To Your Health
August, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 08)
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Movement Is Life

By Peter W. Crownfield, Executive Editor

Without movement, there truly is no life, and it's understandable on a purely biological level. Consider this quote from chiropractor James Chestnut, as published in a 2002 article: "Blood cells that don't move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don't move can't breathe, hearts that don't move can't pump blood, and spines that don't move can't create the motion required for proper joint nutrition, for the activities of daily living, or for the stimulation of the joint-brain pathways required for proper brain and body function." In short, movement is what enables our bodies to operate in all their delicate, wondrous complexity.

The inherent connection between movement and life is also understandable if you reflect for a moment on what happens when you engage in healthy behaviors, such as consistent physical activity and nutritious eating compared to the alternative: staying sedentary and eating not-so-healthy foods. Ample research suggests regular exercise improves circulation, enhances flexibility, and gives you a greater ability to accomplish physical tasks without risking injury; all benefits involving movement. Your blood moves throughout the body, providing vital nourishment to tissues and organs; your joints and muscles move more easily, rather than being stiff and immobile; and you move quicker and with less effort.

Hiking Group - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark It's the same way with diet, believe it or not. Eating foods high in nutrients means they can be absorbed well by the body and delivered (moved) to cells. Eating high-fiber foods ensures timely digestion and elimination of wastes (whereas overconsumption of animal fats and low-fiber foods leads to colonic inactivity and constipation). Foods that are high in saturated fat also can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries, reducing the ability of blood to move through the body and potentially causing a catastrophic blockage - lack of movement leading to a heart attack or stroke. Again, movement is life.

Several recent research studies reinforce the essential role movement plays in our very existence, particularly with respect to preventing disease. For example, research reported in the March 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Heart suggests regular exercise not only helps prevent heart disease, but also increases average lifespan both in healthy patients and in patients already suffering from a heart condition and taking medication for their problem. According to the study, increased regular to moderate physical activity reduced the risk of mortality in both groups, but even more so in patients taking medication for a pre-existing heart condition. Quite an example of how movement truly is life.