Recently, I attended a conference and heard Dr. Joseph Mercola speak. He is a doctor of osteopathy and incredibly knowledgeable on health, including nutrition and exercise. He was a prominent presence on the internet until Google censored him, but that’s another article. As far as diet, exercise, and overall health was concerned, Dr. Mercola believed 80% of good health was diet and 20% was exercise, but he has recently changed his view to 50/50.
Why the change? It is imperative that our bodies move. We can be eating healthy food, but if we sit or have a job that forces us to sit for long periods of time, we will not get the full benefits from the good food. By the same token, if we have a great workout and then stop off and get a fast food hamburger, we will not receive the full benefit of the workout. If our workouts are extreme, we have a tendency to eat whatever we feel like. If our diet is extreme, we tend to skip working out. However, there exists a balance that when met is the pinnacle of these two healthy regimens.
Study after study continues to demonstrate diet and exercise are imperative to good health. Yet, our workplaces are proving to be places of little movement, stationary, sit-down-all -day environments. We have to get up and move. Some schools are limiting students moving too. When I was an elementary student, I recall having two 30-minute recesses. Today, my 10-year-old daughter has one 20-minute recess. Schools seemed to be more focused on standardized testing than a healthy learning environment.
One of the factors that create a healthy learning environment is movement. Body movement helps us learn better. In Dr. John J. Ratey’s book Spark, the author tells us about an innovative high school PE teacher who was able to convince his school to do an experiment. Freshman reading grades had been diminishing for years. Reading was first period, and he convinced the school to give him zero hour. PE became the first class of the day, just before reading. The result was reading grades improved dramatically. As a former teacher, I recall a workshop instructor telling a group of educators, “Movement is going to happen in your classroom no matter what, you might as well make it constructive.” He then gave us various “exercises” to have the students do in the classroom. This may also slow down the quick diagnosis of ADHD that is so prevalent in our country as well. Kids need to move. Teachers should move as well. Kids do more of what we do and less of what we say. As parents we know this is true.
Chiropractic continues to lead the health industry in functional body improvement. Chiropractic principles incorporate proper body mechanics as essential to overall body function. What is more important to an 84-year old, their cholesterol number or being able to get off the couch? I know that question may ruffle some feathers in the health industry that is obsessed with numbers, but it is my belief that being able to move better is more important, and if that person is able to move better, the cholesterol number will have a better chance of being normal anyway.