Our bodies are in a constant state of dynamic function. By dynamic I mean ever changing and always in motion.
Even when we sit or lie still, our internal functions remain dynamic. Fluids continue to circulate in the vascular and lymph systems. The heart rhythmically squeezes life-sustaining blood through the wide spread channels throughout our body.
Our muscles endlessly contract and relax to move air into our lungs and out again. Digestion proceeds as a result of internal pumping actions of the smooth muscles that line our stomach and intestines.
Even on a cellular basis, our cells are actively transporting chemicals into and out of their internal environment and amongst one another.
Movement is a part of our daily and even our momentary existence. As soon as the primary pumping actions of the heart and diaphragm cease working, we die.
Movement in a larger scale is critical for truly healthy function.
Movement of the skeletal muscles accomplishes so many functions that it is not possible to list them all here.
The most obvious function is that the bones that the muscles are attached to actually move as a result of controlled muscular contraction. That means we can accomplish things like walking, running, reaching, grasping, or manipulating in a seemingly effortless manner in most circumstances.
Muscle movement is also essential for circulation of venous blood and lymph. Although the heart exerts a tremendously high pressure push to send a wave of propulsion throughout the blood vessels, it is still important for muscle contraction to help keep the low pressure side of the system working well.
The lymphatic system is not as obvious in its role in our health as the higher pressure and faster circulating blood system. The lymph system involves a circulation of lymphatic fluid that is as critical to our health as blood.
The lymphatic system is a major part of our integrated immune system. The lymphatic fluid moves throughout the body at times in widespread intracellular flow and then is channeled into more concentrated channels that eventually empty into the large veins.
Lymphatic fluid begins as blood plasma that has permeated through the walls of the capillaries into the intracellular spaces of the body. Unlike the blood circulatory system, the lymphatic system is not a tightly closed pressure system.
The plasma circulates freely through the body’s tissues then is collected into the lymph duct system.
Without regular contraction and relaxation cycles of the muscles the lymph flow is greatly inhibited.
Regular periods of whole body movement are important to the blood circulatory systems as well.
Persons who are less mobile will inevitably incur increased risk of cardiovascular decline, decreased metabolism, increased blood pressure, likely increased body fat content.
You may have read the recent news reports that revealed that prolonged sitting is perhaps more dangerous from a health perspective than smoking. If you have a job that requires sitting all day long you may want to take notice of this research.
Our body is made to move. Jobs and other activities that require prolonged sitting without a chance to get up and engage in whole body movement increase health risks substantially.
You may have noticed a recent trend that is catching on in some offices of providing standing desks. These are desks that are designed to have the top elevated so the worker can stand while working. There are even desks that now have treadmills built in so a person can try walking while working.
I’ve not tried this arrangement so I cannot speak from experience, but I am having a hard time envisioning myself being able to operate a computer while walking. But the idea is that it may be possible to actually accomplish some whole body movement while still being productive at the desk.
Time will tell whether that specific idea works.
Although ergonomics in all workplaces is important and there is more attention being given to the idea that desk jobs should also involve regular whole body movement, at this point the vast majority of desk jobs are just that -- a job that requires constant sitting at a desk.
If you have one of those jobs, for the sake of your health try to find a way to increase your activity.