Movement – an essential feature of health & wellbeing
For years, I went to see traditional doctors and therapists to alleviate my back pain. But I was not getting better and for years, the pain stayed with me. Until I discovered the power of movement.
It took me a long time of trials and experimentation, but I discovered that by implementing a daily routine of exercises, stretching, movements and breathing, I could reduce my pain considerably. In addition, I paid attention to my nutrition, which helped me keep an optimal weight and therefore not put added pressure on my body.
I hope that this brief personal factsheet shortens your own journey towards minimising your pain and optimising your wellbeing and encourage you to explore other avenues to get ultimate benefits.
TIP # 1: Breathe!
Most of us have poor breathing habits.
By breathing consciously, we can regulate our response to stress by reducing the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol. Stress has a huge impact on our immunity: it is therefore essential to put in place stress management techniques to reduce the risks of developing chronic conditions.
Research has shown that just 20 minutes of focused breathing can lower stress levels, thus positively affecting your immune system (1).
In addition, breathing can assist with managing the emotions relating to pain and is therefore crucial in movement therapies. Good breathing implies diaphragmatic breathing: stand or sit straight, breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, expanding your abdomen along with your chest, then exhale slowly though your nose or mouth. Practice this a few minutes throughout the day to start with, until it becomes second nature.
TIP # 2: Stretch!
As well as keeping us flexible, stretching brings oxygen to the body and relieves stress.
There are numerous ways of stretching and the options are endless: online classes, yoga, pilates, tai chi…
Each are different so the best is to try & explore a few to see which one suits you the best & try implementing it into your weekly schedule. You could even mix & match depending on your individual requirements at specific times. In a world where we spend so much time seated, a daily routine can help strengthen the spine, relieve tension and reduce stress. Short sessions of 5-10 minutes spread throughout the day are an ideal way to avoid muscle stiffness and tension, thus helping you to stay alert and productive!
And all the while, keep breathing!
To resume: movement brings oxygen to our cells so no movement = no oxygenation = feeling lethargic and tired.
So for energy, life and vitality: keep moving!
(1) Twal, W.O. Wahlquist, A.E. & Balasubramanian, S. (2016) “Yogic breathing when compared to attention control reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers in saliva: a pilot randomized controlled trial’, BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine.