Chiropractors, like me, agree that “motion is life.” We, humans, were designed to walk, to run, to dance, and to move all the muscles of our body for our entire lifespan. So, naturally, it follows that we either “move it or lose it!” Our aging “Baby Boomer” population is discovering just how true this cautionary advice is when it comes to energy, vitality, mobility, and good health in later years. With every year of our life, we have much to gain from being physically active…and plenty to lose by living an immobile or sedentary lifestyle.
As our age-related risks of chronic disease increase, regular physical activity can actually slow down the trend. In addition, research has shown that people who have already developed coronary artery disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Type 2 diabetes, and other age-related chronic diseases can benefit substantially by increasing their physical activity and, therefore, often can manage their chronic illness with fewer medicines.
Furthermore, some studies suggest that the cardiovascular benefits an individual gets from physical activity may also help the brain stay healthy. “Physical activity influences the frontal region of the brain,” says Dr. Bradley Hatfield, professor of Sports Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. So, if you’ve been wondering what the best thing is that you can do to keep your brain young, the answer may be for you to take a long walk. A key factor is that exercise thickens the brain tissue and builds more synapses in the brain. The brain has 10 billion nerve cells, called neurons, and on average, neurons are connected to each other through 10,000 synapses. Every time we exercise, more synapses form and the active brain gets stronger.
On a regular basis, being physically active increases the quality of life (period). Some of the benefits include improved energy levels, mental sharpness, balance, strength, flexibility, and weight control. Moreover, regular aerobic exericise has been shown to help in the management of depression, anxiety, and stress.
So, even though the facts point conclusively to the validity of the “move it or lose it!” warning, they also confirm that it is never to late for you to “move it” and regain your health!