Intentional movement heals. Cryotherapy, Massage, Sauna, Dry-needle, Norma-tech sleeves, Ice & Stim, and Chiropractic adjustments all have one thing in common. They are all trying to increase the amount of blood flow throughout our body, just like movement! They are trying to create movement of stagnant energy to your organs and then eventually excreted out the body, and trying to send oxygen and useful energy to your cells for daily functions! Although some of these modalities do have their own specific reasoning and place in maintenance of the human body, being able to articulate & move our joints is the foundation for human optimization.
The reason I started off this article with modalities that people engage in on a regular basis, is the fact that people now more than ever have access to passive modalities of treatment and care. Again, not saying that these are not useful, but the fact these modalities are trying to accomplish the same thing human movement is trying to accomplish. The only difference is moving our bodies with specific intention takes a lot more awareness and energy when compared to lying down and allowing someone or something to treat you. It is the balance between passive and active restoration.
That word passive is very relevant in today’s society, and I would argue more than ever. We have access to more technology, we are able to communicate with people across the globe, and dependent upon our job, might have to drive hours on hours each day. This lack of movement freedom really leaves us in a sedentary rut, where we end up spending more time seated and still throughout our day compared to active and dynamic. Believe it or not, but sitting is now becoming the new smoking, where if gone unchecked, not moving enough can actually lead to joint and muscle injuries. That’s right, just because you don’t do crossfit doesn’t mean that your joints and soft tissues are safe from injury.
Let’s talk about the science of movement. Movement and physical activity have been shown to increase levels of hormones and biochemicals like Serotonin and Dopamine, which is the “feel good” hormone! From a structural standpoint, something as simple as walking is able to rehydrate your muscles and connective tissues, helping combat that stiff lower back or tight shoulder you’ve been experiencing. Research has shown that being able to move your muscles through their full ranges of motion provides your joints with what’s called “synovial fluid” which is the nutrient supply for your joints (your joints do not receiving any blood flow like muscles). Not to mention that full ranges of movement at the joint and full body level has proven to stimulate certain areas of the brain to create new cell growth which has profound effects on the ability for you to learn and recall past memories.
One of the most important aspects of movement is how it can either serve as positive stress or negative stress for your whole Central Nervous System (Brain + Spinal Cord). If we find our self not moving enough and having a lack of physical activity stimulation, this can lead to our nervous system being in what is called “Parasympathetic” overdrive. This means that your body has a hard time sustaining an elevated heart rate along with not being able to release certain hormones that play monumental roles in your energy and daily metabolism. If we find ourself moving at a high pace with a high intensity over a long period of time, we can find yourself in what’s called “Sympathetic” overdrive where we are not allowing our body enough time for recovery between your bouts of movement.
Another aspect that is very prevalent in today’s society is the balance between training hard and training slow. Very active people are great at going into the gym and crushing the resistance based workouts, but these same people may have an issue taking “off-days” or restorative days. As it is important to have resistance-based movement to help stimulate hormones and bone growth, it is also important to have a un-loaded movement routine that takes into account the health and longevity of your joints and nervous system. We’ve spoken to the fact that full range movement patterns are important for the health of your joints and brain, but what often goes unnoticed is that something as simple as mobility and restorative movement routine, when prescribed correctly, can feed into your performances on the field or in the gym when lifting weights.
Movement is better than no movement. Move in small ranges, and move in big ranges. High intensity movement needs to be balanced with slow and restorative movements. Movement heals and creates growth for brain cells as well as brings nourishment to joint capsules throughout your body. Movement has implications to which and when hormones are released in your body. Understanding all the changes we can create for our mind and body, check out our Hii-Tide subscription where you can find instructional videos and programs on how to optimize your movement practice.