We are born into this world from a liquid state. Then gravity takes hold. Although our bodies are 75% water, the earth’s gravitational pull toward its center gives us our body mass. It is our friend, it keeps us grounded. From the moment of birth this pull is the weight of our body which also gives us a sense of direction. Anytime we move and position ourselves, we expose different parts of our body to gravity’s force. Our inner ear and ability to balance can also thank gravity to help in its functioning. Since the 1950s however, gravity has been given a bad name. Modern “conveniences” started to deprive us of playing with our friend gravity. When was the last time you got up out of your seat to change the station on the television? When was the last time you walked to work or the store instead of driving? My point being, inactivity is not a human being’s friend. Modern first-world living means less and less physical movement now more than ever in history. Sedentary lifestyles (which we tend to adopt as we get older) not only promote an overweight body, but also a lethargic one. Structural damage in the form of stiffening of the heart and blood vessels are another guarantee. All of which can be prevented with exercise.
The amount we move, the times we make ourselves be physical by getting up, twisting , bending over, and reaching is adding time to our lives here on planet earth. There is no way around the fact that the human systems of the body function better with movement. I recently finished a book by a lifelong NASA scientist named Joan Vernikos Ph.D. Her life work involved studying simple everyday movements for health, youth, and energy….without going to the gym. Life science involves living a pain free life, clear of illness, preventing early death, and is based on our quality of living no matter the age. All issues I deal with as a massage therapist. I have seen (and felt) the damage caused by stagnant or “locked in” professions such as dentistry, hair stylists, and any desk or computer job. Not to be over dramatic, but sitting kills both physically and mentally. Sedentary maladies by both children and adults are as follows: decrease in aerobic capacity, decrease in bone and muscle density, flabby muscles, a stooped posture, reduce force of power, slower reaction times, increased body fat, decreased testosterone and growth hormone, aching joints and loss of collagen….just to name a few. Modern technological “blessings” we must be aware of because of their negative health impacts. Not too long ago we were pumping water from wells, walking to the outhouse, and very physically involved with our day to day survival. Today, not so much.
A new attitude toward physical movement and fitness can go a long way. Hanging clothes to dry instead of using an electric dryer is simple and money saving, prepping meals instead of using fast or frozen food, even cleaning the house can be looked as a joyful act as opposed to a chore. When I wake up in the morning I try to keep moving instead of sitting down with a cup of coffee. A body does not need to sit after it has been lying down for many hours. I bend, pick up, and start my body moving in first gear to start warming up. Sometimes I even try out some new dance moves! Circulation is the key to stagnation’s lock. Through my massage work I see bodies that do less physical work relate directly to more physical problems. One of my favorite examples of this is getting off of an airplane. I get looked at funny when I am the one walking up or down a flight of stairs instead of using the escalator. Often the option is right in front of you but most choose the lazy way out. We can consciously shift our thinking and embrace being physical as a way to a happier wellbeing. Going to the beach? Get in the water and swim, walk, throw, a frisbee or kick a soccer ball; anything instead of sitting there doing nothing. I am surprised at the new “technological advances” being made when I am stateside. Some vehicles rear hatch now requires pushing a button instead of the simple act of reaching up and closing the door. Odd and unnecessary if you ask me. Automation in our lives has a downside and is not physically advantageous. It’s time the alarm bells start ringing before obesity, diabetes, and illness becomes the norm. Sitting kills and movement heals both mentally and physically. Get moving today!
(Todd Pequeen is a pioneer of the spa industry here in MA since 2000. He works independently at his tree top studio or at your location and can be reached at 8830-7727 or at [email protected]. His free time is spent reading, writing, surfing, traveling, and spreading the love.)