READ TIME: 9 Minutes
Newton’s first law of motion states that every object in a state of uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it.
We could put a spin on this meaning and suggest also that any object in a state of rest will remain in a state of rest until force is exerted upon it.
This is us these days.
We are more stationary than ever.
Physical activity is declining, rapidly.
In 2011, Statistics Canada reported that Canadian kids are sedentary for over 8 hours per day and adults for over 9.5 hours per day.
Have you noticed any postural changes in yourself yet?
What about in the general population?
What do you see?
Look around! You will see 14-year-old youth with the posture of 75-year-old retirees.
Why is this?
Well its exactly what we mentioned above. Our body will change and adapt to whatever we are doing, positively or negatively. This is highly attributed to our body’s adaptive nature and being composed as essentially one giant ball of connective tissue, called fascia (check it out).
Positively or negatively.
It’s up to you.
This article will give you some tips to help combat this postural change and get, or keep you moving well.
1) Perform Some Daily Soft Tissue Work
What is this exactly?
Essentially, we are referring to daily self-massage that you can easily perform at home - more scientifically known as myofascial release.
As mentioned we are a giant knot of connective and muscle tissue that is able to change length, move and produce force constantly.
What do you think happens when this tissue doesn’t move often or get through the entire lengths that its capable of?
It becomes fixed.
Like a drawer you can’t get open.
Luckily for us over the last 10-15 years there has been a rise in the popularity of self-myofascial release.
Like anything relatively new, there are plenty of arguments that can be made here on both sides of the equation. There will always be those who are trying to be controversial or say there is no evidence to the effectiveness of this self-administered massage (especially if you venture into the crazy world of twitter).
To simplify things for arguments sake, let’s look at this logically:
What happens when you receive a massage?
Massage can be defined simply as the manipulation of soft tissues in the body.
If you have ever had a massage it is clearly evident that your body feels better afterwards, correct?
What if you could receive a percentage of these benefits in the comfort of your own home whenever you wanted?
Turns out you can.
Enter the roller.
A good versatile roller (such as one found here*) can help you easily self-manipulate and assist in relaxing the various soft tissues on your body.
Let’s say you work at a desk and are seated for the majority of your day.
Some key areas for you to target are likely.
Lay on the roller with these aspects of your body, and focus on trying to control your breathing initially.
If the tissue is really “stiff” or uncomfortable your initial reaction will be to tense up and hold your breath.
This is common. Your nervous system thinks that you are under attack.
Enter the breath.
Try to focus on easy and controlled inhalations and exhalations through your nostrils.
Once you have mastered this, you can begin to slowly, and subtly, move your body over the roller.
Note: This should feel relaxing after a couple of moments.
*Never work through an area that causes pain or severe discomfort.
Hopefully if you have an old roller stashed in a closet somewhere you will break it out, dust it off and use it once again after reading this section.
Notice how you feel after.
2) Mix in some Movement practice
After we get you to relax and release some of that dense tissue, our next point of focus is to get you moving regularly.
The human body has been designed and evolved to move and do amazing things.
Sadly, now more than ever we are often taking less advantage of this evolutionary advancement.
A good way to stay active and keep your body moving regularly is to find a movement practice that you enjoy.
What is a movement practice?
We are referring here to literally anything that gets your body moving on a consistent and frequent basis.
Going to the gym? Yes
Going to Yoga Class? Yes
Playing a recreational Sport? Yes
Riding your Bike? Yes
You get the idea.
We want you to get your body moving in space.
This is extremely important.
We have been very lucky. Primarily due to advances in medicine our average life expectancy has been dramatically increasing over the last 100 years.
It could be argued however, that inactivity has been rapidly increasing over the last 20 or so years. This has primarily risen with the advent of the internet and fast-tracked further by the prevalence of smart phones.
In order to get you started with a regular movement practice, let’s deal with your excuses as to why you aren’t as active as you would like to be.
Let’s say you are “too uncomfortable” with the idea of joining a gym.
“Too busy” to join a yoga class.
“Too uncoordinated” to join a recreational sport.
“Too old” to ride a bike.
Here is one thing you can do immediately that will get you moving and dramatically improve your health:
In a pure “bang for your buck” return, nothing seems to beat the benefits of going for a 15 minute walk numerous times per week.
Start today. You can.
We can all put off looking at stories on Instagram for 15 minutes!
The act of just getting started can lead to rapid transformation.
You never know where that might take you.
After we get you taking care of your muscular tissue and get you moving, there is one more important piece to address.
3) Stabilize that Trunk
We have your body feeling better and becoming more active, yet there is one more thing we want you to implement.
Adding this form of practice into your life will dramatically improve your posture overall.
What is the strongest point of any well-built structure?
Exactly. The foundation.
Our body is no different.
In our case, the foundation of our body is where all movement is initiated from. This is commonly referred to as our trunk, core or midsection.
This is an area of huge importance. Our trunk is our entire torso where our neck, arms and legs attach.
Poor shoulder health?
There is a very good chance that these issues can be traced to and assisted by strengthening or stabilizing your trunk.
Think of that picture we showed earlier in the article of the child looking at a smartphone.
What did we see?
Compromised shoulder positioning.
Unfortunately, when most of us go into a gym setting and try to strengthen our trunk, what do we so often do?
Everyone wants that 6-pack.
Enter the crunches.
Lots and lots of crunches.
What do you think this movement does to a spine that is already in a flexed position?
Let’s not go there.
Chances are that more flexion is the last thing you need.
You need to strengthen that foundation. Stabilize it so that you are not only stronger throughout your daily posture, but that you are prepared and ready to tackle anything you want to do in the outside World.
There are a million great trunk stabilization exercises that you can do.
Also, chances are that if you already have a good movement practice, you are already receiving many stability benefits as a result.
If you’re unsure of good exercises to perform and are interested in checking out how to implement this further, we have a 4 Week Trunk Stabilization Program currently 50% off HERE.
We know that lives are busy - seemingly busier than ever before with all of the current demands on our time.
We only have one body that is supposed to last us through our entire existence.
We should probably look into taking better care of this thing since it is the only one we have.
Incorporating some regular soft tissue work, finding a movement practice, and implementing a good trunk stability program are vital aspects of physical health that will benefit anyone of any age.
It’s not too late to start now. Get that body in motion.
We’re here to help.
* PRO Strength INC. may receive a small % from a purchase of this product from Amazon