17 Jan Get up and MOVE, it’s good for your brain!
Your brain evolved for one purpose – to make you move.
As modern humans we, unfortunately, spend most of our day in a chair. As a chiropractor, a huge part of my life is spent educating patients on the health risks of sitting too much. But in this post I want to uncover the real reason your brain needs to move to survive.
Your nerve cells need three things to stay alive:
Okay, so the first two are pretty simple for most of us; just breathe air and eat food – easy. But what you may not realise is that most of the stimuli the ten-trillion nerve cells living in your massive human brain receive actually comes from movement.
And you thought doing a Sudoku while listening to Bach was good for your brain!
It is true that keeping the mind challenged with mental, auditory and visual stimuli provides the nervous system with excitement. However, it’s the simple act of moving your body that really excites your neurons.
Daniel Wolpert is a British neuroscientist and he has a compelling argument as to why movement is the key to unlocking the potential in our amazing brains. He states that humans only evolved brains to produce adaptable and complex movements. He then suggests that things like our senses, memories and emotions influence our movement that, in turn, influence our environment with the end game of improving our reproductive success.
Want to keep your brain? Move!
Wolpert uses the example of the sea squirt. A sea squirt starts out life with only a very rudimentary nervous system, and once it implants itself on a rock suitable for the rest of its life, it then proceeds to digest its own brain. He goes on to summarise with my favourite quote,
“Once you don’t need to move, you don’t need the luxury of a brain.”
Dr John Medina goes a step further by linking movement and a healthy brain in his book Brain Rules.
We (our brains) evolved under conditions of constant motion. By moving we increase oxygen flow to the brain and increase electrical stimuli, which improves our cognitive skills, mental sharpness and, most importantly, protect our brains from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Creating movement in our modern world
As modern humans we have a huge challenge in creating movement in our environment, which has evolved very much towards a sitting posture. So don’t feel bad for sitting – you are literally forced to (most of the time). However, it’s the movement you insert into the rest of your day that has the greatest positive effect on literally every aspect of your life and health.
And just to be clear, movement is not the same as exercise. Movement is simply the act of physical activity – exercise comes later and with practice! Sometimes your body needs to re-learn how to move and that’s where chiropractic saves the day (again). That’s the really exciting part about my job as a chiropractor – I get to restore function (movement) in the neuro-musculoskeletal system (your body) by providing your brain with much needed movement stimulus (an adjustment), using nothing but my hands!
After re-reading these words I am so inspired and excited to get out of this chair to have my weekly adjustment, after all, its good for my brain.
Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains
If you’d like to make an appointment with Dr Graham so you can move again you can book here.
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