“Cells receive input from their environment every minute of every day.” Marc Hamilton, PhD
Inactivity scientists are studying what happens in the body when we don’t move. What they are discovering is that how often we move is at least as important, if not more important, as how much we move.
Imagine the 230 movable joints in your body like pools of water. Just like stagnant water left undisturbed, waste products start to build up pretty quickly. The lymph system clears this stuff out. However, this system relies on movement to trigger it to work.
Cells in the body are activated when we move. For example, the removal of blood sugar by muscle cells is triggered by movement. When we don’t move, the body has to release insulin to store the unused sugar as fat.
Plus, we get to keep all the movements we practice regularly. The degree to which the typical body stiffens with age is not normal aging. It is a living example of the “use it or lose it” principle of the body. Preventing this loss of function is much easier than trying to get it back once it is lost.
Hours of physical inactivity were not planned for when the human body was invented. Moving all the ways we can move as often as possible activates the body to be well.
Yeah, but does it burn a ton of calories? Nope! Does it add a lot of steps? Nope! Does it tone muscles? Not much! Then is it worth it? If your goal is to help your body function as well as it can as long as it can, you bet!
Activate it: Tell your cells to function well! Take a few minutes several times a day to move joints that have not moved in a while. To help you remember, set an alarm or pair it with something you already do, like making coffee in the morning. Open and close the hands as wide as possible, roll the wrists each way, straighten the elbows all the way, take your shoes and socks off and move every joint in the feet, move the neck every way it can…you get the picture. Bonus Activation: add mindfulness to those movement breaks and double your reward :).
May You Be Well,
Janet Huehls, MA, RCEP, CHWC
Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Health and Wellness Coach
Yoga and Meditation Teacher