Not that long ago, movement was necessary for sustaining life. Finding, capturing, and collecting food and water required all-day, excursions throughout the lifespan. Seeking and creating shelters required continuous strength and stamina. All the variables we associate with physical health – endurance, strength, and mobility – were necessary for survival.
These are unprecedented times in which movement is no longer required. We hop in the car to go to store. A swipe on our phone gets dinner delivered to our door. Conceivably, we can never leave our home and get by just fine.
Relegating movement to the optional category comes with consequences. I’m not talking about rigorous exercise when I refer to ‘movement.’ I’m referring to simple movement like walking to the store or working in the garden.
If we don’t use our muscles they shrink from disuse. Conservation is at the heart of nature. What we don’t use will eventually wither away, including our muscles. It’s called atrophy and the cure is movement. Thankfully we only need a small, daily dose of movement to sustain our full range of motion. The caveat is that we have to focus on the all of the muscles in our body, the little and the big.
Move It or Lose it
Modern living relies too heavily on our dominant muscles. As a result, the smaller muscles weaken from lack of use. We need to work both big and small muscles, gently through their full range of motion to age well through every stage of life. How we use our body and this is where Essentrics™ shines.
Connective tissue, or fascia, runs through our entire body. It’s composed of elastin and collagen fibers floating around in a glycerin-like, watery substance. It encases our muscles and is what gives us shape and flexibility.
When we don’t use our muscles, the connective tissue hardens. This “locks” our muscles in place. As the tissues of our muscles shrink, they pull the joints closer together leading to painful conditions such as arthritis. Joint compression is the biggest complaint of aging. It’s why we feel tight, sore and creaky.
Fascia needs movement to remain pliable. If the muscle doesn’t move, neither does the connective tissue. It congeals, like coconut oil. When the tissues harden, it encases the muscle reducing range of motion, strength and flexibility. The rounded profile of the elderly is just neglected muscles stuck in place.
To stay flexible, active and pain-free, we have to move all of our muscles – big and small – through their full range of motion. Too often we favor the showy or crankiest muscles. Yet it’s the secondary, supportive muscles we need to start paying attention. They provide stability and structure, while the bigger muscles provide power.
Muscles are the guardians of our youth. We need them for strength, movement and energy. To feel vital and pain-free, we need them to be strong and flexible. It is the process of lengthening and strengthening that reverses the compression on the joints and arthritic pain and what (quite possibly) prevents joint replacements.
Movement is the Fountain of Youth
If you don’t use all of your 650 muscles every day, they slowly wither away. That’s because Nature is a master economizer.
When the musculoskeletal is healthy, we move with ease and grace and feel young and vibrant. When the musculoskeletal system is unhealthy, our organs behave sluggishly, we gain weight, lose our shape, suffer chronic pain, have low energy and are chronically stiff.
Sounds a lot like what “old” feels like, to me.
Truth is, we are meant to live well into our senior years pain free. The primary reason we lose mobility and suffer pain is from lack of use and/or misuse. When we don’t use our muscles, the tissues start to congeal. Sticky, stuck connective tissue and muscle deterioration is the real explanation of aging.
Kick aging in the butt and get moving!