Part 1 of this article started to look at the many benefits of healthy movement. Here in Part 2, we look deeper and discover that the more we move the better our bodies will function.
When we move, our muscles contract; we load our connective tissues and bones; we increase our breathing and circulation, and we release hormones and cell signals. These, as well as a variety of other Physiological processes, tell our bodies to use its raw materials and the food we eat in certain ways. For example, movement tells our bodies to:
- Retrieve stored energy (e.g. fat or glucose) and use it.
- Store any extra energy in muscles, or use it for repair rather than storing it as fat.
- Strengthen tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
- Clear out accumulated waste products.
Movement offers us a huge number of benefits, some of which are surprising:
- Movement is a way for humans to interact with the world
As babies, we grab things, put them in our mouths; we reach for things, and cling to our parents. We are tactile beings who must interact with physical stimuli in order to learn.
- Movement helps us to connect and build relationships with others
We need to have the ability to mimic and mirror body language, as well as read the facial cues of others, to connect emotionally and mentally. Movement gives us a rich and expressive language that goes far beyond words.
- Movement helps us to think, learn, and remember
There is evidence that movement and thought are intertwined and, certainly from my own experience, I do my best thinking on the move.
Movement also supports brain health and function in many ways, by helping new neurons grow and thrive.
Every day, our brains produce thousands of new neurons, especially in our hippocampal region, which is an area involved in learning and memory. Movement, whether learning new physical skills or simply doing exercise that improves circulation gives the new cells a purpose, and a reason to stay around.
- Movement affects how we feel physically and emotionally
People of all shapes and sizes say that they have a better quality of life, with fewer physical limitations, when they are physically active.
If you exercise regularly, you will probably know that a tough workout can leave you feeling absolutely fabulous!!
Research has also shown that people who change their bodies with exercise, rather than dieting alone, feel better about their bodies, about their capabilities, about their health, and about their overall quality of life even if their weight doesn’t change. Combine the hugely positive effects of exercise with brain boosting and body building nutrition, and that’s where the magic really starts to happen!
It’s important to find out what healthy movement looks like for you. Not everyone can be an Olympic athlete, or a Premier League footballer, but we can all notice how our unique body shapes influence our every-day activities. How do you move, and how could you potentially move? We all have structural or physical limitations to movement, and we all have advantages, it depends on what we’re doing.
Regardless of what your unique physical makeup might be, there are activities that can work for you, and help you to make movement a big part of your daily life.