This I Believe…
- This I Believe in the importance of movement both physical and intellectual. Physical movement is when one moves their body by using their skeletal muscles. Examples of physical movement are going for walks, runs, working out on at the gym with lifting weights, riding a bike, stretching, really any way the body is set in motion is physical movement.
- Intellectual movement is how mentally flexible someone can be. This means the ability to learn, adapt, change, create, innovate, build, think, emote, reason, rationalize, synthesize, analyze, communicate, make right connections, and power knowledge. It is also the ability to quickly make right decisions and predict good plans for the future. If we lacked intellectual movement, and our minds were still, we could not be the humans we are meant to be.
- I have been a dancer my whole life. Dance challenged me physically because dance requires one to move their bodies in unique ways. Jumping, leaping, turning, and stretching are not common in the average day. Dance also challenged me intellectually remembering movements and corrections and applying them to my body. I had to make connections from my brain to my body. Recently, I have had to stop dancing due to an injury. I try to incorporate physical and intellectual movement into my daily routine but it is not the same as dancing every day. I have noticed my mind is not challenged in the same ways, my body is not pushed to the limits, and my overall health has seemed to change due to the lack of movement.
- Similar to my situation, many athletes have the same issues once they retire or are out due to an injury. Multiple Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe, Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon, and double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes are just a few athletes who have made their depression public after their retirement from professional sport. Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard quoted, “Nothing could satisfy me outside of the ring…there is nothing in my life that can compare to becoming a world champion, having your hand raised in that moment of glory with thousands, millions of people cheering you on.” Now, why do athletes feel this way? For many, exercising and competing has been a way of life since they were young and once that is over many do not know what to do. This is called Tunnel Vision Syndrome. This is what can cause depression. Furthermore, physical exercise can help ease depression and anxiety due to the release of endorphins. So when athletes stop playing a sport they miss out on the endorphins from lack of physical movement and they suffer from tunnel vision from stopping all of the intellectual movement related to their sport.
- Finding ways to be active both physically and intellectually has numerous health benefits. It is a necessity that I, other retired athletes, and really everyone find ways to get the movement needed for bodies and minds. One issue that is present in today’s society is many people would rather sit and watch TV or Netflix or play video games than getting the movement they need. Dr. Levine from the Mayo Clinic says, “excess sitting is now linked with 35 diseases and conditions including obesity, hypertension, back pain, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression.” Going for walks at lunchtime, standing up and stretching, completing crossword puzzles, or going to the gym a couple times a week can really help one’s overall movement improve. Many cannot find the inspiration or willpower to start exercising; one solution would be to find a friend, spouse, or coworker who can help push each other. Dr. Levine says, “once people are up and moving, they never go back.” Health gets better with movement and productivity does as well.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or HHS says less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity a day and only 1 in 3 adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. Children seem even worse! Nowadays, children spend more than 8 hours a day in front of a screen and only 1 in 3 children are physically active every day, according to the HHS. This lack of movement concerns me, especially for the children. The center for disease control and prevention or CDC states activity can have an impact on cognitive skills, attitudes, and academic behavior. Exercise increases oxygen flow to the brain, increases brain neurotransmitters, and helps to assure the survival of neurons in areas of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking. Exercise also prevents the diseases and other issues, we discussed earlier, from occurring in children. Creativity has also seen a decrease in children because of the lack of exercise. The Washington Post says, researchers who have tracked children’s creativity for 50 years are seeing a significant decrease in creativity among children for the first time, especially younger children from kindergarten through sixth grade. This decline in creativity is thought to be due at least in part to the decline of play. Instead of having children play on iPads, play video games, and watch TV, we should make them get exercise as which will actually benefit them the most.
- Another aspect of improving movement is turning off electronics once in a while. Time Magazine says Smartphones can be a valuable tool for getting fit with the countless amount of apps they have. They can count steps, play fitness videos, help to track our progress and connect us with workout buddies and coaches, both real-life and virtual. But when it comes to phone use during a workout, recent research suggests a few reasons to leave your device alone: Texting or talking on the phone while exercising can worsen balance and workout intensity. This is similar to computers and TVs, just turn it off and get some movement!
- Our bodies and minds are built for movement and movement helps us to stay healthy. Making sure you get moving physically and intellectually can be really beneficial. I hope one day to get back to dancing, but for now, I am finding other ways of exercising that works for me. Some things are going for walks, taking a yoga class, going to the gym and those benefit me physically, Intellectually I challenge myself with reading and writing which I have grown to really like. And turning technology off once in a while really helps me and reminds me to get moving. Finding ways that work for you and things that can be incorporated every day, both physically and intellectually can really change your life for the better.
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