Is movement medicine ??

I see a lot of clients who want to get in shape, feel happier and be healthy. Its the entirety of why we train. Sure, there are short term goals or what I call, “surface goals” along the way but deep down there is a level of maintenance and improvement we are trying to provide our bodies for long term survival, as well as fulfilment.

I guess the thrill we seek when we are hit with a wave of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin flooding our system after a session is pretty appealing too.

But going back to that first point, is why I write this. The single most valuable reason for our purpose in life is to live and experience it. However, in order to do this, we need to LIVE WELL for AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. It will look different for each individual, but fundamentally we are all striving to be :

– disease free

– illness free

– pain / aches / injury free

This is health and its actual definition is: “A state of physical, mental and social well being in which ideas and infirmity are absent”

So much can dictate our level of success in achieving this:

– Sleep

– Nutrition choices

– Body composition

– Genetics

– Environment (including physical & social)

Some that are in our complete control, some of which are inevitably not.

Pain (whether sharp or dull) is a daily occurrence I see many of my clients about. The areas differ from person to person, but the most common experienced are lower back, hips, shoulders, upper back and neck.

Each individual case is going to be very specific, so it would be wrong of me to diagnose or prescribe in any capacity. However, I can speak from my own studies and experience with working with clients

What common trait I have found is not necessarily a postural or position issue, but rather a lack of movement, specifically targeting the joints and challenging the muscles in order for the body to withstand the low and high demands placed upon it on a day to day basis.

For a joint to be healthy it needs to be moved. Now, this doesn’t account for exercise itself per se and the reason I say this is because conventional training nowadays isn’t joint exercise focused, rather muscle focused and typically, linear patterns only, but I digress. Joint focused training is so beneficial as it supports lubrication of joints as the synovial fluid is designed to do. If this doesn’t happen, then the joint becomes stiff and in some cases, overtime, painful. Its why those who are sedentary tend to experience long term, more problematic issues. It’s important to note that practising joint articulation to increase its movement capacity and ability allows for easier, more efficient movement patterns.

The same can be said for the muscles. Muscles are our movement generator and unfortunately muscle wastage, atrophy and even sarcopenia are common symptoms of the naturally ageing process. Even loss of bone density is typically seen and in severe cases, osteoporosis. A decline in muscle mass, as well as bone density contributes to a high risk of harm and injury, think minor trips and falls seen in the elderly population and its apparent as to why.

If true health and preservation of the body is the result you strive for, then training can be a huge part in facilitating this, if done correctly. It’s in my opinion that not all exercise is created equal (fight me on this if you’d like, haha) but there’s a lot of truth in it. Being specific with your training programming and protocols, especially if you are someone who’s sedentary, is the key to improving on your current status of health

Research has proven time and time again that putting the body under external load aids in muscle growth and increased bone density and can be a great tool for the prevention of ageing.

Proprioception is better, all round movement is better, pain, aches and discomfort is usually reduced all down to the body becoming more resilient to the positions and forces you are placing upon it (Its how injury occurs in the first place basically: forces are placed upon it that it hasn’t been prepped to cope with).

Utilising movement, movement patterns and then exploring these using load can really be the best antidote to living a long and fruitful life you deserve to have.

Written by Realfit Coach Lauren

Follow her on Instagram  @_lauren_jay_ and Facebook @laurenmanlow