And the answer is.... CIRCULATION! How exciting is that? I am sure you have blood circulation, or you would be dead (hence probably not reading this I'm guessing). But is all of your body receiving great, fresh blood circulation? Imagine your pinky toe. All the cells from your head to your pinky toe are fed from the oxygen in your blood. And, this is also how our bodies remove waste.
How do you get better circulation? It is actually very simple. Not easy, but simple.
Unkink your hoses. If the blood is going along the blood highway (the circulatory system) and there is a kink in a hose (a blood vessel), then not as much blood will get sent out to the little roads (the capillaries) off the highway. Hoses and highways and blood totally go together for a complete picture I think. Anyway, let's have nice straight path for the blood to get through to the hands and feet. Think of your neck, arms and legs as hoses. Arms and legs bent less will unkink your hoses more often. Put another, more simpler way might be to say - stand up more of your day and let the blood flow pour through wide open hoses!
Let the muscles PULL the blood vs. your heart pumping it all. Your muscles and bones can do a lot of good stuff for you. I think you can roll with that, no convincing required. However, you might not realize HOW MUCH they are responsible outside of the basics of holding up your body and moving. The muscles also nourish the nerves, deliver oxygen, store water for cellular health, and store glycogen so your blood sugar is regulated. However, to function optimally the muscles need to be at the correct length. Not too short and not too long. Most of us don't need to worry about the too long part. Anywhere in your body where the muscles are too tight, they are not able to do all that they can do for you. (think slower metabolism, less circulation, more waste build up and lower bone density). Plus, when your muscles are at the optimal length and innervated, they are delivering blood out to that pinky toe vs. your heart having to push it there. Cool eh?
Move. Your. Body. Of course that will help circulate the blood. Again, don't think heart pumping, thing muscles pulling. The most benefit is from moving your body in new ways, stimulating new muscle contractions to pull blood into areas that might be starving. Often the same muscles are used over and over and many are never used. Don't believe me? Try lifting your pinky toe by itself. Side note; intense cardio is SHOCKINGLY not the way you want to get to your cardiovascular health. Movement is good. Intense cardio actually will cause damage to the blood vessels. I know that concept is not always well received, to say the least, but I have now said it out loud and will look for the burning crosses in my yard.
When we age, our cells are dying or not replicating identically. That is cellular death, aging and disease. Our cells are fed oxygen. That is why circulation is so critical. If the cells don't get fed regularly, they suffer and we age and degenerate at a more rapid pace. When our muscles are not at the correct length, they are not able to be at their strongest and they are weakened or "unplugged". That is the slowing of our metabolism.
There is much more to be said about all of this, but if you understand that your human machine is fed from blood circulation and you want any form of health improved, consider unkinking your hoses (alignment), proper stretching (pull the blood), and regular, non intense movement. More? If you read this and want specifics on anything for anyone, let me know. Also, check out Katy Bowman's blog, Katy Says.com or her alignment snacks, and come see me for a session. Happy circulation day! Not really, but it could be? Let's do it!