I realize this is the time of year when your bed is warm, the coffee tastes extra good and it just feels too cozy in the house to leave so we skip our workout and stay home. I say don’t do it!! Find that extra bit of self will and make yourself go! Here’s why…
More and more research is being documented on the value of movement; especially for the connective tissue or fascia. Fascia is a casing or wrapping that surrounds your body throughout. It is located from just under the surface to deep down throughout your muscles and surrounding your organs, nerves, lymph and blood vessels. Fascia is so prevalent that it actually makes up 20% of your body weight! Did you know that you could remove all your bones and muscles and your shape would be the same due to the fascia? Amazing.
Previously these layers of fascia were moved aside to look at the muscles and organs. This has changed and the findings are remarkable! The fascia itself is made up of collagen or a type of protein fiber that provides strength and cushioning. Research has proven that fascia is very pain sensitive due to the encapsulated nerve endings that are located throughout it. It is also finding that more pain is sensed through these tissues than muscles.
Under normal circumstances layers of fascia glide easily on one another, keeping everything in a healthy state. However when movement is decreased the fascia actually starts to overproduce collagen and the area starts to get less and less mobile; resulting in potential increase of pain. This happens in an amazingly short period of time and if fact one fascial researcher, Dr. Robert Schleip of Germany, is now making sure to move every day to keep this from happening. You should consider the same!
In a recent documentary called The Mysterious World Under the Skin, you will find researchers all over the world coming to the same conclusions about the importance of movement for health of the fascia and reduction of pain. Although this video is fairly long, 42:25 min, it is well worth the watch. Here is the link.
If you don’t have the time or patience to watch the entire video, here are a couple of notable moments:
- 13:00 – Thoracolumbar Fascia and back pain
- 16:10 – Look at how the fascia changes in just 3 weeks with an arm being in a cast. This one will definitely make you put that extra cup of coffee down and head out the door to exercise!
- 23:18 – Emotional stress and fascia
- 25:10 – How our bones float in the fascia
- 32:15 – In addition to exercise, see how deep fascial massage can have a positive effect
- 39:40 – Our sympathetic nervous system
After now watching this video more than once, I am convinced that not only is daily movement a must but incorporating Essentrics is one of the best ways to do so. Throughout the video the various scientists refer to active stretching. This is the definition of Essentrics! Of course there is the added benefit of strength with Essentrics in a non-aggressive way by using our own body weight to elongate, resulting in naturally getting stronger.
In my opinion, Essentrics is a no brainer and is available either in a live class, on PBS or through the Essentrics website. Do a combination of any of these so you can move eccentrically every day. Put down that coffee, put on those workout clothes and give your body what it deserves!
One last reminder… if you have pain or are stiff, chances are your body didn’t get this way overnight so it is not going to miraculously change immediately. You need to commit today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life! Be patient with yourself but be diligent. You are worth it!