Moving the Right Way
Its official- the silly season is here! Personally I can’t wait! There is always something special about Christmas and this year is no exception. In continuing on with the theme of the 5 spokes of health, this month I have chosen to avoid the typical holiday trend and write about diet and all that we should not do. Instead, I wanted to discuss something that we all should do! In fact it is one of our key genetic requirements. We should all be moving!!! Think back, not just to our ancestors but to our early years. It doesn’t matter how you look at it but your body has always been designed to move!
There are 24 interlocking vertebrae throughout your spine that not only attach to each other, but they also serve as the attachment point for the hips, legs, ribs, shoulder blades, arms and most importantly your head. This whole complex is then supported by a vast network of muscles that are designed to hold us upright. First, getting these muscles firing and keeping these joints moving allowed us as a species to evolve from our tree dwelling ancestors. Second, it is the activation and movement of these same muscles and joints that has the biggest input on our development as a child.
In our ancestral evolution our biggest development in brain function and likewise the biggest growth of our brain occurred when we became upright. As a child, tummy time, crawling and learning to walk happen to coincide with the biggest periods of brain growth and development. The similarity that is happening here is that in both instances we are using our extensor muscles. Meaning that our quads, gluts, back and neck muscles, as well as our triceps, are all switching on.
Think about it, what posture do you see in a new born baby- generally the fetal position right? In this position there isn’t much brain activity happening. As they grow, the muscles on their back start to switch on and as a result their posture becomes more upright. It is the switching on of these muscles that is responsible for the greatest amount of activation of the brain (specifically the cerebellum). Getting the brain switched on is one of the big reasons why it is important to move (especially if you can do it in an upright position). This upright movement stimulates all sorts of activity in the brain including: improving balance & coordination, enhancing memory and helping to clear “brain fog.”
So when it comes down to movement and how should you move the answer is really simple…. it doesn’t really matter as long as you do move! Ideally yes, movement would occur in an upright position where you can stand tall, stick your chest out and use left and right sides of your body. This would absolutely maximise the muscle activity responsible for getting the brain firing. Even simply though over the Christmas period this year, try to get up out of that chair as often as possible, roll your shoulders back and reach for the sky. If you are stuck in the car, reach up behind the head rest and stretch towards the roof. Even if you don’t want to do this for your posture or your muscles, you can still do this for your brain!! Your whole body will appreciate it!!!
As always there is a recipe attached. The November colouring-in competition has been extended to the end of December to allow for more kids to get their pages in. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we have attached a bonus recipe. Who knows, one of the recipes may be available to be sampled at Transitions Chiropractic…
Happy holidays and just one final note: Merissa & I wish you both a great time ahead with family & loved ones & enjoy the fun festive season!!!
M. Chiropract, B. Chiro Sci