As we age, our bodies change, as does the quality of our lives. Growing old doesn’t have to be a dreadful process, but can be if we start to let go of our health. We don’t necessarily live the same lives as our ancestors—always on the move in search for food and shelter. No, instead modern life keeps us immobile, sitting for nine hours in front of a desk, on our computers, with our backs hunched over and only our fingers moving on that dreadful keyboard. This sort of lifestyle can leave us feeling aged beyond our actual years.
If we look a little closer, we see that depriving ourselves from moving and living an overall inactive life, really adds up to bigger problems for our health—mentally and physically. We experience a lack of mobility and just a general feeling of stiffness in the body. When you lack mobility, your daily physical performance goes down, while your risk of injury goes up. So, what are we to do with that 9 to 5 that offers us all those great benefits and security? We make the effort to increase our overall mobility! Yay!
With just a few minutes each day, you can work towards eliminating the effects of immobility. Remember, you must never push through any pain. Move only as far as you can without having any serious discomfort. Here are three things you can do to help increase your mobility.
1. Move them joints. The goal is to move each joint in a controlled manner through a full range of motion without the use of momentum. I highly recommend watching John Belkewitch’s two joint mobility exercise videos. The first one is joint mobility exercises for the neck and shoulder. The second video focuses on joint mobility in the lower body.
2. Hang from stuff. That’s right, remember when you were a kid and used to love hanging from just about everything? Well yeah, that’s what I’m asking you to do while you’re adulting (i.e. behaving like an adult). Hang from a pull-up bar, a tree, anything, it really doesn’t matter. You’re looking to stretch the lats and pecs, which will quickly improve movement in your shoulders. Basically, you’re looking for an overhand grip, elbows locked and shoulders are relaxed and hugging the ears.
3. Shit down—I mean sit down. When I traveled to India and did my yoga teacher training, I realized everyone sits down in squats; whether it be because they’re just hanging around, playing a card game, eating or, well, um…other necessary human activities. Squatting is not just a basic human movement, but an essential one. The ability to squat means you got healthy knees, hips and ankles. So whether you use weights or not, make squats part of your daily routine. Activate your glutes when coming back up, because weak glutes won’t allow you to stand back up without compromising the movement.
These minimalist exercises can easily be integrated into your daily life. If you are consistent, your body will slowly begin to open up and regain its youthful mobility! Keep in mind, this is a process, not a race. Take your time, breathe and enjoy the journey.
Peace & Love,
Anna & Nishia