Did you know that your body never stops growing (and I’m not talking about around the middle)?
It’s true! And while I may never grow the extra two inches my mom kept promising I would in college, the cells inside my body (and yours) are constantly renewing.
Almost every single cell in your body will be replaced at some time. I say almost because there are certain ones that you are born with that never turnover, such as brain cells and the lenses in your eyes.
But for every other cell in your body, at some point (on average, about 2 years), it will have served its time and will need to be replaced. Which means that we always have the opportunity to create change in the body, even if it’s just one cell at a time!
New cells are basically a carbon copy of the cell they are replacing.
A skin cell cannot suddenly decide to be a liver cell, which, when you think about, is a smart system. Growing liver cells on your elbows could become problematic very quickly. These carbon copy cells also copy any features of the old cell.
Take your skin for example – if you have moles or freckles, they aren’t constantly roaming and moving all over your body as cellular turnover happens. The freckle and the moles stay put because the new cells are exact copies of the old cells they are replacing.
So how do movement and mobility play into this? Well, your muscle and connective tissues are a part of this constant renewal of your body.
If you have an area of myofascia (muscle and its related fascias) that hasn’t been moving for a while, it can become quite stiff and immobile.
An overgrowth of collagen (yes the same stuff that you want in your face) begins to stiffen the area in order to maintain the status quo. If nothing changes movement wise, the stiffness will persist with each round of cell turnover.
Which means we should always be aiming for gradual increases of movement, instead of the opposite. These tiny changes will continue to signal to the cells that more movement is needed, with the hope that the next replicated cell will begin fall in line.
This is the microscopic explanation of “use it or lose it”, but what I hope that you take away is that every bit counts when it comes to the body.
So yes, taking the stairs counts and so does wearing shoes that give your feet more freedom.
And while aging does affect how quickly the cells turn over in your body, they are still turning over. So don’t accept the excuse of “old age” as a reason you can’t do something and instead figure out how you can break it down into small enough tasks that ARE possible for you.
As long as you continue on the path of a little more movement every day, you’ll be set!
PS Whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you move better and feel better this year.
- Join the AE Wellness Body Nerds and connect with other movement nerds on a quest to make self-care easy.
- Join me for my free online class, Movement Managed: How to Move Better and Feel Better, Every Day and learn how to stop feeling exhausted, stressed out and completely disconnected from your body.
- Make your health and well-being a priority by starting with 15-days of mobility, movement, and mindfulness with the Self-Care Startup Guide. Learn more about the Guide here.