Fourth grade was the toughest three years of my life. (Well, it felt like three years, anyway...)
Fractions and decimals were introduced in math; in science class we had to learn about cells.
Paramecium and amoeba, along with all those long-named parts, like membrane and mitochondria, and my personal fave- endoplasmic reticulum! Wow, what a word!
Little did I realize that years later … no … YEARS and years later .. I would be
revisiting the world of cellular function to explain to my clients why they need to move more …naturally.
As it turns out, and as we’ve mentioned on occasion, and will continue to mention … cells require movement to stay healthy!
Compression and decompression are as important to a cell’s health as is its intake of nutrients and minerals. The fact is, you may eat the healthiest diet in the world, and yet still be malnourished through lack of movement. Part of this is because cells, like any other living physical structure, require healthy stress loads to maintain strength and integrity.
For instance, osteoporosis is as much a result of lack of tensile strength as it is a lack of calcium. Loading up on calcium will not make up for weight-bearing loads that encourage the cellular matrix to grow dense. Living tissue needs stress loads.
It’s part of the adaptive/evolutionary process.*
In addition to the role tensile loads play, there’s the electrical component to consider.
Cells are more than just little parts working in concert like a tiny clock, or, more accurately, like a tiny city. Cells "buzz”. They are electric. They have batteries (remember those mitochondria?) and they communicate with each other in frequencies (measured in Hz). The entire cell, according to Royal Raymond Rife “vibrates with an oscillatory rate”.
And how does this cell stay “charged”?
Partially through chemical reactions within it of potassium and zinc and iron and so-on … but also through piezoelectric properties.
In other words, when the cels experience compression and decompression, an electric charge (potential) is generated. This “charging of the cell” is as critical to its life as the nutrients and minerals it absorbs.
Which got me to thinking - I’ve read recently, and from several sources, that there are more memory cells in our intestines than there are in our brains. This doesn’t surprise me. I view the brain as a ‘mother board’ of sorts. It’s the processor with a certain amount of memory. But the bulk of the memory is RAM, found throughout the rest of our body.
If this be the case, then let’s link these two worlds together:
If movement is necessary for cellular health, and, If memory cells are located throughout our body (and not just in our brains, as previously held), then could it be that sedentary living is itself a cause for memory loss and dementia?
I know that may seem like a large leap, but if you follow the logic, it’s not that much of a jump at all.
Our body is home to 100 trillion microbes (both good and bad) that make up our microbiome, an ecosystem of bacteria that work together with our human cells. Most of these microorganisms reside in our gut, where they produce vitamins, regulate our immune system, improve digestion, relieve temporary inflammation, balance our blood sugar, and help us absorb nutrients.
Scientists are discovering that the bacteria in our gut may also have a large influence on our brain.
You see, the gut—often called the “second brain”—is home to the enteric nervous system, a vast network of millions of neurons that send and receive messages and respond to emotions (think of a “gut feeling”).
Studies now show that probiotics (the good guys) in the gut—which produce the majority of the body’s serotonin, along with other important brain chemicals—send messages and chemicals to the brain that may affect memory.
Furthermore, the vagus nerve is an information superhighway that extends from the brain stem all the way into the abdomen. Researchers are discovering that microbes in our gut can send messages and important brain chemicals via the vagus nerve to our brain, affecting how we think, feel, and remember. It seems to me that movement … natural movement … like walking and playing on the floor and dancing, would have a profound effect on the health and functionality of these memory-structures.
Maybe forgetfulness and what we call ‘dementia’ in the elderly is more of an atrophy which takes place when sitting all day in front of game shows.
And if that’s the case, what do we do about the new wave of entertainment that’s taken over the youth of today?
Yes, I’m talking about computer/video games.
When I visit my grandchildren, all I see of them is the top of their heads. Their faces are buried in their hand-held gadgetry. And when I look outside, I no longer see kids riding bikes, playing kick-ball or tag, or walking in the woods. They’re home … sitting in front of their computers playing “Minecraft”.
What's to become of this generation, with their senses dulled and their bodies turned off? What will the quality of their lives be in their 70’s and 80’s. Heck… in their 40’s?!
Movement … motion … activity … should be as much a part of our diet as fruits and vegetables (and ice cream. There, I said it!)
So - all that to say- if you want to stay mentally healthy, consider natural movement as a means to that end.
Therefore- since movement affects memory- remember to move!
(* G - The scientific term for this is mechanotransduction: “the process by which cells sense and then translate mechanical signals (compression, tension, fluid shear) created by their physical environment into biomechanical signals, allowing cells to adjust their structure and function accordingly.”. ~ Katy Bowman, 'Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement.'
It's important to note that this is a very localized event - in other words, with 7+ trillion cells in your body, it is possible that while some cells may get a lot of input, others may not get any, even if you're 'active'.)