Our bodies house about fifty trillion cells.
That’s 50,000,000,000,000 – yikes! That’s a lot! And there has been a frenzy of scientific study lately about these little guys and the role they play in our health and aging.
The science of “Signal Transduction” is the study of how your cells respond to environmental cues, and remarkably what we now know is that cells have “awareness” and innate intelligence, and respond to absolutely everything you experience, think, do and eat. Even your thoughts, beliefs, moods and emotions initiate a cascade of chemical activities in the body that control cellular health, survival or sentence a cell to death.
In overly unscientific, simplistic terms, when you’re joyful and fulfilled, so are the 50 trillion cells that occupy your body and happy cells work well together, thrive and live longer, and by extension, so do you!
If you believe that growing older means disintegrating, becoming useless, helpless and sick, it is likely you may diminish more quickly than one who holds the attitude that aging is simply adding a few candles to your birthday cake.
Becca Levy, associate professor at Yale University, conducted a study in 2009, subliminally exposing seniors to negative and positive views of aging and then asked them to perform various tasks. Those exposed to negative concepts of aging has poorer handwriting, slower walking speeds, even higher levels of cardiovascular stress. Those primed with positive images of old age, performed better and, remarkably, lived longer. Go figure . . .
How your think and what you believe matters – it matters a lot – and changes your body chemistry!
Here’s one simple strategy to help you gently switch your mindset to the positive and grow stronger, more resilient, energized and younger in body and spirit.
Include regular physical activity in your day.
I know what you’re thinking: “Who has time anyway?” But hold on. I am not proposing an hour of heavy gym time or cross fit several days a week. Over doing it can cause more harm than good.
Take little spurts of time throughout your day: five minutes here, 10 minutes there, a quick walk about at the office, a trip down and back up the stairs, a brief stroll outside. Get up when you’re talking on the phone – unless you have to take notes, your headpiece can go with you. Anything that gets you off your butt and onto your feet.
If you’re in front of the television, stretch, lift some hand weights, doing some jumping jacks, or just march in place for a minute or so rather than sitting and letting the bottom part of your body broaden.
It has been shown that movement (aka exercise) offsets depression, promotes emotional well-being, helps with sleep and relaxation, lifts your spirits, improves memory among other positive changes. And short “workouts” during the day have proven to be just as effective, if not more so, than one extended workout at the gym!
Take it Outside.
Nature is our natural healer. It clears the mind, drenches us in sunlight, refreshes the body, even has been shown to boost our creative potential. Get some outdoor time on your calendar – if it’s scheduled, you’re much more likely to follow through.
Start with just a little – especially if you’ve been a couch potato until now – and gradually build up over time as it feels better and more natural.
You’re not going to go from couch to marathoner overnight. Move enough to get the blood pumping. If you’re consistent in your efforts, increasing the time you spend will feel easy and natural. It may even put a little skip in your step.