Move it or Lose it….Creative Movement Part I

A nice way to spend the afternoon
A Walk in the Woods

I know, I know, you have heard it before…but I can not stress enough how important it is to move…it is what keeps everything flowing on the inside.  The more we move the more our circulatory system works…and our circulatory system is what distrubutes nutrients and removes waste….we want to make sure all the good things we take in get to every cell in the body and that the waste from every cell in the body (all 37 Trillion–yes Trillion) of them.  Think of waste as the cells pooping mechanism..we have 37 Trillion cells that need to be fed and pooped every moment of every day.

Our circulatory system can be viewed as a vast river of connecting tributaries that moves everything around in our bodies…our lymph system in particular needs physical movement to get stuff from point A to point B…there is no pump for the lymph and the lymph is really the main septic system of the body.  So we can pretty much depend on the heart to pump all the nutrients around…but it is the lymph that removes the poop….and our veins charged with moving the blood back to the heart–they tend to work on movement as well…the heart gets everything to where it needs to be, the body then gets it back to the heart and lungs by movement.

The more we move the better our heart pumps…the cleaner the pipes are and the more we move the better we flush…not to mention–free movement just feels good!

Now the more creatively we move the more likely we are to get into the nooks and crannies where stuff can get bogged down…again, thinking like a river…if a beaver builds a damn in one of the tributaries everything down stream gets less water right…same thing for us, if tight muscles constrict a blood vessel…everything down stream is gonna get less nutrients….and if we don’t move the veins/lymph can’t do their job and stuff gets stuck…

When we move our bodies in the same positions day after day–we run the risk of creating blockages in the system…so the best bet is to creatively move, in different ways every day…sorta like taking the back roads vs. the highways…or taking a different route to work….it just keeps us from automatic plot, taking a different route gets us out of our habitual patterns and creates new patterns….so we do’t get stagnant, stuck and bored in a rut.

A nice long barefoot walk on the beach
A nice long barefoot walk on the beach

Our bodies have been designed by millions of years of interaction with the natural environment, at the end of the day we are animals….specifically we are mammals.  And we are the weirdest animal god ever created…we are wobbly, we have no tail for balance, we have no fangs or claws for protection and we have very little fur to keep us warm…but we do have a fantastic nervous system that includes a giant brain–so we can learn how to overcome any obstacle the world throws at us….and for millenia those obstacles were mostly physical…we were made to move around, over, under or through those obstacles…creatively…we can climb, we can jump, we can run, skip, hop and walk, we can dance, we can sit still for hours and we can throw.  We also have children that are dependent on us for years–so we can carry them, feed them, keep them warm and teach them…we are super social creatures in the wild and based on the number of people utilyzing social media I would say that hasn’t changed any–nor have any of our other physical attributes.

So in todays modern world of head based activity–how do we keep our circulatory system happy and at optimal functioning so it can feed our big brains and nervous system so we can thrive in the sedentary head based spaces we currently live in?  Creative movement!!!!

Balancing Act
a juggling unicyclist!! hows that for creative movement?

So how do we move creatively every day?  My immediate response is play…but adult play can be pretty boring from a body standpoint….even that is the same movements over and over again….the games adults play can be pretty repetitive…marathon running, golf, biking, horse shoes or corn hole, bochhi, etc…all require you to perfect a series of the same movements over and over again.  They are fun for our minds (sometimes)…but not so much the body. Don’t even get me started on the digital games–great finger dexterity maybe–but rather repetitive and seriously no help to the lymphatic, circulatory, skeletal or muscular systems.  Sailing, swimming, horseback riding, skiing, hiking those “games” or play time are way more creative….forcing our bodies to move in a variety of positions in a variety of conditions.  So seek out the creative play time…make time for free play in your life.

The gym?  OMG–I can’t think of a more boring thing than repetitive movements on machines….walking/running a treadmill is like punishment to me–not fun, not creative….lifting weights…again–boring and totally repetitive…

Exercise classes–better, but doing the same movements in class over and over again can get kinda boring as well–although it does tend to be a bit more social….the best classes are the ones that teach you how to use your body…the ones that help you become aware of your alignment, your strengths and weaknesses and how to address them, the ones that teach you to be aware of your breath and your internal milieu,  all with the end result that you walk out of class with the ability to creatively move on your own!  Those classes are super helpful, but you need to do more than just one class a week…you need to use what you learned in class in your day to day life-creatively.

ie: taking your “yoga” (substitute any class here) off the “mat” (substitute any environment here)!

Walk the dunes (where its allowed)
Walk the dunes (where its allowed)

Did you know that being in nature increases your cognitive ability…yep- scientific research has shown that being in nature, or even just looking at photos of nature–helps our brains to recall, sequentially think, and problem solve (just think–my blog posts are making you smarter on a variety of levels :))….so I would say first step in creative movement is to take it outside….or if its really gross out–at least look at photos or tv shows of nature. (multi tasking is important in our culture–it is generally a negative–but finding creative helpful ways of multi tasking helps us get it all done–and since the first thing to go, is self care–at the very least multi task your self care!)

IMG_5695
Walking between the rocks

Also–did you know that connecting with the ground in bare feet is super helpful for the human animal…walking around in bare feet allows our feet to do what they have been trained and designed to do for millenia…help us balance!  So the more natural the terrain the better balance we will develop …walking bare foot on hard wood floors is better than not being barefoot but no where near as good as walking on the front lawn or the beach.  The little movements the feet, ankles, legs and hips need to do when walking on uneven unknown territory keeps everything that much more flexible and helps our posture.  Again, remember we were designed to walk for miles hunting and gathering our way to survival….we didn’t develop our current bodies by walking on even man made surfaces–but our ability to walk over uneven surfaces made it possible for our brains to develop man made surfaces.

There is also a whole school of thought on the benefits of earthing–or walking barefoot.  Basically it is thought that when we are in direct contact with the negative electrons that are on the earths surface it helps our immune systems by helping us to fight off the effects of the positive ions that our modern world creates and surrounds us in.  It makes common sense to me that walking barefoot is beneficial…I don’t need to know the details of every aspect of it.  I know I generally just feel better after wandering around on the earth barefoot-even for as little as 10 minutes…

Walking in the surf is fabulous for your sense of balance
Walking in the surf is fabulous for your sense of balance

So creative movement starts with being barefoot and being outside….both of those are pretty easy to accommodate–at least in the summer…no matter what the benefits, I am not wandering around outside barefoot in the winter…ions or no ions, but I will be barefoot inside as much as possible…(happy yoga toes and all)…if you manage to do your beach walking in the surf–even better–cause then you are also really working your balance, and stimulating your brain with lots of different sensations…if you are lucky enough to have a beach with jetties, walk and climb on those rocks in bare feet–different surfaces will work different muscles–

so in the interest of keeping this short…I will end with this….–get outside barefoot as creatively as you can.  Most of us do not have broken glass laying around our houses and gardens–so we can comfortably wander around our own yards without fear of hurting ourselves if we are in barefeet….so go forth and start walking barefoot….get the mail, weed, just walk in circles, basically anything that you can safely do–I would not recommend mowing the lawn in barefeet, or using any other equipment while barefoot….but do what you can….if you are not used to walking barefoot…start small and work on building up those intrinsic muscles and toughening up the soft soles of the feet.

It wont take long before you will be happily skipping over surfaces such as this
It wont take long before you will be happily skipping over surfaces such as this

So my challenge to you — get out there and experience with world of barefoot walking, on as many different surfaces as possible–the more natural the better…as you gain some more balance and a sense of creative fun, we can expand into more and more creative movement.  Go Forth and Be Creatively Barefoot –stimulate the brain and the body avoiding stagnation!

Namaste

Stephanie

For more information or to set up a personalized bodywork/yoga session please call Stephanie at 508-776-2114

or e-mail me at bodysciencemassage@gmail.com

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