Saturday, June 8, 2013

Your body is trying to tell you something. Are you listening?

Movement is better for you than medicine:  If you do a lot of the former you’re a whole lot less likely to require the latter.  Yet we're conditioned to take a pill if we have discomfort instead of receiving it as a message from our operations department that we need to pay attention to something important.  We're taught by those who sell pills and potions that they are the answer.  I still hear the words of my father, offered to me when I was very small - on pain/or when something hurt:  "your body is trying to tell you something.  Are you listening?"  Is anybody listening?

In our affluent society, the more privileged one is, it seems the less one needs to do, for oneself or for others.  Someone else tends, cleans, prepares, fetches, delivers, conveys, trains, all so we have more time to enjoy ourselves.  Or work.  Or workout. Or work late.

If you’re sitting all day at a desk, drive to and from work (or school), even if you exercise for an hour every day, that one hour out of twenty-four won’t make up for the stasis your body must endure the rest of the time.  The human body’s not designed to be inactive but for the time you are asleep.   You’re designed to move around during waking hours (the other 2/3 of your life).

Your heart is a muscle, one of several hundred. It’s designed to move blood around your body and maintain circulatory operations at a minimal level while you’re asleep.  But it only pumps around the big pipes.  If you want to get blood to ALL your tissues, you need to use ALL YOUR OTHER muscles to get blood all the way out to the littlest blood vessels, fill the capillary beds, make your fingers and toes warm, keep your complexion looking fabulous. For this result you need to move everything a bunch.  Which you can probably guess I'm not doing while I'm typing this.....

When you wake up in the morning one of the first things you probably do is stretch.  It feels good.   There’s been little circulation to your muscles because you don’t move very much when asleep (well, some more than others).  Get some circulation going where there’s been none for a while. Have a stretch.  It feels so good, you lean into it and you don't even have to think about it, the operations department simply demands it and you comply without question because you're not really awake yet.  You're so receptive to your body's commands :o) Good times.

Sitting in a chair all day long is no good for you or anyone else.  A sedentary life may be survivable indefinitely, but if you want to feel good, you have got to move your body.  Get some circulation going and keep it going.  All over.

In third world nations where folks have to walk everywhere, hunt, carry water over land for their survival, folks don’t have diabetes, heart disease, pelvic floor disorder, or an avalanche of hip and knee replacements.  When they sit down, they sit on the floor or ground. (Tried that lately?) For toilet functions, squatting is the order of the day.  When’s the last time you squatted for long enough to "take care of business?"

Birds fly, fish swim, snakes slither, humans walk.  Mostly.  We’re versatile :o)  Our feet are unique in the animal world, and we’ve managed to get ourselves to the four corners of the globe (and long before anyone got their learners' permit).  We walk LONG distances.  Swim, too, but not nearly as far and maybe that’s because we'd be likely to become somebody's lunch long before we made land.  We've evolved to walk, to move around from place to place.

And here' s a thought that just came to me:  what if ADHD is simply children being aware that sitting in one place is illness in the making?  What if they’re still in touch enough with their bodies to get the message it’s sending them?  Robust and a variety of movement is the way the body takes care of itself.  Muscles move, circulation results.  Oxygen, food, garbage removal only gets to  tissues when the local muscles are moving.  So instead of giving our young drugs so they’re able to sit without moving for hours on end, maybe we should get a clue:  everyone’s body wants and needs to move a bunch.  

These bodies of ours are remarkable recovery machines.   You tear your skin open shaving, skin your knee, cut your finger, and it will cover the hole and then close it up and then grow a custom replacement cover [that blends in so well you can’t even tell where it was] and it does all this without you having to think about it.  An amazing self-healing machine.  And that’s just a part we can easily observe.  Ever wondered how goosebumps happen? 

The operations department in your body monitors operations 24x7 to keep things ‘just right’ so you can enjoy your life right up until the very moment your time’s up.  99.3% [ok, I made that up] Very nearly all of the cells in your body aren't older than ten.  So there’s really no reason why you couldn’t feel like and do a cartwheel right now.  Right?  Except for maybe your body's been talking and you haven't been listening for quite some time.  If you're reading this the good news is:  it's never too late to get moving.

In this great nation illness is just another profit center and nearing 20% of GDP.   Big Pharma would much rather doctors tell you to take a pill than to take walk.  No one’s going to get rich selling you a movement prescription.  But if you fill that one, you just might never have to go back to the doctor again.

Your body is trying to tell you something.  Are you listening?  Defy gravity.  Stand up straight. Align your body so the operations department gets accurate data and keep everything moving.  Then listening to your body will be a LOT more fun.