Keep On Moving Newsletter
Life Is Motion…
Life is motion, to be able to move around is necessary for us to function as socially integrated human beings. You would think that given the need to prolong our ability to move for as long a duration as possible in order to maintain our personal independence that people today would cherish and nurture that ability. Unfortunately this is not the case.
Movement, physical activity, exercise, call it what you want is the most important thing we can do as individuals to help maintain our health, not only that but it’s cheap, time efficient and is a social activity, yet under a third of the western population bother with it.
Regular mildly exertive movement has been shown in countless studies to;
- Reduce the onset of heart disease,high blood pressure, and diabetes
- Reduce cancer risk in men and women
- Improve mood and feelings of self worth
- Reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis
- Improve flexibility
If your doctor offered you a magic pill that would do all this for you, how much would you pay for it? £50, £100, £5000? Or would you just prefer to stand up and move your arms and legs around three times a week for thirty minutes, because that’s all it would take……
Walk For Life…
Movement is necessary to assist the body in performing it’s functions. For example, when you walk or run the calf muscles exert a squeezing action upon the blood vessels in the lower leg, this then facilitates the return of blood from the lower legs towards the heart resulting in the heart having to work less. Staying with the heart, did you know that breathing deeper helps your heart? When you breathe in you increase the pressure in your chest, this puts pressure on the heart and causes it to empty it’s chambers of blood, as you breathe out the pressure drops and the heart expands helping it’s chamber fill up again. So by going outside and walking around you are directly helping your heart to supply blood to the rest of you!
In terms of health in your muscles and bones, movement is vital. When you move the pumping action of the spinal discs helps to supply fluid and remove waste products from the nerves, the intervertebral discs and the muscles, keeping them healthy. When you don’t move the body it very efficiently removes the tissues you are not using, this means bone density goes down (risk of osteoporosis), muscles waste away and become weak resulting in movement getting harder and more troublesome. Waste products build up in the tissues resulting in swelling and possibly pain. It is much easier to maintain your movement habits than it is to begin them from this state, so my advice to anyone who is thinking that they will start to exercise when they begin to have health concerns is JUST START NOW! It will be easier, faster and more beneficial to start while you are healthy.
Beginning Is Half Done…
But what if you are already injured? What if movement causes you pain? With the advice of a health professional you would be surprised at how many exercise options there are out there, one of the main reasons given for not starting a program of activity is not knowing what to do, where to do it and how. Your doctor, physical therapist or exercise professional will be able to assist you in this respect.
Move It…Or Lose It!
Even if you have been recently injured the guidelines from our very own NHS and most organisations that assist people with pain recommend that you maintain as much movement as possible and begin activity as soon as possible, extended periods of bed rest can actually make the pain worse.
Movement of individual joints is also important, if a joint gets stuck or becomes immobile some other part of the body has to compensate for that failing via it’s biomechanical processes. If there are too many immoblie joints and the body cannot cope then the person will experience pain. This is where getting some good bodywork such as Structural Integration, Osteopathy or even just massage can help. By mobilizing the joints which are stuck you increase the function of that joint making more movement possible and reducing pain. By having less pain you are more likely to exercise, therefore maintaining the mobility resulting in less return visits to your therapist.
Save Time, Money And Pain…
If you take responsibility for your own activity levels and maintain your mobility you will not only save yourself pain, but will also be saving you money in terms of visits to health specialists, you will save time as rehabilitation and treatments can be very time consuming. But most of all you will be investing in the health of every cell in your body.