30,000 BCE marked the beginning of the stone age, which was known as the first period of prehistoric human culture in the evolution of mankind. This time period was very much survival of the fittest, meaning you were either a predator or prey, which meant that you had to hunt and protect yourself at all costs, and the best man standing won. Back then, humans lived in caves and jungles, and were responsible for protecting themselves, catching and gathering food, and making tools.
Quite simply, movement is defined as the act or process of moving people or things from one place or position to another. We all know that moving and exercise is good for us. And while we mainly think about the physical reasons for why this is, movement also benefits our spiritual, emotional, and mental health. Since the evolution of human beings, movement has always been a crucial part of life, and still is to this day.
The benefits of movement on our physical, emotional, and mental state includes:
- Keeps body loose, and muscles strong
- Prevents the chance of developing chronic disease
- Protects the immune system (Strong body immunity)
- Increases bone density
- Good for cardiovascular (heart) health
- Reduces hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Helps with blood flow and circulation
- Helps manage pain
- Helps heal and rehabilitate the body
- Helps with weight loss and maintaining a healthy body weight
- Improves metabolism (Digestion)
- Increases body strength
- Lubricates the joints
- Releases chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine to help you feel better. Endorphins make you happy
- Helps regulate mood
- Re-energizes the body
- Keeps you in the present moment when doing a challenging exercise
- Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
- Prevents insomnia
- Mood enhancement
- Increases clarity and thinking
- Improves focus
- Improves concentration
Our bodies are designed to move, and since the caveman days, it was ingrained into our nervous systems to run, hunt, climb, play, etc., to survive. The people of the stone age were constantly moving, in the pursuit of food and shelter. While we cannot claim that the average lifespan was as long as it is today, they most likely got more steps in than most people do now.
In the 21st century, humans face an obesity epidemic due to lack of exercise and movement, which was unheard of back then. Now, most of us have sedentary jobs, which doesn’t leave much room for movement, resulting in poor diet, lack of exercise, and the onset of chronic disease, amongst other complications such as chronic back pain, obesity, brain damage, posture problems, muscle degeneration, varicose veins, and weak bones.
Importance of Body Movement
Our bodies are built upon movement and exercise. Movement seems like the simplest thing in the world. However, it is actually an important complex action, as our musculoskeletal system is built with multiple parts that allow us mobility and balance. In the essence of locomotion, our bodies are designed to perform various activities and actions, such as running, jumping, and manipulating objects, among other things.
Do you know that your body has a movement system? The human movement system is a system of physiological organ systems within the body that interact and work together to produce movement of the body and its parts.
Movement and Physical Therapy
Human movement involves the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems. Physical therapists (PTs) are experts on how the body moves, in a field studying body movement known as kinesiology. Therefore, physical therapists have a keen understanding about how important movement really is for function and our overall health.
Our bodies are prone to injuries, aches, pain, and disease due to the complexity and the amount of wear and tear from constant use and demand placed on the musculoskeletal system every day. That’s why working with a human movement expert such as a physical therapist can be beneficial and build a solid foundation for long-term health.
When we think of physical therapy, we think it is for people who are injured, pain sufferers, and those who are unable to still perform physical activities that they enjoy. Physical therapy is often considered a first resort type of treatment for people who are post-surgery or who have exhausted other treatment options for conditions and injuries. While all these associations are true, physical therapy also has a completely different identity when it comes to utilizing movement to help rehabilitate and heal the body.
For people who become unable to function and move due to injury or degeneration from a condition, physical therapists will prescribe exercises to improve the function and range of motion of a joint. These exercises usually include walking or lifting weights, to improve your flexibility, strength, coordination, or endurance. Other movement exercises include manual therapy such as massage to help with flexibility and decrease pain.
Based on your goals, your physical therapist will keep modifying your treatment program or activity level to help you improve every day, and ensure you have the most effective recovery.
If patients don’t respond well to their physical therapy regiment and end up needing surgical intervention, your physical therapist will work with your doctor every step of the way. This collaboration will maximize your recovery and prevent re-injury.
To learn more about how physical therapy can help, call Endeavor Rehab Center at (512) 284-7192 to request an appointment, or request an appointment online.