Here’s the deal: I am sure we have all felt this at one time or another, or maybe even daily. Once we sit down for a while, something changes. In fact everything changes. Our mind, our cells, our expectations, and desires. Suddenly we want inertia, coffee, sugar, comfort, happy hour, or maybe even a nap.
If this sort of thing goes on and on, it can be the start of a trend that gets us into trouble. We want more of it! Meanwhile, our muscles are sitting there, and our nervous system is reinforcing all the usual moves that we make. This becomes our comfort zone.
It works like this: Whatever you do the most of gets reinforced. Then, when you go to do something you haven’t done in awhile, it can feel awkward, foreign, or uncomfortable, maybe even involving some aches and pains. You may end up going back to your comfort zone. In that comfort zone, however, your “normal” may involve chronically short or tight muscles, various weaknesses, and compensations that can contribute to feelings of lethargy or pain.
I know this sounds grim, but if you can apply some awareness to this, you can make a focused effort to do something about it. The focus involves thinking about two main things.
- Find ways to move outside your comfort zone. Meaning, have a program that involves making moves that counter what your body normally does. For example, you can move upwards, sideways, in circles, back and forth, using balance, and stretching your backside and sides.
- When you move differently, do so with intent. If you do random movement you may tend to just reinforce what already feels good to you. Another thing: No flinging! Apply some purpose to each move so that you can feel what part of your body is involved, and in what way. Going more slowly will also give more muscles a chance to participate.
The point: You want to make sure that what you do helps your body move better. This reset is what gives you more energy. And then, you ROCK!
Here are 3 moves and 2 stretches as examples of things you can do to start moving differently. These take only a few minutes, but can really help. Check out my example pictures below.
- Ankle circles: Stand tall on one foot, lift the other, and circle your ankles 10 times each way. You can hang on if your balance needs help, but try not to. Standing tall can help with balance. Do the other ankle.
- Upper-cuts with pivot: Stand tall with arms bent 90 degrees, elbows into your sides. In one move, pivot to the left while punching up with your right arm. The arm movement comes from your shoulder and the arm stays bent 90 degrees as it moves though the punch. Pivot to the right side and punch with the left arm. Go back and forth 10 times.
- Slight squat with alternating side bend: Squat with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Stay down in the squat as you push one arm up overhead and to the side as you bend your torso directly to that side. Do the same arm move and side bend to the other side. Keep alternating 10 times.
- IT Band stretch: Stand with one side to a wall. Take the outside leg and cross it over the wall side leg. Reach the outside arm up overhead and toward the wall. Hold for 8 slow breaths. Do the other side in the same manner.
- 90/90 stretch: Find a chair or counter top that you can hang on to. Put your body in a 90-degree angle so that you feel a good stretch all along the back of your legs and torso. Keep your back flat, not rounded. Hold for 8 slow breaths. You can then round your back slowly in order to come up from this position.
PS. You can use these in most settings…at home, at the office, at the gym and they will only take a few minutes. In fact, its good to integrate movement into as many settings as you can. Another hint: You can also use these for a warm-up.
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