MOVEMENT & FUN
Moving and being moved
The body needs exercise to stay healthy. It is not only about keeping muscles and bones fit, but much more. Our mental and cognitive functions depend on movement. In other words:
Sitting kills, movement heals.
There are other ways to move than to get up and run.
Singing is an excellent workout for the lungs, abdominal muscles, intercostal muscles (part of the respiratory muscles), and diaphragm. It improves blood circulation enormously. An effect that you notice almost straight away. When we sing, we breathe much better than we do in some other sports exercises. More oxygen gets into our lungs. Besides, it relaxes the muscles. Try it out: You can't sing and be tense at the same time.
Singing also has another level: Singing lifts the mood, our blues are wiped away because pain-inhibiting endorphins are released. You could say that singing is an antidepressant without side effects. It is also a super anti-aging method because it improves the facial muscles. And you don't have to spend money on it - just take a shower, sing in the car or join a choir.
Finally a little trick - it works! If you have a problem, pick a familiar song and, instead of the normal lyrics, sing your concerns and worries to the melody. You will be less afraid afterward, because amongst other things you will feel a bit silly. The dimension of the problem becomes smaller. When I drive home from a difficult appointment, I sometimes sing in the car, my voice gets hoarse, but I notice how fears and tension are released.
The bottom line is if exercise isn't fun, then we won´t do it.
Of course, this does not only apply to us.
How about dancing? We all like to dance alone, don't we? You can also move to music while sitting - ever tried it in the car? Dancing is definitely inclusive. Everyone can do it somehow. Two left feet are no problem. "But, But..." I can already hear: not only do we have to overcome the hurdle of not being able to do a sport because of the pain, but we also like to deny ourselves the ability to do it. We are embarrassed.
There is a dancer in all of us. It doesn't matter if it's very small movements to music sitting on the pezzi ball or bigger ones. It's not about standard dances, we don't want to apply for "Let's Dance". Just turn on the music and see what happens. It's even better for the brain to improvise all the time than to dance to fixed steps all the time.
Dancing is a good cardio exercise - good for the heart. Dancing helps us to keep our balance better. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine says that dancing reduces the risk of dementia by 76%. So it is much better than cycling and swimming in that respect. And dancing is also inexpensive because you don't need costly equipment.
Watch the video. Dancing can have astounding effects. We are seeing Parkinson patients here, but the approach also fits for other diseases like ours.
Something I have wanted to try for a long time is Qigong. It's part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, so it may not be everybody's cup of tea.
The aim is to maintain health, relax, and prevent further diseases by restoring the harmonious flow of energy in the body. In addition, over time, the exercises lead to better concentration, better balance, both internally and externally, and better self-awareness. Outside the pain.
You don't have to be athletically trained to do the exercises. You perform slow, fluid movements, almost like in slow motion. They are suitable to supplement therapies for back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, and pain in general to mention a few.
There are over 3000 types of Qigong. One type is called Zhineng Qigong, which is based on medical knowledge and scientific findings. Dr. Pang developed this form in the early 80s. He is also a doctor of Western medicine.
Zhi = knowledge, wisdom, Neng = ability, Qi = life energy, Gong = practice, skill
This form of Qigong is described as "open" because it regards the energy inside and outside of the body. It forms relationships between inside and outside. It is about bringing the body, mind, and soul into harmony. Try shouting "I'm great!" with your shoulders hanging down and your body bent over. The other way round - try to say in an upright posture, in a position where you feel comfortable and grounded: "I'm worthless, good for nothing. Notice how your physical posture and mental state don't match up? I tried this at a conference with many others. The feelings that came up were astounding.
Before you try Qigong, you should talk to the doctor about your intentions. You can learn more about it here: https://qigongtrust.org.nz/about-zhineng-qigong/
"The doctor of the future will no longer administer medicine, but rather instruct his or her patients to take care of the body, to eat a healthy diet, and to cause and prevent disease."
Thomas Edison, 1902
Feeling grounded leads me to the next topic. Above it is about 3 special forms of movement. This is also not about the well-known mantra "do more exercise!", but about everyday movements that we should not rather refrain from. Dr Joan Vernikos tells us why we should move. Her findings come partly from space research. What does the Earth's gravity have to do with our health? The video is in English, but Dr Vernikos speaks slowly. There are subtitles (although the playback is sometimes peculiar.) The video is quite a bit longer. It's worth persevering. You are guaranteed to learn something you didn't know before. Again, you don't need expensive fitness equipment. Not everyone can do all the everyday movements, but you can certainly find a few.
While watching the video, I felt motivated to interrupt and try some stretching exercises again. (To be honest, I haven't done that for a long time). I have to get up a lot anyway. I hope you are also motivated to get moving, in whatever way.
Find the droplet of oil
Do you sometimes feel like the Tin Man from The Wizard of OZ when you wake up in the morning? If it only took a drop of oil to enable mobility, that would be wonderful.
Sometimes you think "I can´t move today". But when we stop moving we lose so much more than mobility. There´s always a way. Figure it out!
The first step towards getting somewhere, is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are".