- Exercise & Fitness
Why Movement Aids Your Immune System
Movement Heals You - Health and Long Life SERIES
When eggs were not in a barnyard, when meat was not on the spit, when vegetables were in the ground, when liquid was where you found it --- we spent our days on the move.
When we were meat for predators, when our neighbors were not necessarily our friends, when there were no ambulances and when bruises and bumps and abrasions were normal and losing your loved ones to nature and all of its many challenges was expected - we spent our days on the move.
When clothing was not on a rack, when shoes were not Nike, when hats could save your tenuous existence over night, when a sharp pointed anything was the way you kept breathing - we spent our days on the move.
You Better Get Inflamed, Or You DIed
When we were in this state and we were wounded and hurt and infected, it was important to get an inflammation. That's right. Today we look at inflammation as bad in our clinical universe, but killing off bugs that were feeding on your pus, as you stayed on the run. was how you survived. If you didn't get an inflammation to kill of the bugs, that made you red and swollen, you could be dead by the next sunrise. You had better get inflamed, or you DIED.
The body is an incredible act of divine intelligence that is so marvelously complex, Laboratories and Doctors will be studying this creature of movement for centuries. Right now, they are realizing more and more that this act of "Healing On The Run" is the way of Health. Your body uses both inflammatory AND anti-inflammatory elements at the same time, as you move through your day. (Or don't move, which is the case of the modern human).
There is no such element in our historical and evolutionary past in which there was a way to stop, lie in bed, take a teaspoon of medicine and you will be better in the morning. Oh that was inevitable, but mostly that was for later. Our bodies, it turns out are incredible mechanisms. And the prescription? KEEP MOVING. For this was the way we survived. The people who could not move on were dead the next morning. The people who moved on go the advantage of the interplay of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory elements that orchestrated together -- healed us.
You Can See It In Hospitals Everyday
If you have spent any time in hospitals you will see people who just been through major surgery. One of their first regimens? Start walking down the halls. "Get them exercise". This obviously is not new knowledge for Medicine, but the average person should start appreciating the magical importance of the act of exercise movement.
IL-6 - The Great Orchestrator of an Array of Healthy Responses
"While inflammation is often thought of as destructive, it is actually a closely orchestrated event that first produces pain, redness, swelling, heat, and tissue destruction, but then is followed by repair. Over the millennia, the human body evolved and used acute inflammation to heal, repair, and regenerate itself. Movement was an essential part of this healing and regenerative process. The unique anti-inflammatory effects of movement have been circumvented in the modern era. With the arrival of the industrial and technological revolutions, human movement came to a crawl. This left inflammation unchecked by the anti-inflammatory and growth-stimulating effects of exercise." From the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Nov, 2006 by Jade Teta
To continue: "Every time the body moves, muscles release signaling molecules that communicate to the rest of the body. The endocrine properties of muscle, like fat, have been confirmed. (3,4,6) In the case of muscle, compounds called myokines are released in response to voluntary contraction. Myokinesarecytokines, yet are derived specifically from muscle. These myokines give instructions to the body about how to function, and they hold the key to controlling chronic inflammation. The most important myokine related to muscle and inflammation is Interleukin-6 (IL-6). When muscle contracts, IL-6 is released."
To sum it up: IL-6 used to keep our inflammatory responses at bay, in our efforts to survive. Now, that we are so "ADVANCED", we are in a constant low-level state of inflammation, from whence come our "modern diseases" that kill us off quite continuously and more than that cause lots of suffering. Why? Because we are not moving, as in days of old, and now do not have the IL-6 releasing into our systems on a daily basis.
Low Grade States of Constant Inflammation - Fertile Ground for Modern Disease
There is new evidence and theorizing that the modern diseases that ravage our middle and old age, and more and more our young age spring from bodies that are in a constant state of low grade inflammation. IL-6, when secreted into our system from muscles to all parts of our body work first on this low grade inflammation. Exercise, it turns out, is basically an anti-inflammatory process. Yes, exercise can cause inflammatory states, but in the end of the process, the body seeks an anti-inflammatory state, largely because of IL-6.
More and more articles and researchers are realizing that exercise and IL-6 are orchestrators of health through complex processes involving hormones and immune factors, and metabolic factors. It used to be the old mantra was: "Excercise burns calories and it keeps your heart healthy." This appealed to athletes, weight losers, heart patients and the like. Now, more and more people are realizing that there are numerous health benefits that all people benefit from.
Immune Disorder Since Young
I have had an immune disorder since I was prepubescent. Naturally, the decades have instructed everyone more and more about immune disorders. Now, I tell my doctor that I feel like I have been in a slow death sentence all my life. Not agonizing. Painful and irritating and humiliating. My psoriatic arthritis is not a low grade inflammation, but a higher grade inflammation. I have been attacking a specific exercise regimen just for the reduction of the inflammation and the "feel good" qualities I have been getting. As I have been reading and researching, I am more convinced that this is a prescription that I will use as long as I can walk. I am acting like an ancient human. I tell myself: "Move, it will make you better. Slow down and stop and something inside will immediately start gaining on you." Christofer French is the Founder of Astrologygetalong.com and holds a Psy.D degree from California Coast University in Santa Ana, California.