• Elias Limberopoulos

11 Reasons Why Moving Your Body is Essential and How Rolfing® Can Help

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

Movement is important for every aspect of our health and well-being. It's linked to every process and function in our body. There's that old saying, "If you're not moving, you're dying." That's because our body is based on the thought "If you don't use it, you lose." If we want to build our body's strength, endurance and mobility in a joint or muscle, we need to use it. When we lack movement, our body begin to lose it's function and our movement becomes stiff, heavy, weak and possibly painful and uncomfortable.

Blood, nutrients, oxygen and cellular energy depends on external movement. It is important for moving lymph throughout the body and returning blood from our extremities. It directly impacts our cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and hormonal functions.

Here are 11 Reason Why Movement is Essential to Your Well-Being

  1. Energy: Sedentary people who begin exercising even with simple activities like walking report more energy and less fatigue. When someone finds it difficult to get up in the morning, it can be directly linked to a lack of activity. As someone becomes active regularly, they have more of the get up and go kind of energy when they wake up.

  2. Strength: A persons strength can improve as you actively engage a certain muscle or group of muscles. An increase in strength would be defined as being able to hold and endure an increased load on a muscle or group of muscles. Calisthenics, weight training, Pilates, yoga and many other forms of movement are excellent. It's important to find the activity you enjoy most to begin building the strength you desire.

  3. Sleep: People who exercise regularly often report lower levels of fatigue and sleeplessness and fall and stay asleep more easily and soundly than those who are sedentary. Sleep quality is most important if we wish to be at our best and healthiest. Researchers agree that this is the most important aspect to our well-being. Sleep allows us to heal, it helps us process our day, reduces the risk of degenerative diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and auto-immune disorders. Let's stack the odds of being healthy in our favor by getting more sleep.

  4. Healthy Mood and Stress Reduction: Both aerobic and anaerobic training have been shown to improve mood and decrease stress. The body's feel good hormones referred to as endorphins are released during activity providing us with an overall sense of well-being. Movement helps us to focus on what we're doing at the moment. It gives us some space away from the stressful events in our lives and for many people, it offers a new insight or perspective on a particular situation. There are more than enough studies proving that movement decreases anxiety, depression and improves self-esteem. Dance and Tai-Chi are other forms of movement which takes us out of our minds and into our bodies. Try them out in addition to the other suggestions above.

  5. Healthy Weight: Bodyweight is a balance between calories consumed versus calories burned. Movement and exercise increases calorie expenditure to balance the calories. Each person has a BMR or basal metabolic rate which is the amount of calories the body burns in a day for basic physiologic functioning. With resistance training there is an increase in lean tissue and muscle mass causing an increase in BMR forcing the body to burn more calories at rest. The adaptation to resistance training is essential for weight maintenance and also essential to combat the typical decrease in BMR following weight loss.

  6. Disease Prevention: Internal and external movement in the body is essential to keep the body working optimally and prevent disease. Most disease, in any system can be decreased or prevented with regular movement.

  7. Cardiovascular Health: The heart is responsible for pumping blood and oxygen to every organ and cell of the body. Engaging in activities or exercise that increases heart rate strengthens the heart and makes it more efficient.

  8. Bone density: Resistance training and weight bearing movement, such as jogging or walking stimulate bone formation and decrease the risk of osteoperosis. Osteoblasts, the bone building cells, are stimulated when we engage in exercises and activities that put stress on our bones. This beneficial stress causes the bones to adapt and thus maintain or increase bone density. In order to prevent the age related changes in bone density, it is important to engage in regular movement that puts a beneficial stress on the bones. Resistance training and weight bearing movement, such as jogging or walking stimulate bone formation and decrease the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoblasts, the bone building cells, are stimulated when we engage in exercises and activities that put stress on our bones. This beneficial stress causes the bones to adapt and thus maintain or increase bone density. In order to prevent the age related changes in bone density, it is important to engage in regular movement that puts a beneficial stress on the bones.

  9. Digestion: Although digestion is improved by regular movement, also while at rest, the body is in a parasympathetic state which allows the body to ‘rest and digest’. When beginning to move or exercise the body shifts to a sympathetic state allowing one to ‘fight or flight’. When the body shifts from a parasympathetic state to a sympathetic state blood flow is shunted away from the digestive organs to the exercising muscles. This shift in blood flow causes food in the digestive tract to move quicker and thus has a quicker transit time through the intestines. Less water is absorbed and food moves faster improving sluggish digestion in individuals who suffer from constipation. Daily movement is a key component to digestive health.

  10. Immune function: Movement can have a beneficial effect on immune function. Frequent tai chi has been shown to increase T-lymphocyte count in the body. Moderate intensity exercise has revealed beneficial effects on leukocyte or white blood cell concentration in the blood following exercise, as well as, an increase in neutrophil, a form of white blood cell that is often the body’s first response to an infection. Lymphocyte levels also increased during exercise.An increase in immune response with exercise seems to be limited by intensity and duration. Intense training can prove to hinder the immune system. Rigorous or prolonged training can induce immunodeficiencies in some athletes resulting in increased infections. When it comes to exercise and the immune system, moderation is the key.

  11. Prevention of chronic disease: In adults, resistance training has been shown to decrease the rate, incidence and assist in the treatment of certain chronic diseases. Researchers have found a reduction in the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, diabetes, improved management of cancer, neuromuscular disorders, HIV and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) with regular resistance training. Exercise is an essential part of optimizing health and warding off chronic diseases associated with lack of physical activity.

How Rolfing Can Help

People come to Rolfing for a variety of reasons. Generally, they experience some type of discomfort in their body. They could have difficulty sitting, standing, walking, driving, lifting, bending, climbing stairs, sleeping or doing household chores. They may have a painful condition such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, scoliosis, hip pain, back pain, arthritis, headaches or TMJ. They may have been told the pain is all in their head. Maybe, they haven't been the same since they had their slip, fall, car accident or broken bone. All of these are unfortunate circumstances and many people want to exercise and get moving but they just can't get past the symptoms and conditions they're experiencing. Rolfing to the rescue!

Rolfing addresses the body's internal system of flexible support (connective tissue) otherwise know as fascia. When we're sedentary, experience physical trauma, perform repetitive movements or experience emotional stress, fascia contracts, dries out and secretes a glue-like substance causing us to feel stiff and less mobile. The issues are not only in our tissues, but they are also memorized in our nervous system. Rolfing addresses both. Through manual therapy and movement re-education, Rolfing frees up the connective tissue throughout different parts of the body until the entire body is a smoothly functioning coordinated whole. Tissue becomes rehydrated, adhesions in the connective tissue break up, range of motion improves and new movement patterns are established. The freedom in one's body returns, it becomes a thing of the past for many and they can move in ways they don't remember ever being able to move. This is typically done in a series of sessions known as the Ten Series. That's ten, 90 minutes sessions with specific structural and functional goals designed to balance the body. It's comprehensive and transformational for many. Safe, drug-free, non-invasive and consistently effective in producing change. In as little as the first session, many clients are able to get back to some of the things they enjoyed. When you get to the 3rd and 5th sessions, you are track for things to continue to get better. Everyone responds at a different pace but one thing is for sure, your body can change a any age. I've seen it, I have helped to facilitate it and I will continue to offer this amazing work.

I'm here to help if you have any questions. You can find me at one of several locations in the Chicagoland area. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

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Rolfing®, Rolfer™, Rolf Movement® and the Little Boy Logo are service marks of  the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute™ (formerly known as The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration®), in Boulder, CO.

© 2021 by Elias Limberopoulos, Certified Rolfer