I’m often asked the role that exercise plays in healing. My response is that exercise is critical to healing as movement is what our bodies were designed to do.
When we were hunter gatherers, we spent the day hunting, squatting, gathering, eating, sleeping, climbing, chasing and procreating; we were often in a state of motion. This is what our bodies have been programmed for. Now, we spend our days in front of a computer, in the car, watching TV, essentially, doing all the things that are sedentary. Is it a wonder why so many injuries occur when people go from a sedentary position with their body to a sudden movement?
If you stop using it, you start losing it. When you were a child, your body was supple, had full ranges of motion, etc and as we stopped climbing and playing, we started to lose the flexibility we once had.
I was in Malaysia visiting my family a couple years ago and while on a trip to the mall, I had to use the washroom. When I entered, I noticed that the toilets were not the regular North American toilets but were holes in the ground where you had to squat. Due to these squatting toilets, everyone was able to perform the squat movement, including my aunts and uncles that were into their 70’s. Here in North America, there are teenagers who have already started to lose the ability to squat. Good thing it is possible to re-learn this basic movement. If you don’t use it, you lose it. However, if you train and start using it again, you can regain it!
When you decide to move a part of your body, you first start with an intention. For example, I would like to go from sitting to standing. Next, your nervous system will come up with a certain firing pattern in sequence, to allow you to execute the movement. Lastly, your nervous system will discharge that pattern and you will complete your intention i.e. standing up. All this information happens fairly quickly, often as soon as the thought comes.
The interesting thing is that the more ability you have to move your body, the greater the number of pathways for your nervous system to choose from. This is why injuries occur less in people who move more, they have more adaptable nervous systems. Darwin was right, it is not survival of the fittest. The winners are those who have the most adaptability. This is why my focus in practice is neuro-optimization. The greater your nervous system can change physically, emotionally and mentally, the better you are able to adapt in your body and in turn your life!
Remember, if you don’t move it, you lose it. However, if you train, you can regain!
If you're looking to regain some of the movement that you've lost, try a movement gym. Here's one that I recommend in Ottawa. http://www.humantwopointzero.com/
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.