By Kathleen Gramzay, LMT
As sure as night follows day, New Year’s resolutions and weight loss ads follow the turn of the calendar. Yet, statistics say that only 9% of people who make resolutions have kept them a year later. If you’re looking to genuinely to improve your health, your WHY to change must be greater than your habits and inertia to stay the same.
One of the best ways to change your perspective toward something is to increase understanding of the value it can bring. When it comes to both physical and mental health, movement gives incredible returns on investment. Let these benefits be your reminders WHY you want to increase movement of your body.
Your WHY Motivation
Movement Keeps Your Vehicle Running. If you left your car parked for an extended time without running it, it wouldn’t take long before the battery would be dead, spark plugs misfire, or the engine block cracks without oil moving through it. The vehicle you live inside is much the same. Without movement, your body/mind vehicle is missing its most important and effective maintenance requirement to keep your brain firing, fluids circulating, parts lubricated, and excess weight in the trunk down.
In short, movement is the number one requirement for a healthy body and mind. The health of all your systems – cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, digestive, urinary, lymphatic, muscles, bones, integumentary (skin), and endocrine (hormones), are dependent upon movement for proper and optimal function. Movement keeps your organ engines of the heart, lungs, and digestive track firing. It helps increase and maintain bone density, muscular tone, it stimulates feel-good endorphins and heart rate variability, helps balance hormones, stabilizes blood pressure and helps keep gastrointestinal issues down.
Movement Strengthens Your Immune System
In winter months when viral conditions such as cold, flu, respiratory or other viruses are greater, movement is one of the smartest daily choices you can make to keep your immune system healthy and conditioned to protect you. Movement is critical for the optimal function of the lymphatic system and for both general and specific immune responses. The lymphatic system produces and releases white blood and other immune cells that fight bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi that enter the body. Movement keeps lymph moving, immune cells fighting, and dead bacteria and other toxic waste moving along to be filtered out through the bladder and intestines.
Movement Keeps Your Body Filters Clear. Just as your power steering or engine oil can get sludgy and gunk up your hoses and filters, so too do your body hoses and filters get clogged up and cause health issues. Lack of movement contributes to heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Unexercised lungs are more prone to bronchitis, and respiratory or sinus infections due to bacteria growth and stagnant fluids. Constipated bowels are not only uncomfortable, but the toxicity of accumulated feces can, in severe cases, lead to sepsis, a potentially fatal infection that expands into the pelvis outside of the intestines. Movement expands your lungs and deters stagnant fluid and bacteria build up. Movement keeps bowels functioning, your intestine filters clearer, and bonus: excess weight down. Keeping the gut clear also positively affects the immune system, a significant portion of which is in the gut.
Movement Keeps Your Brain Firing (and Happy)
Exercise promotes neuroplasticity and increases oxygen supply to your brain. Exercise releases a number of neurotransmitters including endorphins, dopamine, and endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids regulate food intake, lipids synthesis and turnover in the liver and adipose tissue, muscle cell glucose metabolism keeping cellular function firing too.
Effective Movement Can be Fun.
Who said that because it’s good for you, you have to dread exercise? What did you love to do as a child? Can you do some form of that now? The more fun it is, the more your mind will get on board, and pretty soon, your body/mind will crave it as the perfect offset to the stresses of life.
As I kid, I loved to JUMP – and I still get great joy from jumping decades later. It still brings me great joy and whether it’s jumping rope, jumping on a quality mini trampoline, or doing jumping jacks, this activity is hard to beat for stimulating your lymphatic system and boosting your immune system. When most people start to feel sick, they lie down. Instead, I jump rope or on the mini trampoline to get my lymph moving and clear out any congestion that is building in my chest or head. This not only kicks in my immune system, it helps my body move out whatever might be trying to take hold. The mini trampoline is a great lymph stimulus, whether it be gentle- or high-bounce active movement. It’s great for those who can jump off the mat to those who can only sit on it and bounce lightly. It also helps increase bone density. The quality mini trampoline I prefer was originally developed by Needak for NASA astronauts returning from space to increase their bone density.