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The Importance of Movement for Life

20 Mar The Importance of Movement for Life

This blog was written by Sinéad Delahunty, a Chartered Physiotherapist who will be at Fit Fix 2019.

Movement is an integral part of every function and process within our bodies! Strength and endurance is not just affected by movement but also our thought processes, emotions, understanding and decision making.

Born to move

Our bodies are designed to move, not just in a straight line but in all directions. Bending, twisting, rolling, crawling, jumping, carrying and reaching are all natural movements that our bodies are designed to do. These movements are all safe but are often not completed on a regular basis.

Use it or lose it

An issue I encounter daily working on hospital wards as a Chartered Physiotherapist is the result of the “use it or lose it” phenomenon. Reduced movement will result in your muscles reducing in strength, size and function within 24 hours. Natural movement allows babies and children to develop initial bone strength and muscle whilst maintaining and improving function from adolescence onwards.

What movement helps with

  • Boost your mood
  • Improve your sleep
  • Sharpen your focus
  • Reduce your stress
  • Build relationships with others
  • Interact with the world

Some movement is better than no movement

As little as ten continuous minutes of movement can benefit your health. Start small and over time your minutes of movement will build up.

What does movement tell our bodies to do?

  • To retrieve stored energy (e.g. fat or glucose) and use it
  • To store any extra energy in muscles, or use it for repair, rather than storing it as fat
  • To strengthen tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones
  • To clear out accumulated waste products.

Move more and sit less

Sitting has become an integral part of many of our daily lives. Evidence shows that increased sedentary behaviour increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and all-cause mortality. The simply message is to “move more and sit less”. Build more movement into your daily routine by:

  • Getting off a stop early on your commute and walk the remaining distance
  • Taking the stairs instead of using the lift
  • Parking your car a short distance away from your destination and walk
  • Taking standing rests from your desk
  • Playing with your kids or pet
  • Having a walking meeting
  • Walking or cycling instead of driving
  • Getting up and moving every hour

Move your weight

Weight-bearing movement is very important for bone health. In children, weight-bearing develops and promotes bone strength; in adults it maintains bone strength and in older adults it reduces the risk of bone loss. Walking, running, jumping and dancing are all great weight-bearing movements.

What do the guidelines recommend?

The World Health Organisation recommends that:

  • Children – complete 1 hour of daily moderate-vigorous intensity movement and complete muscle-strengthening, flexibility and bone-strengthening movements 3 times a week.
  • Adults – complete 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening movements at least 2 days each week.

Moderate Intensity = If you’re breathing hard but can still have a conversation easily.

Vigorous Intensity = If you can only say a few words before you have to take a breath.

Long-term movement benefits

Movement has long-term health benefits for all, regardless of age, gender, disease or disability.

On top of increasing and maintaining our muscular strength, physical fitness and cardiovascular health.

  • In children, movement improves bone health, weight status and cognitive function.
  • For adults, movement reduces mortality from all causes, reduces cognitive decline, improves sleep, reduces anxiety and depression in both healthy and those dealing with psychology syndromes, regulates blood sugar, helps maintain a healthy weight and can help decrease pain.
  • Amongst older adults, movement reduces the incidence of falls and decreases the risk of frailty.

Find your move

What movement would you like to learn? What movement goal would you like to reach? A goal is a great incentive, get your friends, family and colleagues involved. Working together to reach an achievable movement goal is great fun.

The big question is how are you going to move more today? Remember there is a movement out there for everyone, keep trying until you find your move!

The more you move, the more your body will allow you to move!!

About Sinéad Delahunty

Sinéad Delahunty is a Chartered Physiotherapist based in a busy Dublin hospital. When not treating patients, Sinéad is generally found creating new recipes for her food blog Delalicious or playing gaelic football with her club Foxrock-Cabinteely.

Chartered Physiotherapists are highly skilled in developing movement programmes to suit your specific needs.

Your Chartered Physiotherapist can help you:

  • Choose the right movement to suit your needs;
  • Prescribe movements to strengthen your weak areas;
  • Plan your movement routine.

If you have any injury concerns consult your Chartered Physiotherapist. The sooner you get your injury checked out, the sooner you will be able to return to your favourite movement. Remember, to find you local Chartered Physiotherapist on www.iscp.ie.

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