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Inactivity Leads to Aging

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water-aerobicsThe human body is designed to move. The technological age of labor-saving devices and sedentary living often detracts from the biological necessity for movement.  Disuse is deadly; many degenerative diseases plaguing Americans have a portion of their roots in sedentary, inactive lifestyles. As much as 50 percent of the decline in physiological functioning–weak muscles, stiff joints, low energy levels–is actually due to disuse and not a normal consequence of age.  In fact, according to C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the U.S., “More people die of a sedentary lifestyle than from smoking.”

Without movement you could not sustain life:  blood cells that don’t move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don’t move can’t breathe, hearts that don’t move can’t pump blood, and spines that don’t move can’t create the motion required for proper joint nutrition, for the activities of daily living, or for the stimulation of the joint-brain pathways required for proper brain and body function.

Spinal movement stimulates brain function in the same way that a windmill generates electricity for a power plant. Half of all the nerve impulses that are sent between your brain and body in your spinal cord are for the delivery of movement stimulation to the brain.  This enables the brain to coordinate activities such as concentration and learning, emotions, motor control, and organ function.  Movement charges your brain’s battery and makes you able to think better, feel better, and function better, all of which are essential to health and longevity.

Proprioception is the term used to describe the ability to sense the position, location, orientation and movement of the body and its parts, all which are important to movement and brain function.   Spinal proprioception plays a critical role in modulating protective muscular reflexes that prevent injury or facilitate healing.  The joints of the body act as sensory chambers, which relay proprioceptive information between specific neural pathways and the central nervous system (CNS).  Physical trauma to these joints leads to diminished proprioception and increased pain sensation.  This predisposes the joints to further injury and accelerates the degenerative aging process.

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