This is part of a 12-week series about Modern Day Healthcare. To see the first post, click here.
Spontaneous, natural and efficient movement has become the new trend in exercise. As the baby boomer generation ages, movement forms like Pilates, yoga, Gyrotonic, Tai Chi, and Feldenkrais have become increasingly popular. A recent study showed that the greatest predictor of longevity in people over the age of 70 is how fast you walk. As we age, we want to continue to participate in our recreational and daily activities. We want to be supple and active. These forms of exercise are designed to increase flexibility, alignment, strength and coordination.
People who engage in mind body exercise report being happier. Joseph Pilates said, “the first requisite for happiness is a healthy body”. An agile body accompanied with good posture and strong muscles is not only attractive but an asset in the self-esteem department. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs taught that self-confidence is necessary to progress towards self-realization.
Twenty five years ago I would practice Pilates every night after work. I observed the effect that Pilates had on all of the different systems of my body; from the skeleton and joints to the muscles and nervous systems; the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system etc. What I realized was that movement of the whole body is movement of all systems of the body. This old form of exercise has gained in popularity and needs to be a regular part of everyone’s lifestyle to improve posture, flexibility and strength.
Exercise should also consist of endurance activities. We need to walk, run, swim, or dance at least 3-4 times per week. The more we like the activity the better it is for us and the more likely we are to keep doing it. These two forms of movement, awareness, and endurance training not only keep the physiology of our bones, muscles and hearts healthy, but also reduce stress, improve digestion, and stimulate overall health. Most importantly, these exercises increase our happiness. What more could we ask for?
Improvement through Movement