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Importance of Movement

Why is it important to keep our bodies moving? Learn the health benefits of staying active.

How important is movement to maintain a healthy body? Our bodies were made to move often, sometimes even across long distances. A sedentary lifestyle can severely harm the body and limit its function. The perpetual movement of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones in the body help other systems in the body function better and more efficiently through movement.

  • Cardiovascular health: the cardiovascular system is very reliant on movement to help the blood move more efficiently throughout the entire body. The arteries, veins and capillaries need the movement of muscles and joints to aid the heart in transporting the blood to the body and then back to the heart. Movement also helps strengthen the heart, by causing the heart to beat faster and with the proper rhythm. Finally, movement helps oxygen to reach the muscles and organs in order for them to be able to function better for higher intensity operation.

  • Respiratory health: the respiratory system, which includes the right and left lungs. The lungs are composed of the bronchi, bronchioles and the alveoli. When the body moves, the lungs are given more room to expand. This causes more oxygen to be inhaled in and carbon dioxide exhaled out. The inflation of the lungs also helps keep the outer lining of the lungs healthy and flexible. Exercise increases the respiratory rate so not only do the lungs expand more, but the number of breaths per minute also increases. This also allows the lungs to remove any contaminants that may have been breathed in.

  • Digestive health: the digestive system has visceral muscle to move the food you eat along the digestive tract. The digestive tract also relies on the body’s movement to aid in more efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. The digestive system has a very sensitive ecosystem and flora. The longer the food sits in the gut the more likely that the food will not be absorbed efficiently and the greater the likelihood of bloating and intestinal inflammation. The body’s movement improves peristalsis (movement of food through the alimentary canal).

  • Neurological health: The body has many neurological receptors called mechanoreceptors. These receptors provide the brain with important information about pressure, motion, and tissue stretching. This allows the brain to receive feedback and (based on this information) control how the muscles function and how efficient each muscle contraction is. Every time the body moves, the brain is stimulated and coordinates the movement. Regular activity stimulates the brain, improves the brain's function, and reduces the chance of developing dementia as a person ages.

  • Immunological health: It is well known that the body’s immune function is improved with exercise and movement of the body. Sedentary individuals are more prone to infections and also heal slower when injured. The normal movements of the body such as getting out of bed, walking, housework, gardening, fixing dinner and exercise greatly improve the immune system. Regular exercise improves movement of immune system cells within the body.

  • Emotional health: Emotional health is becoming recognized as one of the most important parts of a person’s overall health. It is well known that daily activities such as a rewarding occupation, hobbies, family gatherings and exercise aid in emotional health. All these things require movement and can also be greatly enjoyable. The production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine from having positive emotional experiences can enhance overall wellbeing.

  • Hormonal health: Many bodily functions are controlled by hormones. Activities that help with emotional health also aid in hormonal health. Endocrine glands produce hormones (such as melatonin, glucagon, progesterone, and thyroid hormones) much more efficiently when stimulated by bodily movement along with a healthy lifestyle. Healthy body activity provides stimulation that regulates hormone secretion.

  • Skin health: The skin is the largest organ of the body. Sensors within the skin must be able to sense stretching, retraction, pressure, pain and temperature change. The brain requires the feedback from skin receptors to determine the outside environment of the body. The skin will deteriorate if not engaged in movement to remain elastic and healthy. Unless the body moves, the skin will break down, forming painful pressure sores (also called decubitus ulcers). The skin is the first line of defense of the immune system. It must remain intact in order to protect the body from harmful pathogens.

  • Excretory health: The kidneys and urinary bladder make up the excretory system. They are very important because they filter waste (impurities and harmful toxins) from the blood and expel it from the body. Movement is critical for excretory health as the kidney also regulates blood pressure. The urinary bladder is a muscular organ that can be strengthened by movement. A sedentary lifestyle is a contributor to bladder issues. Therefore with adequate bodily movement the kidneys and bladder can perform at a high level.

  • Lymphatic health: The lymphatic system works with the immune system and is the sister system of the circulatory system. The lymphatic system accumulates excess fluid from the blood and carries antibodies throughout the body. The lymphatic system is totally reliant on blood flow and body movement to send lymph throughout the body and back to the heart. Bodily movement is essential in the healthy function of this system. Increasing the heart rate through healthy exercise improves the function of the lymphatic system.

As we have seen in the previous bodily systems, movement is very important to how well these organ systems function. It is important to keep the body healthy by regularly participating in enjoyable activities that keep the body moving.

This is where chiropractic can help. It is hard keep moving if your joints ache and your muscles hurt. Keep moving longer without pain and discomfort by getting regular chiropractic adjustments. These adjustments in the spine, legs, arms, hips, ribs and shoulders will keep joints in the proper alignment. Activities are much more enjoyable when the entire body is in the correct alignment. Your chiropractor can set up a maintenance schedule for your body to move efficiently and without pain and soreness. This will keep you moving in right direction.

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