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Movement is an Expression

MOVEMENT IS AN EXPRESSION

repost from Original Strength 06 Mar 2017 04:00 AM PST

You were made to move. That is now a given. But movement is not just a physical action; it’s not just moving your limbs or moving from one place to the other. Movement is expression. How you move is an expression of how you are.

Your movements paint a picture of you – on the inside. And pictures are worth a thousand words.  When you move you are communicating to others who you are or how you are. Yes, we often use words to tell stories, communicate ideas, to reveal secrets or to hide identities. But when you move you may be telling a different story than your words reveal. When you move, you may be communicating the authentic you.  Fatigue-BODYWISEBodywork

For example, have you ever noticed someone was angry, not by the words they spoke, but by the movements they made? Have you ever noticed someone was sad by how they walked? Have you ever had a friend tell you, “I’m fine,” yet their body was telling you, “I’m upset”? Movements can give a clue to one’s emotions. But they can also give you clues to one’s mental status.

Picture in your mind someone who walks rigidly, with excessive swaying in their spine, and labored breathing; not out of breath, but audible and visually up high in their chest. What mindset do you imagine that person to have? Do you imagine they are generally a positive person or a pessimist? Do you think they have more thoughts of joy or thoughts of gloom? Do you think they are able to mentally dissect and solve problems quickly or do you think issues overwhelm them?

Now, picture in your mind someone who walks gracefully. Their head is held up, they move smoothly, yet with strength. They have “swagger.” What mindset do you imagine this person to have? Do you think them to be a confident person or a fearful person? Do you imagine they celebrate challenges by conquering them or do you imagine they shrink from a fight?

Or, A child who skips and smiles. A child who cannot skip and therefore does not smile. Which child will run after life? Which child will shrink from life?

How you move can reveal who you are, but how you move can also help you become who you were meant to be. Are confident, strong people confident and strong because they choose to be or because they move well? Yes. Do your thoughts and emotions affect how you move or do your movements affect your thoughts and emotions? Yes.

Your mental health will greatly affect your body, but your physical health will greatly affect your soul. They are so intertwined it could be quite difficult to know which one comes first, the chicken or the egg? The body or the mind? Yes.

The point is, your mental health – your MENTAL STRENGTH – is tied to how you move. You were made to move WELL. And, you were made to be happy, confident, of sound mind, passionate, joyful, and expectant. You were made for a successful life.

Just as none of us were created to be physically weak, frail or fragile, none of us were made to be sad, depressed, fearful, apathetic, and hopeless. And because your mind and body are so well connected, restoring your body’s ability to optimally move can and will help restore your mind’s ability to become all you were meant to be and have.

Truly happy and confident people move well. And people who move well are truly more confident and happier than those who don’t move well.

Pressing RESET is more than physical restoration, it is also affects mental restoration, it helps one become.  It helps one express who they are, or who they were meant to be.

So, what is your body telling the world about you? What do you want it to tell the world? Write your story, express yourself. Move well, be well. Be well, move well. Yes.

My Fear Recipe

While out on the lake yesterday, I stepped out of the comfortably sized launch.  That may not seem like much.  But to be clear, we were out on the lake, I was in a boat, AND I GOT OUT OF IT to get into a different boat.

As I’ve mentioned, my greatest fear has everything to do with water – but in this moment of navigating from one boat into another boat and completely surrounded by deep dark water, I was not afraid.

How is this even possible?Boat_bow

Fear is a protective response to a threat or danger – and threatening situations come from life experiences.  We are only born with two fears, I wrote about them in this blog post.  All other fears, whether it be spiders or small spaces,  are learned fears.  Water is not one of the two…

A small part of the brain, the amygdala, captures sensory information and elicits immediate behavioral responses. Interestingly, it is considered the part of our brain directly involved with emotions.  So, fear is an emotional response.

Fear triggers physical reactions that are specific and predictable AND happen before we have fully assessed the source of danger.  This is because the amygdala is part of the limbic system, located in the middle of our brain, and processes environmental input *before* the awareness centers are piqued.  Fears are stored in our memory, having been formed from two vital components:  A deep emotion attached to an experience.

Because the amygdala can be triggered well before our rational mind even has a chance to analyze, we can steer clear of fear inducing situations without us evening knowing or recognizing we have a fear.  This describes my behavior for years and years.  I wouldn’t go into the deep end of pools unless I could touch the sides.  I wouldn’t swim in lakes or oceans past where I could touch the bottom.  I somehow justified that I wasn’t afraid of water because I had no trouble playing with my cousins in the shallow end as a kid or later, playing in the shallows with my own kids.

Our brain has the incredible capacity to hold within it many details of a bad experience.  These impressions serve as the ‘ingredients’ that cooked up to make the bad experience.  If in a later situation, our brain recognizes the ingredients from the bad experience ‘recipe’, the amygdala sounds an alert of the ‘pending doom cake’.

The telltale signs of the recipe for our fear are immediately recognizable:  Our heart begins to beat faster shunting blood to our muscles, we may sweat, our eyes dilate to take in more visual information, and our reflexes become heightened.  This is our brains way of getting our body prepared to take an action dependent on its survival.

Rowing_oct_1The experience of being on a boat rocked by shuffling bodies and lapping waves, wearing a life vest, and surrounded by rowers are not items from the ingredient list for my fear.  This is a different recipe.  A recipe for ‘move your body better cake’.

Taking a float test in deep water, floating on my back, eyes open and looking up *is* on that ingredient list.  My amygdala definitely knows I’m baking ‘pending doom’.

This is a practice in observation.  Investigating the source of my greatest fear, I’ve come to realize:

1  Fear is a normal, natural safety mechanism
2  Fear can completely paralyze both physically and mentally
3  One may never be rid of fear

Yet, fear can be a sort of prime to getting the engine started, to taking forward moving action.  Using it in this way can improve your presentation to that large crowd.  It can get you to make that difficult phone call to your family.  It can get you to sign up for a class requiring a float test.

I’m living my life more fully now that I ever have before.  Understanding my fear has demonstrated where I have fear in other parts of my life.  Identifying how fear shows itself in my thoughts is permitting me to make different choices.  Seeing my fear in an open light, allows me to help my children to handle their own fears.

How will you use your fear?

 

DON’T EXERCISE – Research supported!

man looking down cliffThe ‘Don’t Exercise’ blog has brought up several questions, multiple comments, and even emails questioning it’s validity.  From ‘Do you really believe this?’ to ‘That’s great news!’, from ‘What *should* I do?’ to ‘That’s a relief!’

Nearly all of the people who question the truth of ‘Don’t Exercise’ have one thing in common – they just read the blog title and didn’t read the content of the article.  The title is such a controversy and caused such a fuss that lots of readers unsubscribed from the newsletter, even a chiropractor!

A little while ago, another well known doctor and posture specialist, wrote a note disagreeing with my article about ‘The New Sit’.  Guess what?  He hadn’t read the content either, he just saw the image and figured I had bought in.  It turns out, we actually agree that the New Sit is NOT beneficial.

Where do you stand?   

Having read the title, ‘Don’t Exercise’, would you agree with the statement, or disagree?  Are you someone with an opinion and time to write an inquiry?  Are you someone who looks at the evidence or takes time to read up on the subject?  If you read a subject line that says ‘Don’t Exercise’ wouldn’t you want to know what in the world it was about?

I’m writing about it because it’s in the news and it’s not easy to read everything there is to know about sitting or exercise or health – this is your opportunity to get the low down on what the issues are and decide what to do for yourself.

I’m going to come completely clean here – research has found that SOME exercise is better than NO exercise.

This statement is a lot like saying some eating is better than no eating.  Or some water consumption is better than drinking no water.  If you read the following statement, would you understand what it means?

    ‘Cessation of pulmonary respiration is linked to higher mortality rates.’

Yep, I know that.  You know that.  I think everybody knows that.  Maybe not though.  If you don’t know it’s meaning, don’t sweat it.  There are professionals in the field to help translate the science-ese.  Here it is again:  ‘If you stop breathing, you die.’    

What’s the point, you ask?  It’s about understanding what the research has found about EXERCISE and HEALTH.

The American College of Sports Medicine says that the evidence in support of the beneficial effects from performing exercise outweighs potential risks against exercising (eg cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, joint damage, muscle tears, etc) in most adults.  This is a fact considered indisputable because exercise has been shown to support the following list of changes in sedentary individuals:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves lipoprotein profiles
  • Enhances insulin sensitivity
  • Manages body weight
  • Preserves bone mass in elderly
  • Reduces the risk of falling in aging populations

These are all good changes for people who spend most of their time SITTING.  By today’s standards, most people don’t consider themselves chronic sitters. 

However, Sitting is the new Smoking, remember?  Sitting is a health hazard.  A study from 2012, linked inactivity to over 5 million deaths worldwide every year, which is more than the deaths caused by smoking.  The new study by the Annals of Internal Medicine, found sedentary lifestyles increase the chances of developing conditions that contribute directly to dying prematurely, even for those who do the minimum recommended exercise. 

TVThe average American adult sits 9.3 hours per day not including commute times or meal times.  In addition, most people watch 3-4 hours of TV each day.  Potentially, you could be a 12 hour sitter, Monday through Friday.

Here again is the list of what may develop in the future (or you may have one or more already) that makes sitting such a hazard.  Sitters are still likely to face:

  • Higher risk of developing depression
  • Greater risk of developing cancer – colon, endometrial, and lung
  • Greater risk of developing heart disease
  • Increases the risk of obesity
  • Increases the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes
  • Susceptibility to muscular issues (immobility)
  • Interference of LPL, lipoproteinlipase (fat breakdown for fuel)

As a reminder, this is the same list of problems for both categories of people:  Sitters who Do Exercise as well as Sitters who Don’t Exercise.

EXERCISE in and of itself is not the solution, therefore, Don’t Exercise!  If you only have so much time in a week, why bother stressing about getting in exercise if it doesn’t positively impact your Sitting health anyway?

The takeaway:  Time to make a Plan about your Sitting Habit. 

As a non-exerciser, add the minimum weekly recommendation – 2.5 hours of moderately intense aerobics, OR 1.25 hours of vigorous activity, OR combinations of both types.  This does not include muscle building activity two times weekly.

What will you do?  How will you do it?  When and How often should you do it?

If you don’t know, I can help with creating that plan – it’s my specialty.  Contact me at dawn@bodywisebodywork.com.

As a current exerciser, here is a very important reality check:  The minimum recommendations of exercise do not counteract diminished health from prolonged sitting.

Let me prove it to you with this simple test!  Stretch your calves for 30-60 seconds each side – I recommend a piece half-foam for consistency and portability.  Sit for the average amount of time you spend in that position.  For me, it’s about 70-90 minutes at a time.  Re-check your calves by stretching them again.  Hopefully, you’re convinced… Please send me feedback on what you experienced!  Calf_stretch

Here’s another reality check:  The body you take exercising, is the same body you use for sitting.  If you do more sitting than exercising, you strengthen ‘sitting’ body patterns.  The test is the same!  If your calves stretch-ability changes while you’re sitting, that’s the movement availability in your calves during exercise.

What will you do to transform to a non-sitting body pattern?  How will you do it?  When and How often should integrate the tools?

If you don’t know, I can help with creating that plan, too – it’s exactly my specialty.  Contact me at dawn@bodywisebodywork.com.

Til then, Happy Sitting!

People Sit

IMG_1567There is no denying it – we live in a ‘sitting’ society. With so many chair styles, from straight backed to saddle to ergonomic, it’s hard to choose the one that’s best for you. Do you need lumbar support or mid-spine support? Is your neck bothering you or do your feet dangle?

So many different chairs to to sit in, yet each body can illustrate poor posture in any number of combinations.  Most notably, the forward head position in relation to the spine and ribs is cause for concern whether the chair is hardback or ergonomic.

What you don’t know *can* hurt you. No matter what type of chair you choose to sit in your muscle strength (or weakness) ultimately dictates your body alignment. And it’s your alignment, not the chair, that determines symptoms:  Whether you feel ease or pain, both are ‘posture’ based.

Discover your sitting patterns. Learn how to sit better and what constitutes a good sit (versus a bad sit) in the 21 Day Static Movement Event beginning January 6.

“But let us sit and be merry.”
The Country Wife, 1675 William Wycherley

BODYWISE’s Corrective Alignment and Integration Therapy (CaIT) is body mechanics and physical engineering rolled into one beautiful package to better your life.

Don’t let your body decline, and don’t blame it on ‘aging’ – our bodies were meant to move well our entire lives! If you’re not convinced, take advantage of  6 Days of Merry to Move You, go to www.bodywisebodywork.com/merry to see the Day 6 offer.