How does a body remain upright and stable as we age – or better yet, why doesn’t it? Why is it that no one ever complains about getting taller as they age? Why is it that we lose space, mobility, stability, and our common senses as we age?
All great questions, seemingly simple questions, yet the answers are complex, lack enough hard science for people to be convinced that there is a way to alter the natural entropy a body must endure, and take active participation to harness the renewable resources in our body that keep us feeling young, healthy, and ready for anything life offers.
As most of you who read my blog know, I am fascia-nated with the cellular elements of the human body. Over the past 30 years of my life, I have been curious, somewhat obsessed with the idea of aging. If there were a PhD in longevity, I’d have it by now. Daily I seek out new information to share with others about how to harness the elements of our body that keep us feeling stable and vibrant.
Over the past 15 years the functions of connective tissue have been more widely researched. We know that connective tissues (of which there are many, such as bones, blood, cartilage, lymph, loose and dense fascial elements, to name a few) function in various and diverse ways. For example, connective tissue plays its role in creating the structural, flexible framework that stabilizes, connects, and separates all structures of the human body, it transports nutrients and wastes throughout and out of the body, and provides protection for all vital elements of our body.
As we age, what is known as the extracellular matrix is challenged to do its job. We know that, just due to the repetition of daily living, the supportiveness of connective tissue as a flexible scaffolding is challenged to do its job.
Fascia is the only cellular system that morphs and adapts as a 3-dimensional system. If one region of the body moves too close together, another region will move further apart to manage the most tension or compression with the least amount of energy output. That’s what it‘s designed to do. So if you sit for 8 hours everyday and do the same repetitive habits day in and day out, you will get really good at doing those things. However, you may lose the ability to do other things as efficiently – like walking, standing, or bending over to pick things up.
What we know is, the more 3-dimensional movement you give to your body in a day will aid in challenging your entire body’s structure to organize itself to be efficient in any direction, remain stable as you move, and use minimal energy or effort to do whatever you want to do. This to me is an efficient, healthy body.
So today, before you plop yourself down on your chair, commit today to doing 4 easy things that can aid your stability system so that it can do its job more efficiently.
- Get up and move around every hour for at least 5 minutes. Just move in a different way than you normally do. Perhaps you could stand up and stretch like a cat. My cat Beren does great poses! Put your hands against a wall and fold your torso forward, then reach to the sky and side bend so you feel tensional pull from the side of your foot to the tips of your fingers.
- Sip water all day long. Every 10-15 minutes, just take a sip of water. Don’t guzzle water a few times a day, really commit to just taking a sip 4 times every hour. You will stay cellularly hydrated in a more efficient way drinking less water more often.
- If you only have a minute and want to do a little MELT, try Friction Rolling on your hands and feet by lightly rubbing the Large Soft Ball in a scribbly pattern. This stimulates the superficial connective tissue and boosts your lymphatic system’s ability to clear out waste.
- Sit outside for 10 minutes every day. No sunglasses, but you can sit in the shade. Physiologically the retinal vessels are similar to those in the brain. The blood flow through the retina is autoregulated and is affected very little by the sympathetic nervous system. The blood vessels of the iris also have morphological and permeability characteristics similar to those in the brain but they are under a strong influence from the sympathetic nerves and react to many things from drugs to sunlight. This helps to clean your blood – and makes you happy!
These 4 quick and easy tips will help your body thrive. A little self-care is a powerful thing!
Originally posted JULY 3, 2013