Exploring the Power 9 Principle of Move Naturally

My Blue Zones journey is far from slowing down. But I’ll be perfectly honest with you: the Power 9 principle of Move Naturally has had me stumped for the past year or so. But that’s because I was looking at all wrong. Let me explain. 

A year ago, I had been working twelve- to fourteen-hour days since the previous August. Thankfully, it was only for a season and not a long-term situation. But the strain was all too real. All year, I had one bug or another. By the New Year, I got sick with COVID. If that wasn’t enough, I was diagnosed with asthma in April. My body seemed to be taking all the hits for my added stress. 

With those long days, cooking good homemade meals and going on my daily walks were a thing of the past. All I could do was get by the best I could. In my mind, I was failing at my Blue Zones journey because I wasn’t doing the things that I used to do. Then, I had an ah-ha moment. My mental state of mind was strong, and I knew my journey hadn’t stopped. It was being redefined.

Did you know, according to Blue Zones research, the longest-lived people in the world are not those who run marathons or are necessarily gym members? They are people who do natural movements throughout their day. It’s just a way of life for them.

And that’s when I had my ah-ha moment. I learned that my body still worked. I still had hands, arms, legs, and feet that functioned just fine. And just because I wasn’t pushing my cardio as hard as I used to, I was still using the Power 9 principle of Move Naturally. I learned that when I did cook homemade meals, I cooked in bulk and froze as much as I could. I learned that doing laundry, starting fires in my wood stove with firewood we hauled the year before, cleaning my house, gardening, caring for my chickens, or parking in the back of a parking lot when grocery shopping, I was already using the Power 9 principle of Move Naturally. I learned the more ways I could move my body, the more I was incorporating one of the Power 9 principles.

But here’s where my problem is today: I spend most of my working day at home on a computer. My solution: I’ve learned to break up my day with small chores. I might load the dishes, change the laundry, feed, and water the chickens as small breaks away from my computer. 

Here are some of the other things I’ve done that incorporate this principle when I’m not working: I spend a lot of my day in the kitchen either cooking or prepping for meals, which includes chopping, stirring, and bending a lot. Sure, it takes longer than a microwave dinner, but it also tastes better and allows my body to move naturally. 

Luckily for me, I have a vegetable and herb garden, as well as several fruit trees that need planting, watering, weeding, and fussing over. Our family has a dog that needs daily walks. We clean our own house, we go camping and canoeing. And every fall, we harvest, dry, freeze, and jar the food we’ve grown to enjoy all winter long. And there are always projects that need to be finished or started on the house or property.

And truth be told, it’s still not enough. I still feel like I need more movement. 

I remember sitting with my pulmonologist a few months back for my six-month check-up, completely discouraged with my progress when she reminded me that I was already improving and doing so much better than when she first saw me. She encouraged me to give my body the time it needed to heal and to accept where I was on my healing journey. Telling that to a person who once upon a time ran 10K races was and still is a lot to accept. But walking in my neighborhood like I used to do means walking up a lot of hills, and my body isn’t there yet. So, I’ve incorporated lifting weights and very recently bought an elliptical machine where I can tailor my cardio and keep my body strong as I continue to heal. After all, I call it a journey for a reason.

And something I still need to incorporate into my life is a hobby. I used to sew, and I miss that in my life. But then again, I call this my Blue Zones journey. I’m not there yet; it’s not a destination, really, is it?

No matter where you are on your Blue Zones journey or even if you haven’t begun it yet, I hope you find, like I have, that it’s not about taking away from your life; it’s about adding to your world. It’s about living a fuller, more meaningful life—which just so happens to be how the longest-lived people in the world live today!

To learn more about the Blue Zones Project–Lake County, visit their website.

Trudy Wakefield

Trudy is the owner and editor for The Bloom. The Bloom's dedicated to showcasing all the good parts of life. If it's good news, you'll probably find it here.

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