Motion is Lotion - The benefits of movement and exercise

By Chan Yin Keen, DC | B.HSci (Chiro), M.Clin.Chiro | One Spine Chiropractic
 

A joint is the connection made between two bones in a body, allowing for articulation and movement. Depending on the type of joint, they offer differing levels of movement. Your joints are made for movement. Movement is what keeps your synovial fluid (or gel as some of us like to call it) in your joints moving and transporting nutrients to your joint cartilage to keep it healthy. Motion is lotion, movement is medicine, as they say.

 

One of the key things I like to encourage in my patients is exercise to deal with their pain and discomfort. Whether it is for rehabilitation purposes or for prevention of pain, a modicum of exercise or activity will help. Our bodies are made to move. If we are living a sedentary lifestyle, we find ourselves experiencing stiffness, tightness or difficulty just doing even simple daily tasks. Exercising, being active, stretching our joints will contribute to staying supple, mobile and and able to go about our day without feeling as stiff as a log.

So what exactly are the benefits of exercise and movement?

 

#1 Increases muscle strength and flexibility

This is fairly obvious. Keep doing bicep curls and we get a stronger bicep. The knock on effect of that is your elbow joint will stay mobile and have full range of motion. Similarly, working on the muscles around our knees will help with knee pain by virtue of strengthening the structures around it and helping support the knee joint. When we look at back pain, we must view the trunk as a whole. Weakness in the back muscles will cause our body to rely on other structures like ligaments and your core to help support your weight. Thus in most cases, back exercises supplemented with core muscle exercises will produce a trunk that is strong enough to support your weight and in turn, have less pain.

#2 Helps with weight control

Exercise is known to help with weight control, whether it is a weight gain or weight loss goal that we are trying to achieve. The increase in activity ensures the body burns more calories than if it were just sitting down all day. Depending on the intensity of the activity we do, we also get the added “afterburn” effect or EPOC, where the body continues to burn calories at a higher rate after the exercise is over while it replenishes its oxygen stores and repairs muscle.

 

#3 Prevents obesity (and other associated diseases)

So we are now burning calories at a higher rate than before. The increased calorie use plays a part in ensuring we don’t have a spiralling increase in weight, and the exercise we are doing to keep it up keeps us off the couch and being a potato. Being overweight or obese is linked to other ailments such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, thus staying active will help reduce their risk too. In fact with cardiovascular disease being the leading cause of death in Malaysia, exercise should be imperative as it helps take reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in body. Shedding weight and preventing obesity will reduce pressure on our knees and joints which brings us to our next point.

#4 Improves joint and bone health

As mentioned earlier, movement helps churn synovial fluid through the joint and brings much needed nutrients to the cartilage, keeping it healthy. Exercise has been shown to increase production of synovial fluid, keeping your joint “well-oiled”. This in turn helps prevent the scenario where the space in your joint decreases and you get this feeling that your bones are rubbing against each other. Studies have also shown that regular exercise can help increase bone density and strength, reducing the risk of falls in the osteoporotic and elderly. Exercise is also noted in helping people with osteoarthritis cope with their pain and discomfort, allowing them to go about their activities of daily living with less disability.

#5 Improves mental health

A good workout can be both physically and mentally good for you. A good run can clear our minds of clutter and stress. Focusing our mind while trying to lift a heavy weight in the gym blocks out space for any negative thoughts and feelings. It also helps that exercise causes your body to release endorphins, which help reduce the feeling of pain and also triggers a feeling of euphoria in us. Runners will tell you about “runner’s high”, a euphoric feeling with decreased sensation to pain after particularly strenuous runs. Exercise is known to help with some forms of anxiety and depression, as well as reduce mental stress.

#6 Helps speed recovery from injury

For most people, the moment they get an injury, they stop being active. There is the urge to just rest and avoid doing any exercise that may aggravate. Yet research shows the faster an athlete re-enters training and play, the better their outcomes. Rehabilitation exercise after an injury can help bring us out of an injury faster than just resting and waiting for it to heal. With the right amount of work it can even take us from just recovered to better than before.

 

So with all these benefits, it is clear how important exercise is for the body. For as little as half an hour of your day, you can really kick-start a wide ranging change in your physical and mental health. Staying active can help prevent pain and stiffness. Done correctly, it can even help speed up injury recovery. If you want to learn more about managing your health with exercise, seek appropriate guidance from a PT, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor.

One Spine Chiropractic offers chiropractic solutions for people with musculoskeletal problems. For more information, please contact One Spine Chiropractic at 0 13-810 0373. Find them at D27, 3rd Floor, Center Point Sabah, Jalan Centre Point, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. 

 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. At Parents Avenue, we strongly recommend all our readers to seek medical advise from your local hospital or clinic. Thank you. 

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