Imagine that you are driving your car and one day you notice that it is getting harder to turn the steering wheel. You don’t worry too much about it at first, you simply just use pure muscle force to make up for it. You can still get to where you need to go and you can overpower the situation. Slowly but surely though it is getting more and more difficult to drive and you find yourself avoiding certain roads and you start to take shorter, easier roads.
Soon the steering wheel starts to make some creaking, painful sounds and sometimes you feel as if you are not in control of your own car. You used to love driving this car, but now it is no longer fun and also very dangerous. This has lead you to make the decision to retire from driving this car and/or you had an accident which forced you into retiring.
Ever heard of a scenario like this? Of course not, this is crazy! Simple answer is to get a new car, right?. But what if the car is a symbol of your body – you only have the one.
I hear stories very similar to this all the time. “I blew out my knee while skiing”, Doc says I cannot run anymore because of my ankle/knee/hip. Doc says I can only bike, but now my neck hurts. “I would like to do my sport, but I am afraid I will injure myself”. “Yes, it hurts when I run but if I keep taking pain killers it is no problem.”
Damage control does not equal prevention! So what should you do? Make sure that your “steering wheel” is well oiled and works really well, by taking care of it continuously. Build mobility into your everyday life and make it into a daily habit.
I am sorry to be a bit harsh here, but if you do not have a daily plan and a long term plan for being and staying mobile in this predominated world of sitting, you are on your way to movement restrictions, pain and injury. And that’s on you. That is your choice. Not doing something is just as much of a choice as doing something. So get educated, start a conversation with someone who knows more about mobility. Find out where your trouble areas are and get to work on them. Don’t blame it on age, bad genes or time. Get involved in your own health. Do a mobility class with me to get started (mobility1-on-1), try yoga or Pilates.
These two books are really user friendly and a great way to learn more:
Ready to run – by Kelly Starrett, and
Don’t just sit there – by Katy Bowman,
A great start is to convert your sitting desk into a standing desk (see for instance www.standupkids.org). Or simply step away from the chair and move more.
The only one responsible for your body is you, and the only one who possesses the power to change things in your body is you. Just like water will carve into stone over time, so will your body become more supple and mobile if you put in the work.
Remember, you will never be too dirty for a shower, so do not treat your mobility work any different!