The most natural thing to do when we feel stiff and sore is to stay still. For me, that once meant being horizontal, on a couch, with a remote control in my hand and screen in front of me. Moving is painful. Lying around is easy and inviting to do, so it must be the best thing for us. It seems that way. The truth is that movement is often better than being idle. The trick is knowing what to do when.
The general rule is that any pain caused by trauma (falls, twists, bumps) needs to be rested. However, too much rest can result in stiffness, and overall body soreness. It is a balancing act. Over the years we have seen a real change in recommendations for the healing process. Even people having extensive surgeries are encouraged to get moving as quickly as possibly. Granted, many surgeries are not as invasive as they once were so that makes it easier to get up and at it. Recently a friend of mine had her knee replaced and she left the hospital the same day. It’s unbelievable.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again (and again and again): The body is amazing. It’s a machine that needs to keep moving. Like a car that isn’t driven for long periods of time, our bodies seize up when not used. The heart is a muscle. If it’s not exercised it will not pump effectively. That means that oxygen and nutrients will be slow to get to the cells that make up everything (skin, muscles, bones, organs, etc.) and the waste generated will not be eliminated as quickly as it should. I believe that good health begins with a strong heart. We can’t exercise the heart without the rest of the body participating. That’s a winning equation.
The other wonderful thing that happens when we move is that the productive power of Synovial fluid is increased. We have Synovial fluid in every joint. Even in our feet! It’s a thick liquid that lubricates, and that works in conjunction with cartilage (smooth tissues) to cushion our joints. As we age cartilage naturally breaks down, and Synovial fluid loses it’s effectiveness. Inactivity accelerates the process. Diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis arthritis can result with this change in our joints. The good news is that motion is lotion. The best way to care for our joints is to keep muscles, ligaments, and bones both strong and stable.
Move as much as you as you can! Set a timer if you need to get you up from the couch or the desk. If you are inactive now start with low impact movements. Walking is good. Riding a bike or swimming are wonderful activities that get your heart beating but won’t be hard on the joints. Regardless, bring more movement into your life. Even making two trips to fridge is better than one.
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