The Peristalsis Analogy
You certainly have heard the old adage, “Energy begets energy”. To gain energy, you must do energetic things. Kind of a Catch 22 isn’t it? Perhaps you are saying, “I just don’t have the energy to get started”. “So, how can I gain energy”?
Have you ever noticed when some friends, neighbors or relatives sit around after retirement get sickly or even die? Unfortunately, many ultimately die quickly following a daily work regimen they had for years. If a person stays busy with various body motions, the body stays alive. When a sedentary life is introduced, the body shuts down.
There is an interesting physiological fact here. The body has an “if you don’t use it, you lose it” theory. The human body was designed for motion and even certain physical stresses to be put upon it. The heart thrives on physiological stress or strengthening. The vascular system otherwise becomes clogged with plaque and other damages without motion. Bones become brittle because there is no stress put upon them. Bones harden based on stresses and strains. A person walking around with excessive weight will never have osteoporosis just by virtue of body weight. Even though, I am not advocating excessive weight gain, I am making a point about the additional weight put on the body by gravity causing the stress from weight to harden bones. Conversely, excessively skinny people have limited gravity because of lighter weight and therefore, they are the first to have bone loss or osteopenia. These people must have some kind of anaerobic resistive exercise to harden bones. General metabolism for the entire body is improved with simple and varied movements. It is surprising even what moderate walking can do for the various physiological features of the body including bone integrity.
To emphasize and understand this energy concept, I would like to compare this to a feature in the intestines called peristalsis. Peristalsis in the intestines is the snakelike motion that propels digested food through the body. It happens automatically without thought. Without it we would die. When a surgeon does any kind of open abdominal surgery, peristalsis stops. During an appendectomy, hernia correction, or any kind of surgery where the surgeon touches the intestines, they stop peristalsis or the motion just because they are touched. Actually, the intestines in a sense think your dead when the intestines are touched. Following the surgery, there is a bloatedness and gas pains that occur because nothing is moving. No peristalsis. When this happens when digested and undigested foods ferment and the pressure builds because of the lack of motion. It is a necessary task for hospital staff is to get you on your feet and start moving you or walking you as soon after surgery as possible. It is painful and stressful but essential to “tell” your intestines you are not dead. The body’s motion gets the intestinal peristalsis going again.
I use this same theory as an analogy to what happens in the entire human body when motion stops over a period of time. When you stop moving, body parts are not receiving information needed for proper metabolism. If a gland or organ is not used in the body, it basically shuts down. It does not even require vigorous motion most of the time to acknowledge this metabolic boost. Some people run, some walk, some jump up and down on a mini trampoline. Some swim, some do various types of aerobics or yoga. Some experience the various types of equipment in gyms such as treadmills, stair climbers, etc. Everyone can find something to make them move and ultimately affect the body’s metabolism and stimulate the living mechanisms. We must move to have good health. We must move to stay alive. We have to tell the body through activity, we are not dead. The best medicine for longevity is activity. I have seen people with deplorable diets, poor lifestyles, and bad nutrition live ripe old ages. Why? In spite of bad environmental conditions and many poor choices of living, they still move daily. It keeps them alive! They don’t sit around and watch TV all day. Conversely, I have seen many fine people in healthy environments that seem to eat and supplement properly. They seem to have had a good and healthy life without stress. But they sit around after retirement. Many die prematurely because they stopped moving. Body parts, glands and organs were not motivated by these people to work properly because of a sedentary life style.
Indeed, the human body needs movement. Even where there may be physical deformities, injuries, or difficulties, there is always something that can be done in the way of movement.
Of course, we all should seek the best foods, live in clean environments, use the best supplements, have good sleeping habits, and drink plenty of water. But if longevity is desired, some type of regular movement of the entire body is necessary. It has also been studied and determined that the motion I am referring to should be somewhat moderate to vigorous. This may not be achieved immediately. Taking time to build-up energy and metabolism can take some time. It’s all worth it to have a longer life in good health.