This is very simple. We are born to move. We are born to move in an endless variety of ways. Just look at what very little people do with their bodies… they can suck their toes, contort, twist, bend. They move with boundless energy. Then sleep.

Well, this is how we also began life. But somewhere along the way, our energy reduced, our flexibility stiffened, time became short and we became busy. And gradually, we began to dry up and lose the benefits that movement gave us having no idea that that we were losing anything.

We deteriorate through neglect because we don’t have time for or feel that other things are more importance than scheduling movement in our lives.

It is important to bring the commitment we have to servicing our car, meeting requirements and deadlines to the importance of moving our bodies.

What is so important about movement?

The statement, ‘if you don’t use it you will lose it’ is extremely true when it comes to a range of things associated with movement. The range and extent of your loses can be considerable.

The critical losses include.

  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Mobility
  • Capacity
  • Posture

All these elements are underpinned by movement. If we don’t move our ability to move will reduce and we will lose flexibility. If we don’t do things with our body or use our body to do things, we lose strength. If we don’t challenge our balance by standing on one leg with eyes open and eyes closed our balance will erode and the risk of life changing falls increases. As our strength and flexibility reduces, we will bend less and our posture will deteriorate, we won’t move very well and our capacity for exercise life and joy will shrink.

The result of reducing the movement in our lives is that our world shrinks. Our lives become smaller. We have less life in our lives… This is a compounding and accelerating trajectory that is illustrated in the ‘Life’s Path’ graphic above.

The more consciously active we are with, including, preserving and extending movement, flexibility, strength mobility, capacity and posture the flatter the ageing curve, the slower our decline and the more life we will have in us when we reach the end of our lives.

How to bring movement back into your life

Begin small. This is important. You may have been able to do lots when you were younger. But that was then, and this is now. Your capacity may be different. It may be a shock to find that you can’t keep up a hoola hoop or do a shoulder stand as you used to do.

If you decide to walk and it’s been a while, walk to the end of the street and back, or around the (small) block so that you are not far from home. If this was fine, increase the distance by no more than 10%... Small increments are safer and much more manageable. This way you will see improvement and you will find it easier to judge when you are ready for another 10% increase. If you overestimate your capacity and consequently overload or injure yourself you not only have to deal with your injury but also you will have to lower your sights and rebuild your confidence and this unfortunate development is best avoided.

If you want to begin running start by alternating walking and running with more walking than run small amounts and increase the ratio slowly.

A variety of exercises is very important as you become older. Don’t run every day. Don’t do the same weights on consecutive days. Walking swimming and riding a bike are endurance strength exercises that mix well with each other. Yoga, pilates and tai chi mix well with all forms of exercise and are great for cross training. Team sports add a social element and commitment and the fun of a shared experience.

Dance is one of the best ways to bring movement back into your life. There are many different dance opportunities around or you could simply decide to dance alone or with a friend to music. Just pick a interval and a style or a range of styles that appeal to you.

As you increase movement in your life you will find that you have more joy, energy, capacity and more life in your life.

It takes work, effort, and persistence to secure more movement into your life. But it is a lot like planting a garden. After a time the fruits of your labour will begin to show and the benefits will grow and enrich you many times over.

Rod McLean Chiropractic Newcastle • 100 Bridge Street Waratah, NSW 2298

Copyright 2021 Rod Mclean Chiropractic.