Being able to move is one of life’s simple pleasures. It allows us to get out of the way of danger and gives us the ability to gather what we need and find what we seek. It gives us our independence, autonomy and control.
Bodies are meant to move. Movement enhances connectivity of brain and body and teaches us who we are, what we can withstand and how far we can go. It is the body that wires the brain and the brain that directs the body’s movements. From the time we are a tiny embryo, it is movement that creates and defines the various structures that make up the musculoskeletal and connective tissue systems. Cells differentiate into muscles, tendons and bones, supported and surrounded by the fascia. This connective tissue is within every system of the body. It allows us to move, and movement gives us flexibility, strength, coordination, power, balance and functionality. This equips us to respond to our environment, avoid danger and handle the stresses of life.
Our brain protects us by signaling us to reflexively withdraw from a painful stimulus. Acute injuries require immobilization and rest but once the acute phase is over, movement enhances healing. The very thought of moving an injured part of one’s body is unbearable at times but studies show connective tissue is preserved when early movement takes place. It helps to clear the area of inflammatory products, increases circulation, enhances oxygenation and forces the connective tissue elements to return to normal.
The brain loves movement and rewards us for it by releasing endorphins, GABA, anandamide and oxytocin into our pleasure hotspots. This turns on higher brain reward circuits and creates a feeling of well-being. Thus the pleasure of movement has the power to replace pain.