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As a physiotherapist I thrive on learning more and more about the way how our bodies and minds work. It is downright fascinating to delve into the seemingly endless discoveries that clinical scientists are making about pain and human existence. However, when my mind stops buzzing I am left with one beautifully simple fact, that movement is good. Movement is what keeps our bodies and brains ticking along nicely, movement is simply all I need to get my patients to do to get them better.
Well, I say simple…. as you can imagine there is a million things I need to understand to get people to move in a way that enables them to fulfill their goals. I have to try to understand their bodies and I need to understand what is going in their minds. Understanding what is going on in someones body is the easy bit. Most of it can be gathered by careful observation of the way they are moving (or not moving as the case may be) and why. Occasionally a scan can be helpful too. What is going on in someone’s mind is harder but the more important of the two because without the mind in gear the body ain’t going anywhere.
Movement is good for many physiological reasons that can be boiled down to:
It’s good for the body because it increases circulation, makes the heart and lungs fitter, the muscles stronger, the tendons and other soft tissues more resilient to day to day forces, the joints better lubricated and the digestive system moving, to mention but a few. It’s good for the mind because it causes the release of endorphins and oxygenates the brain making us happier, better at managing stress and more productive. Last but not least it is good for connecting the two which helps to prevent injury and pain.
All of these benefits reduce the risk of early death from things like heart problems, diabetes and cancer as well as improving the quality of life.
The great thing about movement is that there is something for everyone. Research shows that although different activities have different strengths, it really doesn’t matter how we exercise, as long as we do. So whether you are into running, gardening, walking, Zumba, acrobatics, triathlons, golf, pole dancing, martial arts, tennis, rugby, foodball, or aqua aerobics, as long as you are moving, that is great.
So ultimately the holy grail of decent physiotherapy is to find a way to get people moving, and keep them moving. In the words of my favorite meercat… simples.
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