Following on from last months Movement Mix-up, here is Part 2 with a different slant and more fun and easy ways to mix-up your movement. These are strange days of empty streets, coughing into our elbows and stripped-bare baking aisles. So to complement our current Covid-19-affected lifestyles, the following ideas and suggestions are suitably home-based. Saying that, all of the moves can be done anywhere, anytime by anyone.
And remember: it’s not that you can’t manage the movements but that you can’t manage them YET!
Have a look at the March ’20 article for more detail but briefly it’s important because:
And though you may “move all the time”, what most of us actually do is move in a few, very similar patterns for most of if not all of the time, performing repeated movements that are not big, varied or testing.
Because learning new movements and pushing the boundaries of what your body can do will help you to move comfortably and more easily. You will be better able to tolerate those less usual and slightly-stretching movements that we all have to undertake every now and again. And you can relish in seeing your body’s ability improve!
Here are seven suggestions which we can all try regardless of fitness level. Most of them will slip beautifully into your day as they replace something that you’re already doing. For the couple that may ask a little of your time – they, and you, are worth it 🙂 .
And remember: the point is to CHALLENGE. Like the best things in life, movement improvement and the direct and indirect gains from this aren’t achieved by sitting on the sofa dreaming…
This interesting little move comes from a study done in 2012 and has been shown to be indicative of life longevity!
Lower yourself from standing to sitting, and then get back up – but without using your hands. You score 10 when this is perfectly executed and lose one point for every hand, knee, forearm, side of calf and hand-on-knee you use on the way down AND on the way back up. Improve your score to improve your life-span (indication only, other variables apply).
If you’re a way off achieving this then set a goal of sitting down onto and back up from a slightly lower surface than you can currently manage e.g. a low stool.
Our sitting position usually involves all of our joints being placed in roughly the same positions:
So let’s mix it up! Sit on the floor for a bit – kneel, cross legs, legs to side, etc. Lie on your front -doable if you’re reading a book or a laptop screen. And how about standing instead of sitting? If you’re working on a laptop then it could be easy enough to move your machine to a slightly higher surface and stand for a bit. Once you’ve had enough, sit down and repeat the cycle shortly…
How do you put your socks on? The most mundane and routine of movements can be turned into mini-challenges and opportunities for improvement. Balance, flexibility and strength are all the focus when you put your sock on whilst standing so why not have a go? If you can’t manage it yet then start off leaning against a wall and get used to doing the movement first, before you add in the balance challenge. The act of trying generates learning and adaptations and persistence does pay off…
This puts you into a lovely overhead stretch position that most of us rarely do. Find a beam or doorframe, or a low-enough tree branch, or just a bar. Anything that will put your arms overhead and promote a stretch and maybe even a swing. Load your arms with as much or as little of your body-weight as you want. See if you can hang more weight off your arms over time. Can you support all of your kilograms? Try a tiny, weeny pull-up, even just a little shoulder shrug up and down – such a great exercise!
a) FEET: take your shoes off and sprreeeaaad your toes, hold, relax, repeat… then curl your toes under, hold, relax, repeat… then straighten your legs and sttrrreeetccchh and point your toes away from you then pull toes up towards you then turn the soles of your feet inwards and then outwards and repeat…
b) HIPS & BACK: Hang one bum cheek off the side of your chair and slide this leg backwards. Squeeze your bum and stretch this leg, sit up really tall, arch backwards and keep working away if you really want to!
c) CHEST & SHOULDERS: hook your forearms over the back or sides of your chair and squeeze your elbows towards each other – feel that stretch at the front and effort in your back.
So important and so easy to play with! Next time you’re out for your one burst of exercise per day, find a kerb or (low) wall or plank or something narrow enough that you know you’ll have to concentrate whilst walking along it. Then walk along it! Easy? Upgrade to a narrower/longer/harder challenge…
I am Zooming online on Mondays at 1pm and Thursdays at 10am, offering a 40-minute burst and blend of Pilates, strength work, stretching and general fitness moves. OK so this one does require some definite time set aside BUT it’s 40 minutes that can really help your body to move more easily and more comfortably (my aim) and all from the comfort and convenience of your own living room. Drop me a line for details and if you’d like to join us.
Watch how those kids move. They squat and leap and roll and bend and stretch. They move in ways that most of our adult bodies and brains have forgotten how to and gotten out of practice of doing. We lose flexibility and mobility as we get older, predominantly because we stop challenging our ability to move (there’s more on this in February ’20 article). But take heart, there is a dormant ability in all of us to move better, more easily and more comfortably than we do. Have a go and let me know how you get on!