Television, Internet, and cell phones. Our society has reached a pinnacle of instant gratification entertainment. Unfortunately, all three of these activities replaces one important thing: physical movement. Obesity rates have increased over the past couple decades. Scientists have shown a correlation to the quality of food available, technology advancement, and a decrease in daily exercise. While the quality of our nutrition is very important to the function of our body, today we’re going to focus on the importance of daily movement.
Movement is important for three main reasons: maintaining a healthy weight, preventing early bone loss, and supplying healthy nutrition to our spine and nervous system. In this day and age, our society has a tendency to push us toward a stagnant lifestyle. The average working job consists of a majority of desk work, which hinders daily movement. Even at home, the average American’s life consists of online entertainment and television, which again, limits movement. According to the most recent research, most Americans have a TV on for more than 7 hours a day!1 With this much inactive leisure time and a job that hinders movement, it’s no wonder why obesity has risen sharply over the decades. In 2010, reports stated 35% of adults were obese.2 Since, that percentage has only increased and our physical activity has decreased. The best way to combat this situation is to consume mostly clean food and ensure you are getting REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
Believe it or not, bone density has a direct correlation to physical activity. Once you arrive at 30 years of age, peak bone density is reached and bones will only deteriorate slowly after that. Therefore, the best way to prevent early bone loss or osteoporosis is to build up density and bone strength as early and as often as possible. The best way to build bone density is through weight-bearing exercise or impact exercise before the bones begin to deteriorate.
Regular exercise is also very beneficial for your nervous system. One of the best examples of this can be seen in the discs which space our spine. Our discs receive nutrition mainly through a process called imbibition. Through this process, our discs receive their nourishment just like a sponge. This means that when we stay mobile our discs stay supplied with water and fuel and allow it to function as intended. Our spinal cord receives part of its nutrition in a similar fashion through the cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid surrounds our spinal cord and circulates through the spinal canal and brain via movement. Without movement, both the discs in our back and our spinal cord would cease to function properly.
How can you stay moving?
Here are a few simple tricks to keep you active.
*Make time for at least 30 min a day for exercise.
*Start your movement at your own pace. If it is hard for you to run, walk! If it is hard for you to walk, practice standing from a seated position.
*Set an alarm to go off every hour you are at home or at work and take that time to get up and walk around for a couple of minutes.
*Take a brief walk after dinner. Walking after a meal has shown to improve digestion and help balance blood sugar levels.
*Think of every day as a new chance for a healthy you. If you don’t get exercise in one day, make sure you get it in the next day. Every day is a new beginning!
*Remember, health is not a destination. It is a process and it takes work every day.
1. Kellner, D. (1990). Television And The Crisis Of Democracy. New York: Routledge.
2. Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2014). Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011–2012. JAMA, 311(8), 806–814. http://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.732