As the Spartan World Championships have kicked off at Squaw Valley, and having time to meet with some of the World Class Athletes and their families it seems that most would agree that "Movement is Medicine".
"Motion is the lotion" that lubricates our joints and can prevent pain before it even starts. During my studies in sports medicine we found that for creaky joints and stiff muscles, movement is what helps introduce new oxygen to those areas and promotes healing.
Numerous research studies have concluded that Movement, everything from fidgeting to low impact walking or interval training, can prevent some diseases, easy the pain from others and even reverse chronic conditions.
Movement is Medicine - The Evidence
Below are just a few headlines that come from hundreds of recent studies that spotlight the role of movement in curing or easing the symptoms of various diseases and conditions.
1. Physical activity can improve arthritis symptoms by 40%
2. Exercise alleviates some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and can slow its progression.
3. Exercise can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Public health officials recommend that if you exercise moderately for 150 minutes a week, that can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 26%. This study shows the results from over 1 million people studied. Any amount of exercise, however, is helpful in reducing risk they commented. From over 30 years of having type 1 diabetes myself I can agree that movement is medicine in that it has helped me to take less insulin than recommend.
4. Sitting too much for too long increases the risk of dying early. Why? Sitting for prolonged periods reduces blood flow to the legs and increases the risk of heart disease by accelerating the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Sitting constantly also puts people at higher risk for diabetes, depression and obesity.
All hope is not lost. The Harvard Health Blog reports that as little as 25 minutes of moderate activity a day can offset some of the negative effects of eight hours of sitting. Moreover, 60-75 minutes of activity per day eliminates the risk of death entirely, even in those who sit for more than eight hours or more.
5. Older women who sit too much and don't really exercise show biological aging at the cellular level. Cells of sedentary women have shorter telomeres, tiny caps at the end of DNA strands that protect chromosomes from deterioration and premature aging. Find the specifics HERE.
6. For people who work at a desk, standing up and walking around for 5 minutes every hour improves health and well-being. This study shows that “Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday could lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, and even dull hunger.
Various other benefits of movement have been well documented over many years. For example exercise may strengthen the bones and can preserve muscle mass, helping lower your risk of falling.
You don't need to become obsessed with exercise, to use movement as medicine.
Try these simple changes.
1. Find motivation in these words "Movement is Medicine" or "Motion is Lotion".
Feel free to adopt them as your personal motto.
2. Start interpreting stiffness, aches and pains, and lethargy as cues to move around, not as signals to sit and rest.
3. Get up every hour and walk around and stretch for five minutes.
4. Schedule times on your calendar for “appointments” to exercise.
5. If you don't move much yet, begin with small doses, 5-15 minutes a day of walking or your favorite moderate aerobic activity. Gradually build up to 150 minutes a week (the standard public health recommendation).
6. Find any excuse to walk or move around a little bit. If you watch a lot of TV, walk in place during at least one TV commercial every hour that you watch TV.
A Word of CautionSince movement is medicine, remember to take the proper dose. Most people “under-dose” on movement, but you can also overdose on it, just like any medication. Everyone’s health situation is different. With the help of your doctor, decide what kind of movement might be medicine for you. Of course, movement is not a cure-all.
Movement is More Than Medicine
Moving can be a feel-good experience when you discover the kind of motions that your body enjoys. My hope for you is that you find exercise that brings you health, happiness, and the pure joy of moving with ease!
To learn more about a company I have partnered with that is committed to helping people move better and enjoy a higher quality of life go to - Full Motion Footwear. If you or anyone you know is struggling with anything that is keeping you from living a fulfilled life, there is HOPE and there is HELP!