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Jen >> Health and Body Movement in the 21st Century

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5/31/09 3:12 AM
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Bolo
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Here's an article that MBF creator, Geoff Gluckman, wrote on his blog:

Almost forty years ago, Dr. Ken Cooper, an Air Force researcher, announced his findings about exercise, health, and well-being. The report focused on cardiovascular conditioning and fitness.

These findings were based on studies conducted on thousands of people in and around an Air Force base in Texas. At the time, the information took North America by storm, both among laypersons and medical practitioners, because the results definitively suggested guidelines for cardiovascular health maintenance.

In sum, Dr. Cooper recommended that each person should get three weekly sessions of total body movement (activity), each lasting twenty to thirty minutes. This prescription for CV health was a minimum and became a medical health standard.

Now, in the ever-evolving digital age, and traveling the supertechnological highway of passivity the question is: Is that minimum standard enough?

Unfortunately, my friends, I am sad to report that it isn’t.

Does this mean you should begin your marathon training today?

Fortunately, no.

In years leading up to1986, NASA embarked on a series of longitudinal studies on the effects of inactivity in preparation to understand extended stays in space by cosmonauts. (A few days ago we just witnessed the return of five such spacepersons in the Shuttle Endeavor.) While the full (and horrific) results of the study are too lengthy to include here, please be aware that our sedentary lifestyles (chairs, cars, TV, lack of movement) have led many of us to a very scary place in terms of health and well-being.

Pain and discomfort.

These familiar conditions result from the collapse of human bodily function, which the NASA study predicted. A key factor is the loss of proper alignment of the body in relation to the force of gravity, which works on the body 24 hours a day.
Put simply, the body requires purposeful, functional total body movement (not necessarily cardiovascular) every 24 hours (more frequently for some) or many of the key systems, such as blood flow, immunity, kinesthetic, and muscular balance, begin to decline in function quite dramatically.

In other words, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

So, what are the options?

For health and function of your body in the 21st century, many of you will need to undertake some sort of total body activity for at least one hour per day, possibly two.

I know, a tall order in this super busy day and age.

Here are some hints*:
1) Most important, try to select activities you like.
2) The above time frame does not need to be performed all at the same time. Preferably, increments of 12 to 36 minutes should be undertaken (unless debilitated physical condition).
3) Sample activities: walking, gardening, cycling, tennis, pilates, yoga, swimming (though not load bearing). Ideally, to counteract the NASA findings, movement should be load-bearing.

Whatever you choose, try to make it fun and enjoyable and start slow.
Remember: walking is perhaps the single best activity, if you are able.

“The body is designed for movement” (Overall finding from the NASA studies, according to Sandler and Vernikos, editors.)
6/23/09 5:34 AM
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laqueus
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Interesting how it points to the best solution to pain being to do some activity rather than trying to coddle it.
6/23/09 11:57 AM
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Bolo
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I have felt a great increase in the function of my body as a result of increasing the amount of exercise I get each day to a minimum of 2 hours (excluding teaching BJJ).
6/23/09 1:52 PM
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Ramses II
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I thought I would add this.

http://www.brainrules.net/exercise

BRAIN RULE RUNDOWN

Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.

The human brain evolved under conditions of almost constant motion. From this, one might predict that the optimal environment for processing information would include motion. That is exactly what one finds. Indeed, the best business meeting would have everyone walking at about 1.8 miles per hour.

Researchers studied two elderly populations that had led different lifestyles, one sedentary and one active. Cognitive scores were profoundly influenced. Exercise positively affected executive function, spatial tasks, reaction times and quantitative skills.

So researchers asked: If the sedentary populations become active, will their cognitive scores go up? Yes, it turns out, if the exercise is aerobic. In four months, executive functions vastly improve; longer, and memory scores improve as well.

Exercise improves cognition for two reasons:

Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.
6/23/09 4:54 PM
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laqueus
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That explains why I have a mental block until I start pacing around and getting my thoughts together.
6/23/09 5:41 PM
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Bolo
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Yeah, I tend to do some of my best thinking when I am taking a walk.
7/3/09 1:44 PM
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nowaydo
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Yes. I used the book and DVD from Brainrules to teach a seminar at the University of North Carolina last summer. My goal was to try to convince teachers to incorporate more movement in their teaching practices.

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