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5 Positive Physiological Changes resulting from Movement

When we think about our daily activity, many people will say either one or two things:




“I sit the majority of the day”

-OR-

“I am always on my feet”

Energy

This may come as no surprise, but when you are active, in an intentional manner, you actually increase your energy! Many rely on stimulants that increase Dopamine; the hormone in our body responsible for alertness and wakefulness. However, we can achieve the same affect just by moving more! High intensity movement stimulates the production and utilization of Dopamine and other endorphins that can increase your ability to overcome that mid-day slump. The difference is if that movement is something we enjoy, or are doing laboriously. Instead of reaching for a cup of caffeine, try a 30minute walk during your lunch break! Even in colder weather, that fresh air and movement can work wonders!

Neurology

When you use your body properly, your brain is growing! No matter what age you are!! How amazing of a deal does that sound? This is because you are fostering the growth and health of the myelin sheath; a membrane that surrounds the axons of each neuron in your brain. The thicker the sheath, the faster the communication of information occurs. This results in the ability to be sharper, and more effective in your daily actives; which is absolutely a confidence booster! This works for kids too! In their younger years, movement is necessary for brain development! If they lack the ability to intentionally move their bodies and play, their brains do not gain the proper stimulation they need to grow and develop fully. There is no age limit to this benefit, we can all improve our cognitive abilities no matter how many times we have journeyed around the sun.

Metabolism

While a lot of people focus on changing their diet along with exercise, sometimes doing both at once becomes more of a challenge. Pausing the complete overhaul in diet, and sticking to moving first may be an easier building process. None-the-less, when you start adding more activity into your day, you will increase your appetite! This is because a once slugging Digestive System is now being stimulated and wants to do the work it has always desired too! Which is, properly breaking down your food to fully extract the proper nutrients you need to keep building muscle, and also, shrinking fat cells. It takes a lot of work! You need to fuel up. Now, I am not saying we need to be sticking to our diets of frozen meals and pizzas on a whole. Replacing just one meal with something hearty and nutrition packed, preferably post work out, can make a world of difference. Abs are in fact, made in the kitchen.


The truth is, you get the most out of your meals if you move first.


Sleep

How is this possible? I just told you it increases energy!? Yes, but the same hormones and endorphins that are driving your energy boost, also decrease unwanted stress and tension within your system. Less stress, means a more relaxed body and mind. The more relaxed our body and mind, the better we sleep. It’s that simple. The more intense the movement and exercise, the more rested we will be. When looking at children and adolescents, parents can always point out a time of night [typically between the hours of 5pm & 7pm] when the child is either “completely wired” or “presents with consistent breakdowns/moodiness”. As adults we experience this too. When 9pm rolls around, and we want to fall asleep, we sometimes find our minds racing and our bodies completely sore or uncomfortable. For both age groups, this could be a result of either not enough positive movement throughout the day, or, an overabundance of negative stimulation throughout the day.


Tip: Try an easy yoga routine, or a fun “dance party” with the family before bed.


Keep the activity fun, positive and intentional! As long as you have good vibes, you may just experience smiles all the way to bedtime!

Postural Health

Sir Issac Newton quoted “A Body in motion, stays in motion”. Your posture determines a lot about how your body functions overall. This is because our muscles and skeletal systems protect the overall integrity of our spine! Housed within our spine is our Central Nervous System; the major highway that connects our entire body to our brain! If we are stressed, and moving or not moving enough in a stressed position, our body will eventually break down. This degeneration long term results in what we would see as slumped shoulders and a hanging head that is reminiscent of an entitled teenager. Poor posture can be the result of misalignments in the spine that cause direct interference of our overall body function and communication. If we do not move properly, our body will remain stagnant and the misalignments will remain there, causing long term damage to our overall health! Who wants that? Proper movement allows our body to stay limber, loose, and as mentioned before alleviated from stress! This flexibility allows our body to be more adaptable, which results in less damage to the spine and surrounding soft tissue around it!

No matter where you are at in your movement journey, note that it’s truly about FEELING good, and doing the best that you can for your body in a true health an wellness standpoint.

Some easy habits to implement in your life for you and your family that can get you all moving more:

  • Quick 15minute Yoga routine before you get ready in the morning, or before retiring to bed at night

  • Every 30minutes, get up from your desk and move around

  • Find a new place to eat your lunch that you can walk to

  • Play games like Charades or have a dance party for 10mins or more with your family each night

  • Go on a walk with your family or a friend

  • Get a fitness tracker and monitor your step count! Don’t get discouraged, instead find creative ways to get more steps in each day!

- Mackenzie Cooledge D.C.