This month we focus on the many great ways we can move our bodies, and why we need to! As we dive into why movement is so critical for wellness, we'll explore different types of movements so that you can choose the ones that work best for you. Let's get moving!
We hear regularly how movement should be a part of our daily experience. And while we may agree, sometimes it can be a challenge to know how to add more movement to our lives. Does movement always need to look like exercise? Which movements are best for us? How much is enough? Fortunately, movement comes in many shapes and sizes, as do we.
Let's take some time to look at what movement does for us, and fun ways we can add more of it to our lives. As always, we enjoy hearing from you! So leave a comment on our Twelve Months to Wellness Facebook page about how you use movement to move your lymph, exercise your muscles, tissues, and organs, and support your mental and emotional lives.
We all know we need to move our bodies more. But when and for how long? Each New Year brings resolutions of more gym time, which we hope will give us better
cardiovascular health, increased stamina, and a smaller waist line. But what if we were selling ourselves short with these goals? What if synaptogenesis, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis all came from exercise? Guess what, they do! With stronger and more plentiful brain synapses, increased blood flow, and more plentiful neurons, healthy aging becomes a natural occurrence. We are meant to walk straight and strong into our later years, not hunched over and tired.
One practitioner we look to for guidance in exercise is Dr. John Bergman, chiropractor, holistic doctor, and researcher. If you've ever read any of Dr. Bergman's writing on Owner's Guide for Humans, you know that he has much to say when it comes to the benefits of exercise - and it often comes with a healthy dose of humor! Dr. Bergman's recommendations are wonderful place to start on your path to adding more exercise to your life. And using one's own body weight to combat sedentarism and get in shape is primary to Dr. Bergman's philosophy. He instructs us how to pace workouts for optimum safety and results, and explains the mechanics of muscle movement. And his teachings attest to the power of simple, everyday movements for wellness and longevity. As Dr. Bergman states,"look for the opportunity to exercise everywhere."
Enjoy this video covering Dr. Bergman's approach to exercise. You'll never look at your fitness options the same again!
We've just looked at a great video with Dr. John Bergman on the importance of exercise for health and longevity. But is our intense hour-long exercise session enough when we spend so much of our time behind a computer, in the car, or on the couch? After viewing Dr. Bergman's video, you know that the answer is "no!" As Katy Bowman, part-time biomechanist and full-time mover states, "most people don't realize their training is being bolstered or surrounded by sedentarism." Though many of us make the time to get to the gym and "work out,"we then take the path of least resistance when it comes to the rest of the day's activities. Whether it's nabbing a closer parking spot at the grocery store, driving when our destination is a short walk away, or opting to take the elevator, convenience often wins. We are purposefully short changing ourselves of movement! How about we move in the opposite direction?
For one, we could simply sit less. You've likely heard that "sitting is the new smoking," and "sitting disease" is notorious for instigating many health woes. Actually, sitting is not the bad guy; rather, it is the amount of sitting that is detrimental to wellness. It's all about frequency of activity. Many note that if you were to stand all day, that would be just as taxing on the body. The key is to change positions regularly. Your new mantra can be "transition your position!" This will look different for each body, but some guidelines might be to set a timer on your phone to get up from your chair and take a walk, do some squatting, or simply stand every hour. Remember not to discount your small, everyday activities - movements as small as brushing your teeth, walking to the next room, getting into your car, and unloading your dishwasher all move specific areas of the body. As both Dr. Bergman and Bowman attest, every movement counts!
We can also opt to take the less convenient route when completing a chore or activity. If you are a person who exercises, simply be mindful of adding more movement to the day, throughout the day. You may find that this can be fun and become a game! With each new movement, you'll know that you're supporting lymph flow and enhancing your circulation. If you aren't a fan of exercise, start small. You can help your whole body by opting out of daily conveniences. You can:
Walk to your co-workers desk, rather than calling.
Take the stairs.
Stretch while watching your favorite television show.
Carry your groceries to the car.
Rake your leaves, rather than use a blower.
Mow your own yard.
Ditch the stroller and carry your young children.
Bike to the store, rather than drive.
Get a cushion and sit on the floor instead of the couch.
Talk on the phone while standing.
Have walking work meetings.
Place and store things in your kitchen up high or down low - both get you stretching.
And adding more FUN movement to your life makes for a liveliness and contentment that pays big dividends. Gardening, dancing, playing with children or grandchildren, walking your dog, birdwatching, hiking, and hula-hooping are a few of our favorites! As Bowman says, "It's move more, and move more of you." What are actions you can swap with convenience to get you moving more?
Pete Egoscue, the creator of the Egoscue Method for pain-free living, offers a simple sequence to help you realign your posture joints and muscles so that they work in
concert with each other. As Egoscue states, "Your pain exists because your body is out of balance. It could be the result of an old injury, hours of sitting behind a desk or the wheel of a car, repetitive use injuries from exercise or work, or simply a postural dysfunction such as scoliosis. All of these can knock your body out of perfect alignment, causing pain, sleeping troubles, and limitations."
The Egoscue Method seeks to put the body back into balance, eliminating the dysfunction causing pain. Using what he calls active alignment, Egoscue teaches what to look for with misaligned feet and femurs, and well as misaligned hips. Enjoy!
The Trager Approach was created and developed by Milton Trager, a physician whose unique work began in his youth and expanded over a lifetime of practice and teaching. Movement, education, and connection to the body are at the heart of the Trager Approach. The mantra of every Trager session goes something like this...
What could be lighter? What could be softer? What will create more ease?
A Trager practitioner will rock, fluff, and elongate the tissue as well as move the joints, which helps the body to soften and let go of stress patterns that may have been in the body for years. The rhythm of the movement allows both mind and body to let go of these old patterns. The amygdala, the part of brain responsible for protection (Fight, Flight, or Freeze) begins to reassure the body. It is safe NOW, at this moment, to let go of old barriers and habits.
The Trager Approach offers so much for wellbeing, not the least being enhanced movement. There is a state of organic, natural movement that we have as children that is sometimes eclipsed through the course of our lives. The Trager Approach guides us back to that natural state. There we move in ease, joy, and freedom and explore sensations of lightness and balance. We also dissolve patterns of tension and pain, and find openness and peace within.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, "[the] Trager Approach is based on the premise that discomfort, pain and reduced function are physical symptoms of accumulated tension that result from accidents, weak posture, fear, emotional blockages and daily stress." Your Trager practitioner focuses on reducing these unnatural patterns of movement by using gentle rocking motions. These rhythmic movements can create a state of deep relaxation, which therapists say can allow the body and mind to achieve a state of balance and integration.
Enjoy this short video and learn more about how Trager can benefit your movement in daily life. And view this video to learn about "Mentastics" (mental + gymnastics), a term created by Milton Trager and his wife referring to movements that bring the lightness of the Trager session into the everyday. As we move, we can learn to engage the mind so that muscles and movements begin respond to one's freer, lighter state of mind. Relax and enjoy!
Trager can assist you on your path towards wholeness, whether you are seeking personal growth, assistance with physical limitations, stress, pain, or a movement disorder. Our in-house Trager practitioner, Tricia Wade LMT, CFMW, is ready to meet you and introduce you to the ease of movement available with the Trager Approach.
Call our office at 972.233.8339 to schedule your session today.
Sam Winters, Wave Therapy: The Power to Heal
A serious subject yet presented with a sense of humor, Sam Winters makes the art of healing simple to understand. Anyone can learn to apply the practical use of a non-touch, laying-on-of-hands method in a manner that's been used for centuries to assist others to heal naturally.
With wonderful illustrations, personal stories, and examples of how to work with nearly twenty common health problems you'll learn to release the waves of healing power that flows naturally through your hands. In this step-by-step guide demonstrating simple non-touch hand positions you will learn how to take a more active role in managing your health through this spiritual-science of energy medicine.
Katy Bowman, Move Your DNA: Restore Your Natural Health Through Movement
Humorous, fascinating, and science based, this layperson-friendly book addresses the vast quantities of disease we are suffering from, identifying our lack of movement as the primary cause. Readers can use the corrective exercises and lifestyle changes Bowman has created to help transition to healthy, naturally moving bodies. Enjoy learning the science behind our need for natural movement, right down to the cellular level. Bowman shows the many problems with using exercise as "movement vitamins," instead of addressing the deeper issue of our poor "movement diet." Best of all, Move Your DNA contains the corrective exercises, habit modifications, and simple lifestyle changes to make in order to slowly mobilize the body, decrease pain, and uncover your naturally healthy, reflex-driven self.
Date-Almond Energy Balls
An organic, whole foods diet is the foundation for wellness and abundant energy. Whether working, exercising, or simply moving through our days, we enjoy snacks such as this one. This recipe is open to interpretation, so you can add your favorite nuts and seeds, as well as fruit. We like energy balls because they offer healthy sugars, good-quality fats, yummy salt, and chewiness when we need a snack. Happy experimenting!
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates (pack tightly)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 tablespoon chia seeds
6 teaspoons water, or as needed
Shredded coconut or hemp seeds for rolling
Add the almonds and cashews to a food processor and process into a coarse crumb. Be sure not to overprocess the nuts into butter.
Add the pitted dates to the nut mixture. Process again until the dates are finely chopped.
Next, add the almond butter, cinnamon, salt, honey, maca powder, chia seeds, and water (starting with a couple teaspoons) to the processor bowl and process again until the mixture comes together into a dough. You should be able to easily roll the dough into balls without them feeling dry or crumbly. If the dough is too dry, add more water one teaspoon at a time and continue processing until the mixture moistens to desired consistency.
Roll the dough into 11 to 12 golf ball-sized balls. Then, roll each ball in the shredded coconut or hemp seeds (or whatever you like!).
To firm, chill the balls in the freezer for one hour. You can store the balls in the fridge in an airtight container for several days, or freeze extras and take them with you when you are on the go.
Adapted from Oh She Glows, http://ohsheglows.com/2018/02/22/triple-almond-energy-balls-vegan-grain-free-naturally-sweetened/