Why movement is medicine, and THE best exercise for your body

Why movement is medicine, and THE best exercise for your body

Hi All

As a Pilates and movement instructor I see lots of people who have got problems with their joints or muscles and need help.  I work with physiotherapists and between us we can usually get people moving pain free again.  When you go to the doctor and you say have a kidney problem, the doctor will likely give you pills with strict guidelines on when to take them, how many to take etc., but when the doctor prescribes movement they will probably just give some vague – ‘you need to do Pilates’ or ‘take up a sport’ prescription.

Well we need, as a society, to take movement as a medicine seriously.  It is one of the best pain killers that there is, movement will also lower your blood pressure, increase your circulation to certain areas, increase your metabolism, lower your body mass and lower your stress levels (along with many other things), so why don’t we do it more?  We also need to understand (just as in medicine), not all movement is good for the joints or certain conditions, and not all movement is the same – just as in pharmaceuticals certain movements will make you better and certain movements will make you worse.  So a scatter gun approach to movement, especially when you have an existing issue, might not be beneficial at all.  I get a lot of people coming to me with injuries because of the exercise that they were doing, on top of an existing condition.

In today’s society movement has become synonymous with exercise and fitness, this should not be the case at all.  ‘Exercise’ is what we started to do because as a society we weren’t moving enough, if you move there is no need to ‘exercise’.  Often ‘exercise’, and I’m talking accelerated heart rates, short bouts in a gym type exercise, can be detrimental to health in the long-term particularly for the health of the joints and the long-term function of the adrenal glands.

So what should I do then?  In her book ‘Alignment Matters’ Katy Bowman, who is a bio mechanist, states that, ‘if you want to see dramatic improvements to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and Type 2 diabetes, then you should be stretching for twenty to sixty minutes every day, then follow up the stretching with a light, easygoing fifteen minute walk, two to three times a week.’

What movements you should/not be doing;

1. Walking – us humans really are designed for walking, and when I say walking, I’m not saying a gentle stroll around the block, I’m talking about long walks 10 miles at least at a medium pace.  Obviously this is probably not achievable in modern life – so just as much walking as you can fit into your day, and at a brisk pace.
Also I don’t count walking on a treadmill as proper walking – your body needs correct traction, and the push back from the hip/glute’s – the moving belt on a treadmill replaces this action.
You need to be walking everyday, yes everyday, for at least 20 minutes at a brisk pace.
So get outside!!

2. Anyone with degenerative changes in the knees, hips and spine should not be running, jogging or jumping!  These activities will increase the rate of degeneration in the tissues and will lead to greater risk of disk damage, osteoarthritis etc.

3. Most ‘exercise’ is fad driven!  Find yourself a good instructor who knows the science behind the movement, and can ‘prescribe’ you exercises that are good for your condition and will help improve it.

4. Research has shown that consistent, lower intensity movements (walking, Pilates, Yoga) demonstrate greater long term decreases in body fat than high intensity and joint-damaging high-impact exercise sessions.

So there you go, ‘Dr Jill’ can prescribe exercises to you!
So dig out your walking boots and get out, it’s a beautiful world outside. Enjoy!

Jill x

If you would like to book a session with Jill she can do 1-2-1 sessions, if you have any pain which restricts you from walking then contact her and she will advise the best way forward. 

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