Article Posted by Blaine Brignell, April 8th, 2013
The human body is an amazingly adaptable organism. Compare these adjacent photographs of Olympians of various sports: http://reelfoto.blogspot.com/2012/08/howard-schatz-and-beverly-ornstein.html
Each individual photographed here demonstrates a lifetime of adaptation by a body genetically well suited to the demands of a particular activity; they are very real representations of a broad spectrum of health and athleticism. From the lightweight body of a runner, to the athleticism of a decathlete, to the strength of a weightlifter, we can clearly see that how one moves has a direct impact on the formation of their body. The impact does not end there, as movement (exercise) has been found in numerous studies of broad range to have numerous quantifiable benefits; to quote: “Thus, exercise could provide a simple means to maintain brain function and promote brain plasticity.” (* 1)
I believe it is of value to briefly demonstrate that “movement” and “exercise” are, in essence, one in the same. The Oxford English Dictionary defines exercise as “activity requiring physical effort…” and movement as “an act of changing physical location or position…” As the act of changing physical location or position requires energy and physical effort, movement is by nature exercise.
Being aware that movement has a profound impact of both physical and mental wellness, it is easy to assert that the practice of movement will directly improve the practitioner’s quality of life, for what is life without health? Unfortunately though, the inverse is true as well. The body is adaptive, but does not qualify adaptations and select only those that will be of long-term benefit. This means that we can and will adapt to poor posture or toiling over repetitive tasks just as effectively as we can adapt to climbing and running, rolling and lifting. To build a durable, enduring, and healthy body, we therefore must move each day with the intention of minimizing the stresses that have a negative physical and mental impact (distress) and maximizing stresses that are of benefit and promote growth (eustress).
This is excellent news, for if we understand that movement (or a lack thereof) directly influences the physical and mental state, the answer to wellness is simple: move! Move often, move well, and move variably. We cannot predict what we may need to call upon our bodies to do, so prepare for all. Roll, climb, crawl, lift, swim, swing, balance, throw, catch, jump, run, skip, push, pull, and breathe your way to health. With so many ways to move, one should never feel obligated to “work out” at the gym. Opportunity to explore movement is just around every corner; pick up things off the floor with your feet, take steps two at a time, crawl under that house and clean out those raccoons. Do whatever you can, and ENJOY it! The simply act of movement will remind you of play, and the joy that play brings. If you like to walk, then walk. How about climbing trees? Great. Sparring at a dojo? Excellent. Boarding down a snowy mountain? Sounds like the right medicine to me.
Your body will adapt to how it is used. If you wish to be good at sitting, by all means sit. Know though that the maxim “use it or lose it” originates in sports and athletics, because it has long been known that to maintain the body, one must use the body. Enjoy your movement and move frequently, and you will reap the rewards of seeds well sewn.
* 1: Carl W. Cotman, Nicole C. Berchtold, Exercise: a behavioral intervention to enhance brain health and plasticity, Trends in Neurosciences, Volume 25, Issue 6, 1 June 2002, Pages 295-301, ISSN 0166-2236, 10.1016/S0166-2236(02)02143-4.
The Pamplin Media Group and Community Newspapers has recently released a new publication tit;ed " Healthy Life - Living with Diabetes. Readers can find and discover many articles concerning diabetes and recent finds, healthy eating tips, and more. Click on the link below to open up this PDF in a new window.
Easy to use, functional weight loss FREE application helps Portland Tribune readers track healthy lifestyle
It’s a new year, so time to start losing weight . . . again. Right? Maybe this time you can get your smart phone involved.
Beginning this month, the Portland Tribune is working with Lose It!, a part of Boston’s FitNow Inc., to help people across the region lose weight with the aid of the Lose It! app developed three years ago for the iPhone.
Since 2008, more than 5 million people have downloaded the app that calculates calories and helps set weight-loss goals.
Through an online partnership — the first for the Boston company — the Tribune and Community Newspapers across the Portland area have teamed up on a new website giving people access to the Lose It! program. The Oregonhealthylife.com site lets you establish a weight-loss plan and guides you through the dieting maze with help from your peers so you can achieve your goals.
The site includes articles from local health care providers and others, and a forum to share ideas and encourage one another in the weight-loss effort.
Here’s how it works: Go to the website, create a free account and then join the region’s effort to lose weight. You set your own goals, calculate your calories and decide how much, or how little, you want to do.
Losing weight it is a challenge, especially when studies show too many people are overweight or obese. We hope the Tribune’s partnership with Lose It! helps you achieve your weight-loss goals.