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Why Motion is Lotion

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Yes, yes, we all know that exercise is good for us, but why?

Exercise is essential for cartilage health! What is cartilage and why do you need movement to maintain cartilage health?

Let’s explore.

What is Cartilage

To get to know your cartilage better let us personify the cartilage in your right knee and call her Dylan.

Dylan, like all cartilage, is a firm, rubbery tissue that acts like a cushion/shock absorber between bones. 

In the knee, cartilage is called a meniscus, and in the spine between the vertebrae, the specialized cartilage with a jelly-like centre is called a disc.

Like all living things, Dylan can only survive if she receives nourishment and can eliminate toxic waste products. If Dylan were a heart, a muscle, a kidney, the lining of the intestines or any other part of the body, she would receive nutrients after a meal from the intestines, oxygen from the lungs and, through a series of ever smaller blood vessels (arteries), these nutrients would be brought to Dylan.

Another set of tiny blood vessels would take Dylan’s waste products away. Through a series of ever larger blood vessels (veins), these waste products would be eliminated through the kidney in urine, the lungs as carbon dioxide, the intestines in feces and through the skin as sweat.

How to Maintain your Cartilage

But poor Dylan, being a cartilage, there are no blood vessels surrounding her to manage her needs.

So how does poor Dylan survive? She relies on her neighbour. Like all cartilages, Dylan is surrounded by fluid, synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint and is rich in nutrients. All Dylan has to do is somehow get the nutrients from the fluid around her to survive.
How does she do this? Dylan must be squished. Like a semi-rigid tube of lotion, you squeeze it, and the lotion comes out. You release the squeeze, and the lotion is sucked back in. How do you squish cartilage? You move the joint; you take Dylan for a walk. 

Every time you put weight on your left leg, Dylan is squished, and the built-up toxins squeeze out. Every time you release the weight on your left leg, Dylan sucks up nutrients.

Motion is Lotion

Without movement, without motion, cartilages cannot squish out their toxins or suck up nutrients and, like all living things, lack of nutrients and toxin build up eventually leads to the organisms demise. In Dylan’s case, it will lead  to joint degeneration, inflammation, arthritis, disc herniation, meniscal tears and possible joint replacements in the future. 

So next time you find yourself sitting, lying around for the umpteenth hour, think about poor Dylan and give her some lotion with a bit of motion.

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