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Is Movement Really Medicine?

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

At Dynamic Performance and Therapy, the phrase “Movement is Medicine” is our motto. For many of you who fear movement, we are here to provide the best “movement medicine” to help you overcome your fear or obstacle to move more. It may be joint or muscle pain that holds you back, or even a fear of re-injury, but the results of a sedentary lifestyle are even scarier.

Did you know that “sitting is the new smoking” of our generation? We have come to accept this as our new normal. In the US and around the world, more and more people are sitting while on their computers, watching TV, or playing video games. Many of our jobs now require endless hours of sitting and working on a computer. As a result, more and more people are becoming unhealthier than ever before.

I would like to share with you some of the health risks of living a sedentary lifestyle and the benefits of making that change to add more movement into your life…

How does a sedentary lifestyle compromise your health?

  • Increased rate of bone and muscle loss. This can lead to injuries, falls, osteoporosis and arthritis

  • Increased blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels (Often referred to as “metabolic syndrome”), which all contribute to increased risk of stroke or cardiac conditions

  • Decreased memory/brain acuity

  • Increased risk of depression

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Decreased immune system

How does movement benefit your body?

  • According to the CDC, movement can decrease arthritis symptoms by up to 40%!

  • Improves memory and mental acuity

  • Increases endorphins and decreased depression

  • Improves blood circulatory health

  • Improves muscle strength and bone health

  • Improves immune health by activating immune cells within the body to circulate and enhances their ability to stay within the circulatory system for up to 3 hours after exercise

How do you add more movement into your life?

  • Start small and set daily movement goals. When we set specific and realistic goals, we are more likely to find success and make new daily habits. This may be a goal of walking up and down your stairs at home 5x/day or taking your dog for a walk 2x/day. Your goals are specific to you and need to meet you at a place that is realistic for you to achieve. Little by little each week you can add to and modify your movement goals. This will help you establish new daily habits.

  • Exercise with a friend. That friend may be a pet, a child, or another adult. We know that movement and exercise is much more enjoyable when it can be social or interactive. If you do not have anyone, try working with a personal trainer to help you get started or join a group exercise class.

  • If you have pain, an injury, or a condition where you struggle with “How do I start?” reach out to a physical therapist to help you. Beginning a change of lifestyle to incorporate new movement goals and/or exercise can be scary for many people, especially if they have other medical concerns or pain. Physical therapists are your movement experts. They have a strong educational background not only in exercise and movement, but also pain, injury, and general health conditions. They will help you find a safe way to get started.

  • Incorporating movement in your lifestyle, does not have to involve going to the gym. You just need to move more all day long. Science shows that more frequent movements performed throughout the day has even greater health benefits than exercising once a day for 60 minutes and sitting the rest of the day.

Here are some of my tips to help you incorporate more “movement medicine” into your daily life:

  • Stand up and walk while talking on the phone- I like to pace around my kitchen island or walk around the house when I am on the phone.

  • If you sit at a desk all day, make an intention, or set an alarm to stand up every hour, or use a standing desk. Even standing at a desk burns more calories than sitting.

  • Take the stairs over the elevator.

  • Put exercise weights or a mat in your TV room and do some moves while watching TV- this is one of my favorite ways to work in exercise when I don’t feel like it!

  • Walk your kids to school or your dog around the neighborhood-just getting outside will make you feel like moving more.

  • Stand up and walk to a colleague’s office instead of sending an email to converse on an idea. You may feel this is less efficient, but you will be accomplishing two goals at once!

  • Have mini-meetings while walking outside with co-workers- we love to do this at Dynamic!

  • Find a purpose or reason to stand up and move every hour of the day- getting a drink of water, cup of coffee, change the laundry, put dishes away, get the mail, etc.

  • Incorporating more movement in your life does not have to be just going to the gym or walking/running outside. Those lofty goals may be scary and even unrealistic for many people. Movement involves an intention to create better habits to move your body more frequently throughout the day.

Here at Dynamic, we believe “Movement is the best Medicine,” for a healthier body and mind. Please reach out to our Dynamic physical therapists if you need support with your journey back to health.

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