We all want to be flexible. Flexibility is beautiful. Flexibility helps with injury prevention. Flexibility improves performance. People who have flexibility are graceful, fluid, and effortless in their movements.
But what creates flexibility? How can we gain flexibility and maintain flexibility?
How can you make this your best year yet?
I have 10 things you can do that I believe will help you make this your best year yet.
Nature designed a beautiful and fool-proof way for newborn infants to develop into strong and capable children and then adults. A newborn human baby goes from completely helpless to walking in the first year of life because of this beautiful process. During the first year of life, this process involves 10 sequential yet overlapping phases of physical development which I discussed here. When this process happens as nature intended it, we get healthy, strong, and happy toddlers.
There are however 10 things that can hijack your baby's physical development which can mean your baby is not as healthy, happy, or strong as they could be. When this development is hijacked, your child might be more susceptible to injury, obesity, and chronic pain throughout life.
We've all heard the saying "move it or lose it" but what do you do with that information and why is it the key to lifelong health?
Many people think move it or lose it means exercise regularly to maintain fitness. And while that is true, our health would benefit if we look at it much more closely. Our body is very specific and particular in how it responds to our environment. The human body is a stimulus response organism. That means your body responds to each and every stimulus it is exposed to. If we want to maintain our health and function, we need to move each and every part of our body through different and varied stimulus on a regular basis in order to maintain that function or not lose it.
To maintain ankle function we might want to take our ankle through the many different motions and demands it is designed to do. This could look like:
As humans, there are certain things we need for survival (food, water, shelter) and there are other things we need to thrive and be healthy. One very important thing we all need if we are to maintain good health and be happy is community.
Community is a unified group of individuals, brought together by common location, history, characteristics, circumstance, interests, or goals.
Humans are social beings and we need to feel love and connection to other human beings. A community give us support, encouragement, love, and a sense of belonging. This gives us the very important messages that:
Community is the antidote to isolation, loneliness, and low social status, all of which have been shown to lower a person's sense of well-bring, intellectual achievement, immune function, and overall health.
Yes, you read the title of this blog article correctly. As miserable as chronic pain can be physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and in every other way, I believe there are some very important things you can be thankful for when you're in chronic pain.
When you stop fighting chronic pain and make peace with it, listen to it, and use it for the reason it's there, everything gets better. If you are in chronic pain, as painful as it can be, stop for a minute and be thankful that your body is talking to you, your body has the ability to heal itself, and you are in charge of that process.
If you haven't read the other three blog posts related to this (how the body works as a unit and how foot and leg posture influence each other, how spine and shoulder posture influence each other), you can read them here and here and here.
In this blog post, I am going to continue the discussion of how the body works as a unit and specifically how the hip, pelvis, and spine influence each other. You will be able to understand and feel this relationship with 3 simple experiments...
If you know me or are a regular reader of my blog you have heard me say many times "the body works as a unit" or "the foot bones connected to the leg bone". I am a big believer that the body is a unit (which is a fact) and that you must treat the body as a unit. Every week I talk to new clients who explain they've been to multiple doctors, surgeons, sports medicine specialists, physical therapists, chiropractors, body workers, and other therapists and none of these experts have been able to help eliminate their pain.
The amazing thing to me is that most of these clients have no idea what is causing their pain or what they can do to become pain free even after talking to and working with many different experts. How can this be?
One very important key to health is variety. Variety of movement. Variety of activities. Variety of exercise. Variety of stimulus. It is often said, humans are creatures of habit. Why? Because doing many, if not most, of our daily activities unconsciously saves us time and mental energy. Evolutionarily this saving of time and energy allowed us to invent tools, control fire, and eventually invent cars, computers, the internet, and the new iPhone X.
Habit has great benefits, but also some downsides. Being creatures of habit means as we do the same things each day, we tend to move the same each day. We get out of bed the same way, brush our teeth the same way, our movements in the shower are the same every day, we park in the same place each day, walk the same route daily, do the same exercises at the gym, etc. This pattern of habit creates many imbalances in our body that can lead to injury and pain. Variety breaks this cycle and saves us from injury and pain.
Idiopathic means of unknown cause and often of spontaneous origin. Idiopathic back pain is back pain that doctors cannot explain because there is not obvious structural cause of the pain like a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or stenosis. Idiopathic back pain is the "diagnosis" given by doctors to patients that have chronic (over 6 months) back pain and they have been unable to figure out why. There is always a reason why however...
About Matt Whitehead
I'm an Egoscue University certified Postural Alignment Specialist (PAS) and Advanced Exercise Therapist (AET), certified personal trainer, PatchFitness performer, FiveFingers wearer, trail runner, cyclist, dad, music lover, environmentalist, hiker, and wanna-be slam dunk champion. I will be providing you with the latest posture exercises to help you live, play, and be pain free.