Motion is Life

Improving the Quality of Life through Increased Activity

From our very first moments on this earth, we have been moving. Even before we are born, we kick and squirm in our mother’s womb expressing some of the earliest signs of life. Of all the attributes that connect living beings, movement may be one of the most basic and vital.

              As our lives progress, how we move continually changes. Crawling turns into walking and then into running. Human beings are incredibly athletic, capable of climbing, swimming, throwing, and jumping. However, as we age, many of these activities become increasingly difficult. Sports that seemed easy at 16 years-old become more difficult at 45. As we progress through our lives we tend to move less. This affects our quality of life as we slowly express this fundamental attribute with less exuberance each year.

              However, we do not have to accept this fate as inevitable. Our lives are comprised of many choices. If we work hard and choose wisely we can increase our activity and improve our quality of life. When it comes to moving, there are three fundamental principles, I call these the three pillars of health. I find when people practice these principles consistently, their quality of life dramatically improves and they can remain active well into their golden years.

              First, we must remember the adage “move it or lose it”. This is a core tenet in regards to motion. Sir Isaac Newton stated that “an object in motion tends to stay in motion.” Our bodies respond readily to good stress. The more we use our muscles and joints the higher priority our body places on maintaining those muscles and joints. Every day I tell people to walk and move more. There is a seemingly endless amount of research that shows staying active is by far the best way to continue being active throughout life.

              One common question I get in practice is “What is the best form of exercise?” My patients will tell you I have a very consistent answer to this question. The best exercise is the one you enjoy. If you enjoy swimming, go swimming; if you enjoy competitive ping pong, then play ping pong. You don’t have to start by running five miles a day or doing high-intensity exercise. If you currently don’t do a lot of activity, start by taking a 15-minute walk every day. As you adapt to this activity level, you will find yourself wanting to do more. Eventually, you will walk farther and farther, increasing your activity level every day.

              Second, eat well. Our bodies need a wide array of nutrients for them to function at their highest potential. Most people would be amazed to find out how much their diets are lacking in key nutrients. While vitamins can help bridge the gaps in our diet, they should never take the place of eating healthy foods. There are no substitutes for eating nutritious whole foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins make up the foundation of a well-balanced diet.

              You don’t have to change everything you are eating immediately. Making small changes over time leads to a higher success rate for long term change. Try changing one meal a day to a healthy, balanced meal. Each week add something else into your meals such as a new fruit or vegetable and slowly change your menu until you have completely overhauled your eating habits. Making the switch cold turkey can be very challenging. Slowly remove the food from your meals that you know are unhealthy and you will notice an improvement in energy, sleep quality, and much more. The biggest take away about food is that healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. Changing your lifestyle to healthy eating will set up your body for a great future. You can still have a special treat, it just needs to be planned for and eaten in moderation.

              Finally, take care of your joints. No matter how far medicine seems to come, no replacement for your joints is as good as the original. Additionally, many joints in our body cannot be replaced such as the joints in our spine. These joints have to last our entire lives. The structure of our spine provides the foundation that the rest of our body needs to function. The better our structure is, the better our function will be.

              This pillar is one of the most overlooked and ignored aspects of health. The problem is that joint dysfunction does not always cause pain. Similar to how a cavity doesn’t hurt when it first begins to form, joint dysfunction can be present for a long time before we start developing symptoms. By the time joint pain shows up, many people already have permanent degenerative changes. Spinal degeneration is possibly one of the most common reasons for decreased motion later in life and therefore diminishes the quality of life. I see these cases come through my doors regularly.

              The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. By identifying joint problems early, many people can slow down degenerative change and prevent many joint problems from arising in the first place. As an upper cervical chiropractor, identifying these structural problems and correcting them is exactly what we do daily. Using X-ray technology, a chiropractor can identify how joints become dysfunctional and determine precisely how to correct these problems. Using safe and gentle corrections, proper joint motion can be restored and structural problems can be alleviated or avoided. Finding joint dysfunction before it causes degenerative pain is essential in ensuring that you can remain mobile and functional throughout your entire life.

              Life is a beautiful thing. From our first breath to our last, every person is making a difference in our world. As we move we impact the lives of others, express our personalities, and add color to the tapestry of our world. By following these three pillars of health, you can ensure that from the beginning of your life until the end, you express as much joy as humanly possible. Keep moving, my friends!

Pull Quote: When it comes to moving, there are three fundamental principles, I call these the three pillars of health: consistent movement, healthy diet, and taking care of your joint.

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