Move Better, Rest Better: Part 1 – Movement

Movement is important for spinal health and general well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, one in three adults are too inactive. This can increase chances of heart disease and diabetes, as well as heighten risk of falls. It can also decrease bone, muscle and joint strength, and energy levels.

As human beings we are designed to move; this is what our aided our survival and allowed us to thrive in our environment. However, modern society has limited the amount of movement we do.

Why?

There are a few reasons. Firstly, we like convenience. After all, would you rather go to the grocery store or hunt down your food? Secondly, the type of work we do (i.e. sitting at a desk for extended periods) has changed since the days where humans spent their time fashioning tools and, again, hunting. Thirdly, our lifestyle has also become increasingly inactive (for example, we might get home from work only to sit down and watch TV).

Our ancestors were much healthier than we are today. This is because of the food they ate, and also the amount of movement they did.

If we look back at our ancestors, we can summarise their movements in three main types:

  • Slow-paced movements, such as moving around the campsite, were a constant in everyday life.
  • Quick movements, such as fleeing from predators or hunting, were also common.
  • Heavy objects were lifted now and then.

I believe that if we also tried to follow these three simple points, we would get less back pain and feel more energetic, while decreasing risk of disease.

We should also focus on performing functional movements in our exercise routines. What are these, you ask? Functional movements are actions we are built to do in nature – movements such as jumping, running, climbing, pushing and lifting. Movements that involve our entire body, not just one part of it.

Functional movements are very important for developing one of our senses: ‘proprioception’. In simple terms, ‘proprioception’ is the body’s ability to know where each joint is at any given moment. It allows us to coordinate movements smoothly and gives us a sense of balance, helping to prevent injury.

Written by Dr Roi Cheng (Chiropractor), 7/8/14

References:

Stamatakis E, et al. Screen-based entertainment time, all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular events: Population-based study with ongoing mortality and hospital events follow-up. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2011;57:292.

Slosberg M. Effects of altered afferent articular input on sensation, proprioception,muscle tone and sympathetic reflex responses. J Manip Physiol Ther1988; 11:400-408.

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