Stiff, achy, or painful joints and muscles can be the nail in the coffin for your fitness and health aspirations.
Because the goal is to have a physical body that can support any athletic endeavor you might like to pursue, we need to lay out a solid foundation. That foundation is going to come in the form of Joint Mobility (healthy joints), and core strength.
There are a couple important things to keep in mind when you begin to incorporate “Mobility Training.”
The reason this is so important lies in the fact that your body is an amazing compensating machine. Don’t have enough hip movement? Don’t worry, the low back will help you get the movement you need. Stiff ankles? The knee might just be able to pick up the slack and move a little extra. This is bad because the compensating areas will get a beatdown due to that extra slack they are picking up.
However, all that having been said–it’s not always very clear where the dysfunction is originating. So because we don’t know the source of the pain/stiffness/weakness immediately, we have to address each joint individually–because that joint might be the problem-child! The great therapist Ida Rolf has a terrific quote to highlight this; “where you think it is, it ain’t.”
Ultimately you are going to go through a routine that mobilizes the following areas:
Upper Body: Neck, Shoulders (ball and sockets and shoulder blades), Elbows, Wrists, Hands, Fingers…
Lower Body: Hips, Knees, Ankles, Feet, Toes…
It may seem like a lot, but actually the whole body can be mobilized in just a couple of minutes.
2) Core Strength
Something that I’ve come to realize over the past decade is that mobility is NOT always the answer. In fact, sometimes adding more mobility can cause more problems. This is especially true when it comes to the torso. The spine often craves both mobility and strength.
There’s a great saying, “You need proximal stability in order to have distal mobility.” This means you need the core to provide stability and strength in order for the ball and socket joints (hips/shoulders) to be able to express their full range of motion. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Ball and socket joints are specifically designed to move A LOT, and the spine, while it needs to be mobile, needs to provide the foundation for those to move from. Trying to move your hips and shoulders from a weak core foundation is like trying to shoot a cannon from a canoe.
3) Do it Daily
Just like flossing your teeth, your joints need to be flossed daily. Essentially you are smoothing out the joint surfaces. This friction and movement is the ONLY way that joints are provided with nutrients to remodel (strengthen and regrow) over time. There is no direct blood supply to the joint itself, so this movement is extremely important.
Meaningful change takes time, effort, and attention. Take these small steps, consistently over the long term and anything you want can be yours.
Better every day,
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