The importance of moving well is evident by the design of our bodies. This is very evident in that we have legs that allow us to not only crawl, hop and walk, but also run, jump and skip (yes, adults should still be skipping and hopping). Our arms and torso are also designed to show the importance of moving well and help us move and play an important role in our gait (if you don’t believe, then start walking now and watch how your arms and torso help to move the rest of your body). When done properly, exercise will enhance the ability of our bodies to move. A perfect example of this is watching an elderly person go about their daily activities of life as if they are still 35 yrs. old (I have several senior clients who are like this).
We also know the importance of moving well because when we don’t, we lose what we have (if you don’t use it, you lose it principle). Just ask any elderly person who neglected exercise for most of their life and is now forced to sit for the rest of their lives because they literally can not stand for long periods of time due to pain or fatigue.
Statistics show that our bodies are not as fit as they were almost 40 yrs. ago. We are molded by our furniture (we sit too much at work and home), gravity and inactivity. We have more ankle (one million/yr.), knee (80,000 to 100,000/yr.), shoulder (21% of the US population has had some sort of shoulder pain) and lower back (80% affected by this) injuries than ever before.
Well, there is an even newer phenomenon that is rampantly running across the exercise world and that is the person who does exercise (despite the statistics mentioned in the previous paragraph), but does not move properly. My educated guess is that for every 10 exercisers, 8 of them are not are exercising the right way. I applaud their effort to exercise, but the issue is that because they do not move well to start with, they are putting themselves at risk of more injury. When you are attempting to exercise with lower back pain or shoulder discomfort, you can not start your exercise program like you could have 20 yrs. ago. With all this being said, the purpose of this blog is to stress the importance of moving well. Here are three simple steps to make sure you are moving well when you when you’re exercising:
1. Seek out the help of a professional. There are a lot of fitness professionals today that can assist you in making sure you move properly. Some of these professionals include corrective exercise specialists, muscle activation technique specialists and massage therapists to name a few. These people can help you determine what is not moving well on your body and correct those particular areas.
2. Warm-Up before you start exercising. Oftentimes, I witness people who don’t move well walk into the gym and jump right into strenuous exercise. OUCH! Generally speaking, your body is not ready for that activity. A warm-up will prepare the body for activity by increasing blood flow to active muscles and increasing your mental readiness. I recommend performing a general and specific warm-up. A general warm-up can consist of something like walking on a treadmill or riding on a stationary bike. A specific warm-up more closely resembles the main activity you will be performing. A specific warm-up can consist of push-ups or squatting before you do your weight training.
3. Cool down once you finish. The cool down is considered the opposite of the warm-up. It is the best way to transition your body from exercise back to a resting state and should be done soon after your very last exercise. A cool down will allow your body to return to a resting state by reducing your breathing, heart rate and core body temperature. Stretching the muscles used during your workout is a good example of a proper cool down.
So, there you have it. Obviously I could have given you a lot more, but the three ways I mentioned to ensure you are moving well is a good place to start. Exercise is important, but moving well during your exercise is more important.
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