The internet and magazine world abounds with “Secrets of health.” There are all kinds of tips and tricks to lose belly fat, drop weight, or curb carb cravings. But when seeking health, when seeking the ability to move better, to feel better, to enjoy more things in life, I have my own “secret” to offer. The secret is intention and it is vital to success. Move with the intention to improve an aspect of your health. Prepare and eat foods daily with the intention to positively impact your health. Specifically drink water with the intention to hydrate yourself. Intentionally sleep an appropriate number of hours to cause mental and physical restoration. The power of intention when applied to health will make all of the difference.

Intentional movement is movement done with an end goal in mind. When it comes to health, moving with intention is significant. While many jobs today are sedentary desk jobs, there are a few that still require movement such as janitorial work, landscaping, or construction. While people in these professions may indeed get a lot of movement throughout their day, it is not done with the intent to increase their health. Even folks who move as a part of their day should set aside time to perform exercise or stretches that enhance their health while also enable them to continue to perform their jobs well.

When athletes perform, they are certainly moving their bodies. Yet they still train throughout the week. Even professional athletes practice moving to ensure that their bodies are strong and agile so that they can handle the demands of competition. The rest of us may not perform in that sense but we should all practice moving our bodies every day throughout the week with purpose and intent so that we can respond to the demands of life. Those demands can be anticipated activities of daily living such as climbing stairs and lifting groceries or children, or they can be the unanticipated demands of a pick-up basketball game.

Not only does purposeful movement enhance life performance but it has an immediate and profound impact on health. It focuses movement to increase strength or improve flexibility or increase aerobic capacity. The targeted application of movement brings mindfulness and intention into practice. It is the difference between driving your car when it’s raining and actually washing it on purpose. In both cases the car gets wet but only one really cleans it. Apply that intention to your movement and your body will respond.