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8 Signs Your Body is Craving Movement

8-Signs-Your-Body-is-Craving-Movement

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

Feeling tired, achy, and low on energy? Your body may be craving movement. If you spend much of your day sitting, it might be a sign that you need to incorporate more movement into your routine. Although exercise is important for overall health, many people struggle to find the time for physical activity.

Regular movement is essential for the best body function, and your body often sends signals when it’s craving more exercise. While weight gain and decreased muscle tone are common signs of insufficient activity, other symptoms like sleep disturbances, joint discomfort, and mood changes can also indicate a need for more movement.

In this article, we will dive deeper and discuss some important signs your body gives when it is craving movement.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program, making changes to your nutrition, or adding any new supplements to your regimen.

8 Signs Your Body is Craving Movement

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s common to lose touch with our bodies. Ignoring signs of fatigue, stress, and discomfort without acknowledging our body’s signals is all too easy. Yet, one vital message often goes unnoticed: the need for movement.

Our bodies thrive on activity, and neglecting this fundamental requirement can result in various physical and mental health challenges.

Below are eight signs that your body is craving movement:

1.   You are experiencing digestive issues

Regular exercise offers a surprising benefit: improved digestion. Just 30 minutes of aerobic activity, like a brisk walk or run, not only boosts your appetite but also helps in digestion afterward. Aerobic exercise accelerates breathing and heart rate, improving the contraction of intestinal muscles.

Consequently, food moves more efficiently through the intestines, promoting smoother digestion and elimination. Any form of movement can aid digestion, so find what works best for you and keep moving.

2.   Joint pain and stiffness

According to a healthcare professional specializing in integrative health, some individuals refrain from exercising due to concerns about exacerbating joint pain and stiffness. However, they suggest that while initial discomfort may occur, consistent physical activity yields long-term benefits.

Inactivity is more likely to contribute to chronic joint issues by promoting inflammation and limiting joint flexibility.

Regular exercise, on the other hand, aids in maintaining joint health by stimulating the production of synovial fluid, which lubricates joints, decreases friction, and improves mobility.

3.   Brain fog

When faced with concentration issues or problem-solving at work, inadequate physical activity might be a contributing factor. Inactivity can decrease blood flow, impairing the brain’s efficiency and affecting concentration, memory, and cognitive skills.

In addition to that, engaging in physical exercise boosts blood circulation to the brain, enabling the formation of new neurons and enhancing neural connections.

Furthermore, exercise activates genes associated with cognitive well-being and stimulates the production of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), often linked to “Miracle Grow” for the brain.

4.   Muscle tension

Feeling tension in your neck, shoulders, legs, or elsewhere is your body’s way of signaling a need for movement. Moving regularly boosts circulation, loosens tight muscles, and prevents imbalances from prolonged static positions.

Simple activities like walking, dancing, or even gently moving your hands can surprisingly release tension and promote relaxation.

5.   Weight gain

A lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, as it may result in an imbalance between calorie intake and expenditure. Even if weight gain isn’t apparent, a sedentary lifestyle can negatively impact metabolism and overall health.

Increasing movement throughout the day can help boost metabolism, burn calories, and support weight management.

6.   Difficulty in concentration

Regular physical activity has demonstrated benefits for cognitive function, enhancing memory, focus, and concentration.

If you find yourself struggling to maintain focus or easily getting distracted, incorporating movement breaks into your routine could help clear your mind and improve mental clarity.

7.   Mood swings

Exercise serves as a natural stress reliever by decreasing cortisol levels and stimulating the release of endorphins, which can improve mood.

According to a study, even simple activities like yoga can effectively lower cortisol levels and enhance mood. Moreover, regular physical activity promotes relaxation, improves sleep quality, and boosts self-confidence, all of which contribute to reducing stress, anxiety, and mood swings.

A 2023 systematic review supports these findings, highlighting that consistent exercise is 1.5 times more effective than leading antidepressants or psychotherapy in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Making movement a regular part of your routine can significantly improve mental well-being.

8.   Poor sleep quality

Regular exercise is known to improve sleep quality, helping you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restorative rest.

If you experience difficulty falling asleep or frequently wake up feeling tired, including more physical activity into your daily routine could be the key to enhancing your sleep patterns.

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