Eat, Sleep, and Play

Our bodies were designed for natural movement but we lose the ability the more we adapt to culture (like sitting in chairs and wearing stiff and tight shoes). The more we adapt, the more mobility we lose.

To test this for yourself, try a simple experiment. How easily can you get down to the floor and up again? How many ‘props’ do you need, including bracing your hands or elbows on your thighs, holding on to a chair, or pressing your hands into the floor?

Children don’t have a problem getting up and down (unless they have a physical problem, of course). Babies spend a good deal of their time trying to stand and then falling back down again.

Now, assuming you had some difficulty with getting down and up from the floor (and I’m assuming you did just because most adults do), how old were you when you first began to notice you were becoming less agile?

We assume our loss of strength and mobility is because of aging, but really it is because we stop moving. That is all there is to it, really.

In Nia dance movement classes, I remember hearing groans when lead the participants in quickly getting down to the floor and up again. They are fine when it comes to the end of the class and they know they are going to be on the floor for awhile, but to quickly drop to the floor for a moment is often a challenge for a group of regular exercisers and movers.

To sum it up, our tool-using, comfort driven lifestyle has resulted in deterioration of the number and function of our muscles, as shown by our difficulty in doing basic natural movements like getting up from the floor unassisted. This affects our joints and our internal organs, and causes pain and disease. Our body machines, that wonderful design and masterpiece of engineering is ailing, just because we grew up and stopped playing.

And of course, you know that antidote to that.

And the photo above? I was in the watercourse following the little one, thoroughly enjoying splashing about. And today I was at the playground swinging on monkey bars with the kids. But I will admit freely that there is so much more room in my life for play.

This is a movement form I like to do. It is from Nia 5 Stages and takes you through a great floor play. Do this every day for a week and I guarantee you’ll feel more mobility and agility.


Plank Makeover

Plank Makeover

This is is a great tutorial for what to do (what not to do?) if you hyper-extend your elbows doing plank, or any type of arm extension with weight on them. It is particularly a good idea to break this habit because your muscles are not doing the work of supporting you and instead your weight is being supported by your ligaments. And those things wear out!


The New Cardio Workout

The New Cardio Workout

Your heart moves your cardiovascular system, right?

running womanYes it does, but did you know your muscles play an important role in driving your cardiovascular system? Muscles contract and relax and as they do, they drive blood into the smallest and remotest of your capillaries. The more muscles used to pull blood throughout your body, the less work your heart has to do to pump your blood.

Instead of thinking you need to do a ton of cardiovascular exercise for your heart you can think of your stretching program as lengthening (and growing) more muscle fibers.  Two big muscle groups that are short on almost everyone (because of how much we sit) are the hamstrings and calf muscles.

So, as you do your calf and hamstring stretches, imagine your muscles growing in length and the new capillaries this creates.  Now imagine these capillaries drawing blood into them much the same as a wick draws up oil in a lamp. And, you are doing a cardiovascular workout.