Fri 10th February 2023

Question: What could be the movement equivalent of Turmeric?

(And do you fancy trying our Move 30 challenge?)

As an avid consumer of lots of healthy/moving/gutsy podcasts, I came across Tim Spector and his Zoe Project during the pandemic, and over the Christmas break devoured his new book ‘Food For Life’. It’s a feast of information about how best to eat, for our own longevity and that of our food producing planet. It’s the basic adage ‘You Are What You Eat’, souped up with extra seasoning.  Perhaps the most repeated sound bite to emerge, from all the press and publicity he did to promote the book, was the concept of improving your gut health, thus your immunity to disease, by consuming 30 different types of plants a week, including nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit, veg, herbs and spices. Easy…?

So, me and my very good Jo, who lives in Strasbourg, decided to see if for the whole of January we could do this, which mostly meant us sending photos of the most random vegetable we could find – for her an exquisite Radis Noir and for me some Choy Sum from Tescos. But we did it, and were not surprised the top 15 were repeated every week, were pleasantly surprised we ate more than we thought, but also it did make us try new things and keep an audit of what we ate over the whole week and not eat bland and easy Mon-Fri and just have a massive spicy curry and roastie to make up for it at the weekend.

And so, obviously I got thinking about would this same concept work for movement? 

Rather than just counting our lovely and highly nutritious ‘big movement meals’ such as Pilates, run, walk, gym session etc, could we try to add or start by simply acknowledging, more movement peppered throughout the week to literally spice up our bodies into better health to match our now hopefully exceptional gut health?

We know that sitting at a desk all day then doing an hour of exercise is absolutely better than doing nothing, but we should also consider ‘movement snacking’.  Whereas foodie snacking might not be good for some of us, movement snacking undoubtedly must be. 

Could we do a MOVE 30 February? Move 30 different ways a week?

So, after we had some discussion about what the movement equivalent of Turmeric is*, and  let’s just say a cheeky chat to clarify for her husband what other of life’s activities count as movement, we are giving it a go.  And here is a selection off our lists for the first week:

  1. Run
  2. Pilates
  3. Swimming
  4. Carried full washing basket up stairs
  5. Carried full washing basket downstairs
  6. Squatted to unload dishwasher
  7. Hung from doorframe on way into kitchen
  8. Weights session at gym
  9. Carried flipping heavy bag of books to charity shop, alternating hands
  10. Long walk including up hills and down hills (2?)
  11. Walked up 3 flights of stairs instead of lift
  12. 5 press ups first thing before getting in shower
  13. Stretching to put tins on top shelf in kitchen
  14. Gardening – pruned apple tree
  15. Washing car
  16. Standing on one leg when kettle boils
  17. Hoovering – including getting down on hands and knees to do under the bed
  18. Short very brisk walk to post letter as much chillier than thought
  19. Threw ball/stick for dog
  20. Heel raises on the stairs

We have not managed 30. Yet. But like the Eat30 we did more than we would usually as we feel accountable… and a teensy bit competitive! But we have tried to add in little bits here and there, and treat regular movement as ‘exercise’ thus maybe gone upstairs quicker, thrown in some bicep curls with the tins of beans, properly squatted to empty the dishwasher. And these little things, like adding a wider range of herbs or just one extra vegetable to every evening meal, do stack up and make a difference to our bones, joints and all the juicy bits in between.

So, perhaps you’d like to give it a try, it works great if you do it with friends and family, and let us know how you do?

*jury is still out and all suggestions gratefully received!