Friday, April 25, 2008

Sit Down and Be Quiet . . . Not

When our kids were younger, my husband used to joke, “We spend the first year teaching them to walk and talk and the next four years to sit down and be quiet.” It’s a bad joke with serious implications for all of us. Like most parents, we were uncomfortable with our kids’ squirming and antics in public, so we urged stillness. Then I became a Structural Integrator and learned that stillness is the root of old-age aches and pains. I’ve been trying to counteract my earlier mistakes ever since by educating people about the benefits of movement.

The body is designed to move. Movement nourishes joint and cartilage, activates the lymph system, and even promotes effective digestion. With stillness, we starve our bodies of needed vitality. No wonder old age aches, and pains, stiffness, and stillness are synonymous.

Now I highly encourage wiggling to free the shoulder blades from the ribs, relieve stiffness in knuckles, and release sticky spots from the spine. You can undertake specific exercises like undulations or just pretend that you’re a five year old anxious for recess. (Aren’t you?)

I wish I had told my boys to avoid disturbing the people around them, to not be still, but make their movements small, almost unnoticeable. That would be a valuable skill, because their posture would be improved, their tissues nourished, and they could more easily sit through long meetings or their current college lectures.

Please feel encouraged—as encouraged as a baby taking your first steps—to stay active and vital. Spread the word, too.

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