Movement is Key.

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Movement is key

The human body was designed for daily movement. The old saying “Use it or lose it” doesn’t apply to many things but is certainly does apply when dealing with the health of the human body and brain.

Much of health stems from the daily quality and quantity of movement we get.  In today’s society we have outsourced much of our daily movement, turning walking into driving, manual labour into sitting and active play into seated play (screens). Many say they do not have enough time to move however if you do not take the time to move now, you may be forced to make that time in the future as a result of an illness or injury.

With movement comes the stimulation of the musculature and various cellular processes throughout the body that keep all our systems functioning at a higher level.  Our musculature is like elastic bands. If you pull an elastic band taut for a second and let go; it easily comes back to its normal length. Pull an elastic band taut and hold for an extended period of time (like we do when we do not move), it won’t come back to its normal length, and if it does, it will take a while. As well as with our muscles the same concept occurs to our ligaments, tendons, nerves and joints. With lack of movement comes elongated muscles and weakness which in turn causes tightness and stiffness. Lack of movement also prevents the joints moving as they should each day leading to joint restrictions. If you put all these different factors together it can lead to pain that can really effect your daily life.

However, just a few small alterations in life can really help. Movement should involve arm and leg movement, stimulating your muscles and working your joints. Focus on adding just 30 minutes of extra activity into your day, three days a week. You can break it down into smaller segments, too, like 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Here are some strategies to help you move more every day:

  • Walk for five minutes every two hours
  • Use the steps rather than the lift or escalator
  • Park at a parking space furthest away from your destination and walk
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the distance
  • Set an alarm to alert you to stand up, move neck, shoulders and legs
  • Always stand or walk around when you’re on the phone.
  • Do a set or two of push-ups against the kitchen counter
  • Perform up to 10 reps of stand-and-sit exercises, where you rise from a chair without using your arms and then sit down again to complete one rep.

No matter what age you are and no matter what your limitations maybe you should try and move often. How many of you have found yourself reaching round the back of your neck to massage the soreness after a long time at a computer, feeling stiffness in the back from a long drive or finding standing out of a chair a challenge some days? Doing the above can really help to reduce these symptoms. However if you are finding that you are struggling to get moving due to the pain or that you just feel you need a helping hand, then a firm massage or assessment of your restrictions by a medical professional can really help.

Remember, movement does not always have to be intense to be effective, and there are many opportunities in your daily life to sneak in extra movement. You just need to do it.

Stephanie is a massage therapist at The Thornbury clinic . She graduated from Exeter with a first class honours degree in Sport & Exercise Science and continued her education in London where she completed a Masters Degree in Clinical Exercise Science. Since then she has gone on to complete a Level 5 Diploma in Sports & Remedial Massage.

If you would like to book an appointment with Stephanie just Click Here!

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