When asked, most people would agree that exercise is an important part of becoming and staying healthy. This is part of the reason why the government has made being active more accessible, producing sports centres, public courts, exercise centres in parks and funding a number of organised sport clubs. This has led to many people being active, engaging in running and a variety of sports and lots of residents setting up their own classes. Businesses have also seen the worth in their employees exercising, with many companies offering gym memberships. I have even seen aerobics classes in banks long after they’ve closed!
How essential is exercise? Today I’ll explain why getting a sweat on is more important than merely keeping us looking good, but is a fundamental aspect of our lives.
Our sense of balance, known as proprioception, is how our body interprets where its different parts are so that we can coordinate movements. If we couldn’t judge this it would be hard to do delicate tasks like writing, or wouldn’t be able to control our strengths for certain activities.
“We have sensors in the body telling our brain how we are moving and where our body is so that we can react to it”
If our sensors tell us we are upside down we can tell even with our eyes closed!
What happens when we move?
When we move our brain sends commands to our muscles and joints to move, and as they do they send information back so that the brain can fine tune our movements. Professional athletes have an excellent balance between the information the brain sends the body and the information the body sends the brain.
According to Seaman (1998), there are 40 times more signals going to the brain than signals from the brain. The brain, especially the cerebellum, requires constant feedback. When we don’t move the brain gets less feedback. This is similar to a skill we learn, if we practice it less then we lose that ability, much like a language spoken between the brain and body.
“Over time this feedback isn’t important to just how we move but also how we think. Our brain needs various type of stimulation to continue staying healthy and improving over time. Without the input the brain, in a sense, can start to get lazier. This can even restrict our intelligence!”
van Hoorn et al. (1993) stated “It [movement and exercise] helps orchestrate the intricate tuning of emotions, social skills, cognition, and motor development”. Without movement, problems in learning can arise, which include attention deficits, reading problems, emotional dis-regulation, weak memory skills, slow reflexes, lack of impulse control, and impaired or delayed writing skills.
In this sense movement is similar to a food or nutrient, VITAL for our survival.
How can movement affect our thoughts?
When we are happier or more content we are more willing to learn and take in new information. Consider the last time you had a bad day at work, this is the day when you wouldn’t be as productive and less interested in listening to people or learning new things. When our body has this kind of stress
“Studies have also shown exercise releases hormones, such as endorphins (some know it as a runners high), which directly make us happier. This is significant when learning new things, as it helps our brains take in more information. This is important at ALL ages”
This is a great example of our bodies working with and for us to provide us with the best possible life. The body and mind are linked and in constant communication, adapting to the challenges of life. Without this communication we cannot grow and develop; therefore continuing to move and stay active is vital for us to be the best we can be mentally as well as physically.
“Our brains are similar to windmills, needing movement to generate power”
How can Chiropractic help me?
The main part of the body that communicates with the brain is the spine, and this is where Chiropractors focus. If parts of the spine aren’t working properly then the information between the body and brain is disrupted and some signals won’t be communicated. Chiropractors are a leading health profession when it comes to getting things moving. By ensuring mobility of the spine and other joints the body and brain can continue to maintain and develop the language they share. This language is imperative for a healthy body and mind.
Call us today to find out how we can help you express the healthiest version of yourself.