Have you ever noticed that when you don’t move much you can actually feel worse? I’ll give you an example. On Friday we had a deadline at work that I’d been working to for a long time. I was close to having everything finished before the weekend so I knuckled down, got in early, worked through lunch and stayed a little late. In all I tied myself to the desk for the day and barely left it. Sound familiar?
Thankfully this is very rare. Over the years I’ve learnt that if it is a common thing, then it is a sign your team is badly run or that you are a workaholic. Not this time though, I just wanted to get the feature finished in time. Today and yesterday though I can feel the consequences and it reminds me of something not many realise.
Everyday movement is the cornerstone of your health
Yep, simple movements that you take for granted are key to your health. I’m talking about popping to the kitchen for coffee, or getting up from your desk every so often and just getting out of the office even for a minute. Studying sports science I learnt all about the effects of movement delivering fresh nutrients around the body and taking waste products away, though no one ever mentioned its value to you average desk jockey.
I am noticing these effects because not only did I tie myself to the desk on Friday but I had a lazy day with my wife at a local writing retreat we’ve found. That’s two days of hardly moving at all and you know what I really notice about my body, it’s a lot more sore than it should be. Even my head is sore which so rarely happens to me. Granted I did play a tough 3 set match of tennis on Thursday but normally I don’t feel quite like this two days later. Soreness yes but there are all sorts of small things that are not working as they should and this always happens when I get really lazy for a day, let alone two.
That’s not to say I’ll never veg out again, of course I will. But with Christmas, the biggest veg out of the year, just around the corner, it’s worth noting the value of the little forms of daily movement I did not do which would have made me feel better;
- A short walk, leave the office for 5 minutes
- Make a cup of tea or coffee
- loading the dishwasher
- sorting the laundry
- walking the dog
- tidying the house
- water my garden plants
Nope, these are not exciting things but they are necessary and simple if you just do a little bit here and there.
I mention it simply because it is useful to realise that doing simple chores can make you feel better and stronger. Our bodies have evolved to require movement as much as they require food and water, for example;
- walking can pump blood back to the heart and brain while sitting lets it pool in your lower body.
- Active joints get more blood flow bringing fresh nutrients and removing old.
- Half used energy molecules are taken to other parts of the body and recycled.
Each of these processes and many more should happen many times a day but they can’t if you don’t move.
Few people know this and even fewer would tell you, but if you keep listening then I will. The reasons are like gravity, very subtle but on a big scale they are extremely powerful and underpin your health much like gravity holds our planet together.
To give you a glimpse I will let Katy Bowman illustrate some of the benefits you get from simple movements through out the day.