Its Time To Get Moving and How Your Brain Just Loves That

Why do I tell patients to stop what they are doing every 15-30 minutes and do some other activity? Why do I cringe when I hear someone tell me that they sit at their computers for hours on end without getting up? Why do I teach students to mix up their activities and move different body parts? Because movement is synonymous with good health. Without motion, death would result. Think about it. Motion is necessary for air to move through your lungs, for red blood cells to be pumped by your heart and circulate through your body, for your intestines to move food through you to get nutrition. Movement is necessary for your joints to be lubricated and it is also essential for the stimulation of joint to brain pathways that enable proper brain and body coordination.

You may not have known that movements of your body stimulate healthy brain function. In fact, joint movement, especially in the spine, has a direct bearing on the ability your brain has to coordinate activities such as thinking, moving your muscles, concentrating and learning, having a healthy immune system and even for feeling your emotions. Research by Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry revealed the relationship of spinal movement to brain function. He used the analogy of the spine in relationship synapse xt to the brain acting as a windmill that generates electricity for a power plant. He also goes on to say that the more structurally distorted we are, the less energy is available for healing, thinking and metabolism. So think of it this way, movement feeds and charges up the brain, constantly powering it up like a hand-cranked flashlight battery. Your spine and joints are constantly feeding your brain data regarding your balance, your position, and your movements. In fact without a supply of sensory information from the body, the brain would go into a state of coma. Over 50 percent of all the nerve impulses that travel through your spinal cord have to do with movement related information to your brain. So not only does your brain control your body’s movements, your body is responsible for nourishing your brain in return.

Much excellent research review has been done by James Chestnut, D.C. in combing through neurophysiology research that reveals that movement for your brain should be viewed as an essential nutrient, as necessary as oxygen, water and sugar. These nutrients are absolutely necessary for proper brain development and function. Without sufficient movement and brain stimulation in early childhood development, deficits are more likely in motor functioning skills, learning, memory, and emotional and behavioral development. It was thought originally that movement of the spine and joints created increased blood flow and oxygenation of tissues that resulted in these effects on the brain, but more recent research has shown differently. It is now well documented that it is not the aerobic activity that causes the amazing benefits to the brain, it is neurological stimulation of the pathways between moving joints, especially spinal joints and the brain that are responsible. It has also been well confirmed by research studies that the greatest number of receptors that send movement information to the brain are in the upper cervical, or upper neck part of the spine. That does not mean that a spine that is not moving properly hurts, in fact it may be without symptoms at all.