Move it or lose it

By: Richard Bruce

I see so many health and movement issues in my clients that are driven by lack of movement, or single repetitive movements. The simple notion of moving more can feel too hard with ever increasing demands on our free time. All this busyness drains the brain which makes the body feel tired, yet the whole body hasn’t likely moved much at all. So ask yourself – how much of your body are you moving and how often?
Now think about what your body is capable of and how often you actually use all those capabilities.
Our body is very smart. If you need it to sit 90 percent of the time, it’s going to make you really great at sitting – it will shorten muscles, slow down your metabolism to save energy, and it even can limit your bathroom breaks, which can trigger constipation and bloating. But what happens when, on occasion, we ask our body to get active? If we have not allowed it time to adapt to these functions, it can trigger a course of events that brings injury, pain and other stresses such as chronic inflammation and immune overload. No wonder Netflix is more tempting!
So let’s instead focus on this – what do you want your body to be able to do? Let’s take your neck, for example. Would it be fair to say you spend more than 80-90 percent of your wakeful time with your head facing forwards? How often do you look straight up to the sky? How often do you turn your neck – not your upper body, just your neck – fully left or fully right?
If you are like most of us, then I’d take a guess at not that often. If we don’t regularly move to our body’s full range, we can become burdened with pain and movement dysfunctions – in this case, through our neck and upper thoracic.
So how about all those other joints then – feet, hands, ankles, wrists, spine and shoulders. Are you really moving those?
Even if you exercise regularly, are you mindful of what you’re asking your body to do, or are you missing some key components that would benefit your training programme? Are you a runner but do little or no hanging or climbing? Are you a golfer or cricketer and need to “unwind” your spine from the 100s of swings or from bowling in one plane of motion? Are you a swimmer and need to have more load bearing exercises on your joints?
Making our body do more balanced movement and activities on a daily basis will provide better mobility, better system functions and even better energy. Those of you that already exercise, keep enjoying what you love but fill in any movement gaps before issues appear that could prevent you from doing other things.
Instead of doing one thing 90 percent of the time, keep mixing it up and keep your body moving. After all, variety is the spice of life.


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