• Dr. Marsha-Gail Davis

The Health Download with Dr. D: Move!

Wagwaan, beautiful people!

(Wassup/What’s up/What’s going on? in Jamaican patois)


Bad Gyal Dr. D is here. Jaaay Kaaay. I will leave that to Ri Ri...:)...but I will jump on the First Lady Michelle’s Let’s Move train!


It’s my pleasure to chat it up with you in this blogosphere! I’ll be sharing blog posts on the 6 measures, as we call them in Big Picture Living. I am following your lead and today I am starting off with the measure of “MOVE.”


Just a random shout of praise! I have been not only impressed, but also inspired by the energy of this community (the students, the advisors, the administrators, the leaders) during these several weeks of rolling out the Big Picture Living Challenge. My heart is thoroughly warmed seeing the power of community creating a potent, transformative and unstoppable culture of health that is setting us all up for greatness in the health area and in life in general.


So let’s talk about movement!

I think the best place to start is to ask the BODY to tell us what is really going on inside. So when I asked the body this question, this is what it told me.


Body:

You have to understand that I am MADE to move.

Point. Blank. Period.

Moving is breathing.

If I don’t do it, I’m going down, down, down.

I need it everyday so that I can be there for YOU!


Let me give you a specific example. If we sit for loooong hours, as would happen on a flight, something really interesting can start to happen. Blood pools into the veins and just sits there because it isn’t being pushed around by the muscles as would happen when we are walking, running, jumping, dancing...doing whatever kind of movement.


If the blood has been sitting for a really long time, it begins to COAGULATE! What does coagulate mean? Great question! It means the blood begins to change from a liquid state to a semisolid or solid state. Let’s speak in layman’s terms. Essentially, the blood begins to form a clot. In the medical world, if this occurs in your legs, we call it a DVT or a Deep Vein Thrombosis. If it travels from your leg to your lungs, we call it a PE or a Pulmonary Embolism. We tend to see this happen when ........ yeah, you guessed it, when we are immobilized for a considerable period of time like with a recent surgery on your leg and you may not be able to walk (and also in the setting of having blood that has a higher tendency to clot, which could be in the setting of cancer or a blood clotting disease). So, what I’m trying to tell you is that for ME, the body ----------> No movement = No bueno!


Our bodies know what’s up!


Our culture, on the other hand, does not. A big part of why our culture has become so damaging to us is that it engineers our normal behavior out of us! Craaaaazy right? It was a normal way of life prior to the mid-20th century to be constantly in motion as a culture. Our brilliance in creating technologies that have made our lives easier has unfortunately made it harder for us to remain healthy, which is the default mode of the human body when placed in normal conditions. Sedentary behavior is what we could consider a silent killer with a similar or even more worse impact than smoking. We know smoking kills but we may not have known that not moving our bodies kills, too!


Let me show you some DATA!


Below are two graphs from a 2012 paper published in the well-known journal, PLOS Medicine, by Steven Moore and colleagues.


The first graph (A) shows the impact of just moving from NO activity to just SOME activity. No marathon running here, no Ironman, and no one hour runs on the treadmill or the trail. Just doing 30 minutes of moderate physical activity like walking, leads to a clear decrease in risk of death!



It’s the opposite in the second graph (B) where the same amount of physical activity leads to more years of LIFE gained! What we clearly see here is a DOSE-response relationship where the more you do, the more benefit you get or the less you do, the more risk of dea… you know what, I’m not even going to focus on the negative.


Conclusion: Regular physical activity is essential for human health and so, family, we have to treat it like the lifesaver that it actually is! I’m so glad that we are making this an integral part of our daily lives together!


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