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(making the case for) MOVEMENT.

 

IMG_25E8489F7B18-5Movement is the active component of growth. The adult human body is comprised of approximately 206 bones, achieving peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 32. More importantly, the average human adult body is approximately 60% fluid. Fluids that are in constant motion, rarely, if ever, experience sustained growth of disease and/or harmful bacteria. However, stagnant fluids are the broth that cultures diseases.

‘Excessive sitting is now linked to 35 diseases and conditions, including obesity, hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression…governments such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have identified sedentary life as a catastrophe. It’s estimated that the current generation of children (who primarily experience a sedentary lifestyle) will die earlier than their parents.’ Dr. Levine, M.D, PhD. Mayo Clinic-Arizona.

Contemporary humans (taken into consideration their general predisposition to a habitual lifestyle) often fall victim to physical inactivity, outside their general required mobile hours. General required mobile hours includes the type and amount of physical activity required to perform one’s daily duty adequately (i.e. attending and participating in professional/school related responsibilities). During a typical week, most individuals are working or attending classes between the hours of 9am and 5pm. The ending of the work or school day, typically ushers the beginning of personal responsibilities. Given the amount of energy and time that was spent during the most productive part of the day, it is understanding why most adults and children tend to prefer comfort in the form of resting or mental escapism. Therefore, reason would follow that exercise, which is defined as planned, repetitive and structured physical activity for the purpose of conditioning the body and mind, is often one of those personal responsibilities that is relegated.

Before we continue, please bear in mind the habitual nature of humans. Usually, once a consistent and rewarding routine is identified, an alternative and/or an analysis of their daily patterns is removed from consciousness. But what if we were to make a commitment to ourselves; to simply reimagining and realigning our daily routines to prioritize purposeful movement as the hallmark of our days?

Studies show that exercise, achieved by intentional and repetitive movement, improves brain function. This is achieved by the increase of blood flow to the brain, allowing more neurons (brain cells) to receive additional nutrients and oxygen, aiding in the improvement of memory retention and cognitive functioning. Also, ‘being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or the good cholesterol. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular exercise helps prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, some types of cancer, arthritis and falls. -(mayoclinic.org)

Sweating, or the recompense of movement, expels toxins found in the extracellular fluids. When you sweat, you are promoting proper immune function as well as the prevention of non-communicable diseases. The lymphatic system, which is a subsystem of the circulatory system, helps to defend the body against infection by supplying disease fighting cells, known as lymphocytes or white blood cells. The lymphatic system also aids in the removal of toxic fluids and materials from intestinal tissues and deposit them in the bloodstream.

Although the lymphatic system has millions of vessels to remove intestinal waste, similar to the cardiovascular system, it has no strong heart to keep lymph (otherwise known as waste from intestinal tissues) moving. Instead, lymph is moved by deep breathing, walking, intestinal activity, and muscle action. As muscles tighten, lymph vessels are squeezed and lymph is pushed along and filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the veins and the heart. We need to keep lymph moving efficiently and one way is through exercise. -Dr. David Williams, Chiropractor.

An aspect that I find particularly emblematic of NYC, is the emphasis that is placed on the retrofitting of its monumental structures, think along the lines of the major bridges, Statute of Liberty and highways. If we took a similar approach and applied it to our body, we would viscerally understand the importance of movement outside of our general required mobile hours. Most nutritionists recommend at least 30 minutes of developmentally appropriate exercise to efficiently condition your body, (and mind).

If you are having a hard time trying to decided on an ideal place to start, begin by exploring social groups that concentrate on a movement based activity that resonates with you. Some examples of social movement centered activities include hiking, rowing, dancing, walking and swimming, just to name a few. Meetup.com is an ideal outlet to initially investigate free and engaging movement opportunities, the same is true for yogatothepeople.com. I have found that the discipline that it takes to complete a movement centered activity, translates seamless to the other aspects of my life. I fondly anticipate the moments of my day that I run or attend a dance class, primarily because of the mental conditioning and physical growth that these activities engender.

Bottom line: get out and get moving!

 

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