Why You Should Move It
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Face it, we live in a time where everyone is overworked, overcommitted, and dramatically overdone! So when we are advised to get out and “do something” to make ourselves healthy, it is perceived as one more thing to do, so we don’t.
When the animated feature Madagascar first came out on the big screen a few years ago, I was definitely intrigued by one of my favorite creatures of the wild, the lemur. Though the “king” of the lemur colony was a bit over the top in enthusiasm, he brought in a fresh perspective of just getting out there and having fun. The tagged song “I Like to Move It, Move It” has fast become a standard addition to any birthday, rollerblading, or in general kid-get-together — so much so, the sequel had the same song included. Maybe we could borrow just a hint of King Julien’s desire for having fun and incorporate it into a usable force for good in getting our families healthy.
The simple act of moving our bodies — arms, legs, torso, and neck — play a big part in releasing toxins from our bodies by way of the lymph system. Lymphatic vessels that run parallel to the blood vessels in the body are filled with lymph: a fluid containing white cells, chiefly lymphocytes, which is drained from tissue spaces by the vessels of the lymphatic system.
These lymph fluids play two different roles. First, they feed the body by transporting various nutrients such as salts, minerals, and proteins to every cell of the body. Second, lymph fluids transfer cell waste and debris that accumulate from normal cell function away from the cells and turn them over to the blood. The blood in turn carries the waste to the kidneys, lungs, colon, and skin for elimination.
It is the macrophages, large cells found in blood, lymph fluid, and connective tissues, that remove waste products, harmful microorganisms, and foreign material from the bloodstream. They engulf and destroy many foreign and toxic particles.
The lymph fluid travels to over 600 lymph nodes in our bodies, with a particularly large concentration found in the neck, groin, armpits, and abdomen. Lymph nodes also contain b lymphocytes (B Cell: a white blood cell lymphocyte, formed in bone marrow in mammals and present in blood and lymph, that creates antibodies in response to a specific antigen) that produce antibodies to protect the body from future viruses, bacteria, yeast, and other organisms. The lymph system can be thought of as the cellular toxin disposal system when it’s healthy.
In a healthy state, lymph nodes, bean-shaped glands, are about the size of an almond. However, when they are overloaded with excess toxins from partially digested proteins, highly refined foods, excessive sweets, and dairy, it increases lymphatic congestion and they swell, becoming painful. This occurs when the body experiences colds and infections as well.
Limiting improper foods improves lymph function. Lymphatic massage is one way to physically remove the toxins. Another way to keep the lymphatic system functioning properly is through regular physical activity. Like the Lemur, we need to move it, move it! Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump so it doesn’t move on its own. The contraction of the muscles in the body due primarily to movement keeps the lymph fluids flowing. If we don’t move, the toxins can overload and become hazardous to our health.
The following are said to be signs of an over-toxic lymph system:
- frequent, unexplained headaches or back or joint pain
- chronic respiratory problems
- sinus problems
- abnormal body odor
- bad breath
- poor digestion
- chronic constipation with intestinal bloating or gas
- brittle nails and hair
- adult acne
- unexplained weight gain over 10 pounds
- unusually poor memory
- chronic insomnia
- chronic fatigue
- environmental sensitivities especially to odors.
Please be sure to check with your physician before making any physical or dietary changes.
Now that you have one more reason to get out there and do something to make yourself healthy, put on the CD and 'Move It, Move It'.
Before beginning any new fitness program that requires a change in diet or exercise, it is recommended that you consult your physician for input. This informational series is not intended for medical or nutritional claims dependent on substantial clinical studies and FDA approval, and should not be construed as a claim for cure, treatment, or prevention of any disease. It is intended solely for information and educational purposes. Linda is not a physician or expert in the medical field. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for numerous years. The information given in these sessions have been derived from books and materials brought together over the years from many sources, including her personal life experiences.
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