Josh Bowen: Movement is Medicine

joshIt is December. It is holiday time. The amount of stress increases exponentially. More people get sick with the cold or flu and their time decreases because of the demand of parties and social events. Instead of taking to over the counter pills or doctor prescriptions, what if you just moved? How can movement help in making you feel better?

Over the last 30 years, as Americans, we have been obsessed with medicine. From antibiotics to steroids and everything in between, we medicate our selves and quite honestly and quite simply we OVER medicate ourselves. We don’t move as much as our ancestors did, we get sicker more often, we carry more body fat and our stress levels seem like nuclear time bombs just waiting to go off. True, we live longer but in my opinion we don’t live as quality of lives as generations before us. We live on prescription and over the counter medications. And they are killing us.

I am not a doctor, I am not what you would call a “health professional.” I am person who specializes in fitness and movement and have watched first hand how movement can better people in the following areas; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even sexually (get your mind out of the gutter, I have not witnessed that first hand but people have told me and I take their word for it, dammit.)

Lets define movement for a second. Movement defined as “the act of moving your body or a part of your body.” Now I will had a phrase to the end, “in a fashion that increases blood flow to the body’s tissues, decreases harmful inflammation and increases feel good hormones the body.” That is how we will define movement, anything where you move. Like weight training, walking, going up stairs, running (oh god), sport activities, playing with your kids etc. You get the point…MOVE!

So, can I ask you a question? Has anyone ever been to a doctor for something and instead of prescribing medication that doctor told you to “start moving?” That is not a shot at the medical professionals but I would dare to say that movement (as defined above) could treat and prevent many of the diseases that kill us. From diabetes to heart disease to certain cancers, movement has scientifically shown to decrease the death rate and improve a person’s well being.

You people who are reading this are smart. You are educated. You know what is important overall but what about during bouts of constant stress and anxiety or when you have a cold or infection. How does movement work then?

Activities to Consider When Sick

Walking
Swimming
Biking
Light weight training
Yoga
Light jog

Activities to Avoid

Heavy weight training
CrossFit style workouts or High Intensity Interval Training
Sprinting or running long distances
Exercise in extreme temperatures

How Exercise Affects Your Immune System
(One time exercise)

Brief Vigorous Exercise- no immune suppressing effect
Moderate Intensity Exercise 45-60 minutes- can boost your immune system
Prolonged Vigorous Exercise over 120 minutes- can decrease immune function causing you to get sicker

Long term moderate intensity resistance Training– stimulates innate immunity (natural immunity; white blood cells, mucous, stomach acid)
Chronic moderate exercise– strengthens adaptive immunity (acquired immunity; acquired white blood cells, vaccinations if any).

Textbook Guidelines to Exercises While Sick
(From Precision Nutrition)

To close this out here are a few tips

To Keep From Getting Sick

Eat organic food
Eat green vegetables
Drink a ton of water
Don’t eat crap
Lift weights
Move

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