Oh, movement is involved in health – what a surprise! I get the same feeling when I see articles where scientists solemnly intone: ‘We believe that animals have something like feelings.’ Great that we can now see that movement is medicine. I would go farther and say, “Movement is food”. A lot of our body pain and maybe some of the diseases listed here – it’s early days in this research field – are less the result of bad movement per se, and more the result of lack of variable and loaded movement. In this metaphor, many people in our society are suffering from a ‘nutritional deficiency’ – they don’t get enough movement in their natural day to fulfill their RDA (recommended daily allowance) of the boost to our circulation and immunity provided not by food or a supplement but by running the ‘engine’ of body movement to pull all those nutrients around the body.
The big muscles are the physiological engines of the body, pulling the chemistry along in the flow necessary to life. “There is but one disease,” said Paracelsus in the 16th century, “and its name is congestion.” Movement – especially when it is loaded, whole body, and variable in rhythm – is a congestion-buster. The gym – or the out-of-doors or the sea or a mountain – is a necessary part of our diet.
It was great to be at the conference in Berlin, to meet Dr Neil Theise and see the heartening directions that research is taking. It’s a little disheartening how far we have strayed from our tree-climbing roots into the embrace of the cell-phone and the chair. But here we are – so the challenge of the next generation of bodyworkers and trainers is to return us to an active animal.
Of course this needs to start not when we are middle-aged and can afford a gym membership – we need to feed our children a quality diet of movement from the gitgo. Below is an example of how imaginative educators are getting kids to escape the habit of inactivity.