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Maria Boyle: Five reasons to move your body

Author: Maria Boyle (BScKin'16)

Posted on Mar 19, 2021

Category: Young Alumni , UNB Fredericton , Insights , Kinesiology

Lilian Archer Photography
Photo: Lilian Archer Photography

A chiropractor at Town Health Solutions in Saint John, N.B., and at Align KV Wellness in Quispamsis, N.B., Dr. Maria Boyle (BScKin'16) has been very engaged in her community and in the profession since joining the NBCA in 2018. She currently serves on the NBCA external affairs committee, and maintains a prominent and active social media presence promoting self-management and health. In 2020, she was recognized with the NB Chiropractors Association's Recent Graduate Award. Read Maria's five reasons to move your body and check out her Instagram reel on movement for more inspiration.

 

At some point in your lives, the majority of you have or will likely chat with an accountant or a financial advisor about your financial futures. Getting advice and educating yourselves on investing your money and how to start saving is important, so that later down the road you can enjoy the things you're working towards. However, how many of you have connected with a primary health care provider about the goals and plans for your long-term physical health?  

What if I told you, the same way you think about investing money to save up for things like bills, emergencies and retirement plans should also be the way you think about exercise and long-term health? Of course it would be great if we could spend every single dollar we make daily, but what about our future selves? What about all the plans that we have for retirement and life in general?

This is how you should be thinking about exercise and physical activity. Each time you get out for a walk, get a training session in at the gym, or hit the links – you are accumulating that activity into a savings plan.  You put in work every day to make money to save up for later,      so let’s start putting in work every day for your health – to save up for later! 

1. Wolff’s Law

Think of your body like a piece of clay. The strong, pliable and adaptable characteristics of clay.  It can be shaped and molded to serve many different purposes and sometimes once the clay is made, it can be changed throughout the course of its lifetime. Our anatomy and our physiology responds to Wolff’s Law. Wolff’s Law was developed by a German anatomist and surgeon and states that bones in healthy humans and animals will respond and adapt to loads placed on them. (1) When our muscles work, this puts stresses on our bones, so our bones respond and remodel in order to adapt and be stronger. 

 2. Your joint health

Some may think that once we become skeletally mature, you are simply going to start declining from there, in strength, endurance and bone mineral density. However, in actuality this is not the case. You know that friend, the one that just keeps getting fitter and fitter with age? They are a walking, talking example of Wolffs Law! Our skeletons change and remodel ALL of the time! Seven years from today, your bones will have remodeled completely. Everyday special bone cells called osteoclasts absorb your old damaged bone and their friend the osteoblast comes in and lays down new tissue where the old tissue once was.

These osteoblasts will respond and lay down the bone, based off of its demands. So if you are putting loads and demands on your bones, your bones will strengthen for you and your future self will thank you. The same is known if you do not move, your bones will not respond and osteoblasts will not lay down as much bone – decreasing bone mineral density.

3. Exercise is medicine

If we put exercise into the form of a pill, no pharmacy would be able to keep it on their shelves. Exercise is the golden ticket to health, it is the miracle drug, if we take it every day. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week.  This equates to 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week consisting of anything from resistance training, to golf or even air squats at home.

Physical activity has been PROVEN to be a preventative medicine.

Exercise can improve your:

  • Heart health
  • Mental health
  • Energy levels
  • Happiness
  • Sleep levels

Exercise can decrease your risk of:

  • Depressive moods
  • Dementia and Alzheimer
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity

4. Use it or lose it

Think of the  door hinge on your summer  cottage that has been abandoned all winter and becomes stiff upon first opening it.  It didn’t get that way overnight, it took days of lack of movement to become rusted and stuck. This same concept applies to your joints. This is what happens to our joints when we do not expose them to time under tension at their end range of motion. Thus comes the term “use it or lose it”. Now, I am usually the first one to discourage fear tactics but sometimes we need to stop for a little reality check. Science trumps, biology trumps - it is not new knowledge that we as humans are made to move, our joints crave motion.

So how do we create time under tension?  Resistance training. This comes in the form of dumbbell weights, barbell weights, body weights, resistance bands or maybe as a new mother or father - a new born baby! Our joints are nourished through use, so go ahead and feed them!

 5. As your body moves, your brain grooves

As Greg Wells mentions in his book “Ripple Effect”  all healthy habits can play off one another. Typically when you change one thing in your life, it can have a ripple effect on all other aspects. For instance, when you move well and aim to get your heart rate increased for at least 150 minutes/week you are going to sleep well, and when you sleep well you typically tend to feel more energized and think well. When you think well you tend to make healthier dietary choices, which will force you to eat well. All healthy aspects of life tend to have this rippling effect which can optimize performance and longevity! 

So what are you waiting for?

Anything goes when it comes to physical activity, you do not have to spend countless hours at a gym to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. You can start with making movement a part of your daily routine. Start moving more around the house, or take a walk outside when the weather is nice, or if you would like, try to sign up for a month trial at a gym to see if it works well for you. If you have been inactive for many years, you can chat with a health care provider to determine a course of action for getting you back to physical activity while minimizing risk of injury.

 

  1. Chen JH, Liu C, Liden Y, Simmons CA: Boning up on Wolff's Law: mechanical regulation of the cells that make and maintain bone. J Biomech. 2010, 43: 108-118. 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2009.09.016.