What is Stiffness and lack of mobility?
We have all had days where we feel a little creaky and stiff. Maybe we did a little too much yesterday or we did something different with our bodies……..OR………. maybe......
.....we haven’t done enough for way too long!
This is where the real mobility issues come in.
Our bodies are super smart. We will never truly know how clever the human body is but we do know that when we don’t move our body the way it was intended (walking, running, climbing, ground living, squat sitting, hunting etc) we develop ways of still being ‘efficient’. Now by ‘efficient’ here I mean functioning.
*we can still stand upright despite the fact our lower chain is not aligned and balanced
*we can still use our upper body despite its survival position (rounded impinged shoulders, forward head posture, compressed low back, lack of rotation)
*we can still put one foot in front of the other (sometimes with pain but you can still do it)
*we can still perform most daily tasks like sit to stand, driving, picking things up (probably not from the floor), getting dressed (maybe sitting down for socks and shoes)…etc
However all of these things are modified to allow you to cope with suboptimal movements because your body has adapted itself to your imbalances and misalignments. See, we are smart! Or are we?
Disclaimer – tough love coming up!
In my humble opinion smart would be not to lose your birth given movement skills in the first place.
"When we don’t move our bodies and do not challenge our range of motion regularly, areas can dry out and get stuck together" – Cat Matlock
Studies have shown that movement is the driving force behind lubricating the joints.
In freely moveable joints, the entire joint is enclosed inside a membrane filled with lubricating synovial fluid (think of the grease on your bike chain – without it, you’re in a world of trouble!)
When you move, this fluid is moved around the joint. When you are stationary, some gets absorbed into the cartilage and dries out if not moved regularly. Every time you move, sliding forces are applied to cartilage surfaces, prompting production of lubricating molecules and circulation of our precious synovial fluid around the entire joint.
It is a biological reality, that if you don’t use it, you lose it.
A few things you can do right now to make a difference
1) MOVE (the obvious one!). Join my Online Movement Crusade:
◊ click here to try some simple daily movements
◊ click here to access yoga for beginners (join for free)
◊ Join my Unlimited membership for full access to a nourishing restorative practice
2) Add in these gorgeous nutritious helpers to reclaim your joint health:
◊ Oily fish - Anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids (supplement if you can’t consume 2-4 servings a week)
◊ Dark green leafy veg – the fight against oxidative stress is real. Spinach, broccoli, spring greens and parsley are high in antioxidants and can help reduce the breakdown of cartilage. Bonus is they are also SUPER for your digestive tract, win win.
◊ Red Grapefruit – High in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. They can reduce inflammation and strengthen cartilage (be careful if on any meds)
◊ Ginger/Garlic/Onions – all have high antioxidant content and compounds that can be anti-inflammatory and pain inhibiting.
3) A one-to-one coaching session with me
◊ have your current movement assessed and create a unique plan to energize your goals.
Pick one thing from above and do it/add it in today…..one step at a time. Please don’t wait until your body has made so many survival adaptations that you can no longer walk or sleep without discomfort.
"At least half of the age related changes to muscles, bones and joints are caused by disuse" – Better Health Channel.
Some ageing effects are inevitable, wrinkles and grey hair (sorry!) but research has shown that what we once thought was unavoidable is actually inactivity related and physical activity can reduce or reverse disability or chronic disease.
We will talk about Arthritis another day. For now just be aware that the most common type is Osetoarthritis, effecting over 8million people in the UK. It is the wearing down of the cartilage (often referred to as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis) which causes pain and swelling. All of the above can and will help. Give something a try.