Are you tired of NOT moving for hours from your desk/computer because you are caught in the never ending list of e-mails, meetings or calls? Are you desperate to go out and yet, by the end of the day, you tell yourself that is already too late, you are too tired and ask yourself what’s the point to move now?
The nowadays modern life brought us the un-movement, a gift longed by our predecessors’ generations maybe, but which, lived lately on a too large period of time, became a flagellum that brings us nothing but tiredness and even disease in the long run. “Just few days of sedentary lifestyle are sufficient to induce muscle loss, neuromuscular junction damage and fibre denervation, insulin resistance, decreased aerobic capacity, fat deposition and low-grade systemic inflammation” says professor researcher M. Narici et al. in an article published in European Journal of Sport Science, 2020.
It seems that sitting all day has been even linked to development of several diseases, from obesity, heart diseases, high cholesterol, or metabolic syndrome. And not to talk about the mental health damages created by sedentary, which are linked to depressive symptoms and worse cognitive function.
Knowing that, how that would sound for you remembering that moving your body you can improve your physical and mental health? How that would be for you to remember that mind and body are secretly connected and that moving your body you can move your emotions while your body signature can make the difference for your wellbeing?
What is good to know is that the research advanced a lot in the last decade in the field of wellbeing through body-mind health practices. The beauty of these discoveries is that they allow shaping the idea that wellbeing can be trained through brain building interventions.
Amongst the brain building interventions which can enhance wellbeing in your life, we have chosen to focus the attention on: exercising, yoga and dance and movement therapy.
Generally speaking, physical activity triggers changes in neurotransmitters and neurogenesis which is the capability to connect, in some specific areas of the adult brain, more neurons, increasing plasticity abilities (Garcia-Segura, 2009). Therefore, exercising is incredibly beneficial because it increases the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and noradrenaline, stimulates growth factor and blood flow, and stimulates adult neurogenesis. Although the mechanisms regarding neuroplasticity are still being researched, there are studies confirming that repeated patterns of neuronal connections could lead to changes in brain structure, such as gray matter volume (Boyke, Driemeyer, Gaser, Buchel, & May, 2008; Draganski et al., 2004; Draganski et al., 2006, Dayan & Cohen, 2011). According to evidence-based research, physical activity is linked to profound benefits for brain structure and function (Foster, 2015), by reducing stress and improving wellbeing (Penedo & Dahn, 2005).
Yoga regular practice with its both components – physical and meditation – also impacts the brain by increasing the gray matter in areas responsible for attention, self-relevant processing, and stress regulation, as studies show. According to the research, certain brain changes persist even after years of practice, as proved by the link between increased yoga experience and increased brain volume in areas supporting autonomic integration, emotional processing and regulation, conducting to feelings of joy and peace.
A study conducted by Professor Stanley Sai Chuen from Chinese University of Hong Kong based on 113 week yoga class suggests that yoga could improve the lower limb strength, flexibility and self-perception of mental well-being of students who are new to yoga practice. Based on Rita B. Domingues article published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Journal, 2018, it seems that although yoga studies are still scarce, most research observes increasing trends in the promotion of positive mental health indicators due to yoga practice.
Dance and Movement Therapy – a newer method in the field of bottom-up approaches to body-mind health is defined as “the therapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual, and social integration of the individual.”(The European Association Dance Movement Therapy). A dance movement therapist will analyse body movement to understand where the clients are and will propose movement interventions based on the principle of entwined connection between mind and body.
A study conducted by Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland with an article published in 2020 in Front. Psychology, arrived to the conclusion that application of creative and experiential group treatments, such as Dance and Movement Therapy will enhance and improve the depression treatment effects. Another study on Effects of Dance and Movement Therapy and Dance on Health Related Psychological Outcomes shows clearly “improved affect related psychological conditions by decreasing anxiety and depression levels, and increased quality of life and cognitive skills”.
You might have known many of the aspects we have brought you here, we just wanted to remind you that there are choices you might wish to make in a more intentional, conscious effort.
And when you look to all those evidence proofs around the possibilities of bringing joy, happiness and wellbeing, you might wish to make a bold move: THE MOVE that will make you embodying the everyday miracle under your eyes – connecting your mind with your body.
I wish you MOVEMENT in your life!
Career and Life Coach