can be easily incorporated into daily life. Those 10,000 daily steps that your app is recommending isn’t arbitrary either. Turns out 10,000 steps per day have shown health improvements an incredible as: 50% reduction in dementia risk, 44% reduction in diabetes risk, 31% reduction in risk of obesity and even significant improvements in reflux, sleep and cancer risk!

Exercise vs. Functional Movement

While the term ‘exercise’ and ‘functional movement’ are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle distinction between the two. Exercise typically refers to structured physical activity aimed at improving specific aspects of fitness or performance. Examples include cycling or a circuit class in the gym. Functional movement, on the other hand, includes movement involved in everyday life, such as squats, lunges and core stabilization. These exercises mimic real-life activities (carrying your groceries inside, getting on the floor to play with your grandkids or dog, pulling weeds…), making them particularly beneficial for us as we age.

Key Principles for Effective Movement

You’ve heard it a million times, but consistency is key. Before chasing a trend or burning out on a new workout routine, focus on establishing a sustainable pattern of movement and choose physical activities that you actually enjoy. Every client we work with at the wellness center (and every one of us on the wellness team for that matter) have a different idea of what type of movement is fun and satisfying. Jogging is awesome, but perhaps roller skating brings you more joy. Maybe you love being in the gym, but maybe you also love doing Tai Chi in the park. If in doubt of what will work for your unique needs, simply schedule a session with a personal trainer or health assessment at the wellness center.


As we all strive for the best health we can achieve, it’s often crucial to remind ourselves of the basics first. Get your steps in, move 150 minutes every week and strength train at least 2 days per week. No matter what activities you choose to achieve these minimums, you will be improving your health and sending your body the message with each and every exercise that movement feels good, which is ultimately the foundation for a lifetime of physical health. So lace up those sneakers, it’s time to start moving – one step at a time.


Next in this Back to Basic Series:


More on this topic:

“Unlocking Your Fitness Potential: The Power of Medical Fitness Certification in Our Center” 

HIIT vs Marathon: Which Cardio Training Method is Best for You?” 

Find exercise classes and quick functional movement videos to follow along with on our video tab!