Have you ever been too dirty for a shower? Explain to me then, why won't you work on your mobility?
I have never heard anyone saying that they are too dirty for a shower, but when it comes to mobility and flexibility it seems that we are OK with being really “dirty”. Why is that? And why do we think that this is some weird natural ability that some people have (ballerinas) and some don't (desk jockeys), and that you cannot really do anything about it? I hear my clients say things like “I was never very good at stretching” or “well, you know, I used to be OK as a teenager but after University I never really thought of it much – I guess it's just the age thing”.
So what is mobility? Mobility is “the ability to move or be moved freely and easily”.
This is what we wish to have for all of the joints in our body. However, reality looks much different. I see clients every day typically ranging in age from early 30's to late 40's whom are so stiff in their bodies that the simple act of going for an easy 5k run, gives them so much problem that they feel like a grandpa getting out of bed the next morning. Or, bending down to tie their shoes has become a real challenge. Upon testing them, it is very clear to see that they lack a lot of Range Of Motion (ROM). And I am not talking about some prima ballerina amazing ROM, No! I am talking about the basic ROM movements that we were born with, such as being able to do a proper squat, or bending down to touch your toes.
When we are not able to move freely the body must compensate. Anatomytrains says “If something doesn't move something else has to move more”. This means that another area in the body now has to do work in an odd position, and over a period of time, this will lead to injury.
Imagine the axis of your heel base in the car being slightly off. Over time the tires will wear down uneven and much more quickly. Similar things will happen in your body. You need to address the real problem and fix the wheelbase, rather than just changing tires all the time.
So where did all this mobility go then, you ask, in case I had it all from the beginning as a young child? Much of it started to get lost the minute we entered the world of sitting on chairs. For most this would be around the age of 6 as we started attending school. The accumulation of all that sitting (non-movement) together with a decrease in sports and general movement has over the years created a body that can no longer move freely. Depending on your work, previous sports etc you have molded your body into the shape it is now, including its unique restrictions. Now, this is not something that just happened to you, this is something that you have created over a long period of time even if it was unknowingly. That means, the only person that can get you out of this rigid body - is you. This might be tough to hear, but that is also excellent news, because it means that you have the power to change things in your body, if you are willing to do the work.
I would like you to think of me as your coach when it comes to mobility. I can show you where your biggest restrictions are, and I can show you the work that needs to be done in order to get to the next level – but you have to do the work. The good news is that it really does not have to be as difficult, or take as much time as you might think.
See you back here on Friday for Part 2.
Osteopathy, sports massage and functional nutrition in Haarlem. Taking care of zombies to olympians since 2007.