Take a moment to answer the following questions…
- Do your chest and shoulders feel tight and restricted?
- Do you have difficulty squatting to the ground or standing up after sitting on the floor?
- When driving can you comfortably turn your head to check for cars before changing lanes or do you have to twist your upper body?
If your muscles feel tight and your movements are restricted, it’s time to take a look at your daily routine. Your body is constantly learning which movements, positions and muscle lengths are essential to your life.
As you sit all day, perform repetitive movements, or exercise incorrectly, your body is learning. Your nervous system programs this information into your body’s reflexes. Then, when you reach too far or perform an unusual movement, your body reflexively protects itself by tightening up to keep you safe.
In addition to the muscles feeling tight and reducing your flexibility, your joints can get stiff and lose motion similar to a rusty hinge. When dirt and rust build up inside a hinge, it can no longer move properly.
Similarly, a joint that is not moved through it full range of motion on a regular basis will lose mobility.
As long as you stay within this set range of activity things remain fine. Until one day you have to move quickly, outside of your normal range of motion and you find yourself injured. This could be something as simple as a strong sneeze, lifting a box off a high shelf, or reaching behind your back.
Your body was made to move in a variety of directions through a full range of motion with power, precision, balance and coordination.
As we age, we find ourselves getting “stuck in our ways”. This applies to more than just how we think, it also affects how we move. We have a tendency to find and repeat what’s comfortable. Work life keeps us stuck in a mental and physical rut.
Even exercise can become monotonous if you tend to perform the same movements or use the same machines. This repetitiveness can set you up for pain and injury.
Unfortunately, this is also happening to our children. They spend all day in class sitting at a desk, then they have homework, and instead of running around outside, they play on the computer/tablet/phone. This is leading to poor body mechanics at an earlier age.
When was the last time you:
- Climbed a tree
- Crawled on the floor
- Balanced on one leg
- Threw a ball
- Hopped a fence
- Went dancing
- Swung a bat, club, or racket
- Looked over your shoulder without turning your back and shoulders
- Took a full deep breath (not felt out of breath)
These are simple movements that a healthy body is designed to perform. If you haven’t executed them in a while, you may be losing musculoskeletal function and setting yourself up for injury.
Take a Minute and Try These Exercises
- Lie face down on the floor with hands above your head. Then roll onto your back and stand up, without using your arms.
- Balance on one leg for 30 seconds without wobbling. Then try the other leg.
- Touch your hands above your head and keep your arms straight, no bend at the elbow.
If you fail any of the above tests, then your body is experiencing a loss of musculoskeletal function. As your body loses mobility, strength, and balance you are headed toward pain and injury.
Use It Or Lose It!
Find easy ways to break free and disrupt the physical patterns in your life.
- If you have a child, get down on the floor and play with them. This will challenge your body with a variety of movements.
- If you exercise at a gym, pick a day and do all of the machines that you don’t usually use. Or, make a new friend and agree to follow their workout for the day.
- Take a yoga class or try a new exercise class.
- Learn a mobility routine and incorporate into your daily schedule.
- Practice balancing on each foot for a minimum of 30 seconds. When that gets easy, try it with your eyes closed.
- Try using your non-dominant hand for everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, shaving, and eating.
- Spend time hanging from a bar.
- Switch up your body position during the day. If you sit, make sure to stand 5 minutes each hour. Don’t stay in any position too long without shifting your weight or changing positions.
- Practice sitting in a full squat.
- Grab a ball and practice throwing it overhand, underhand, left arm and right arm.
Give a few of these a try to break the monotony of daily repetitive movement and breathe new life into your muscles and joints.
If you find the above ideas too difficult or want a scientific way to remove any pain when attempting these exercises, then I’d recommend checking out my Back Restoration System.