Taking care of shoulders takes a load off your heart too

We are on a shoulder roll at the moment. Literally (using balls to roll out tensions) and also just generally with lots of extra focus there. This term we ramped it up a notch and are really digging deep into understanding that how we use our arms can completely change what's going on for our neck and shoulders (and core and back and ......)

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One thing that might not jump out at you immediately is that restoring shoulder mobility can improve the mobility of your heart and lungs. To learn more about heart health and movement I highly recommend listening to Katy Bowman's podcast number 42. If you don't like the introductory banter in the intro just skip the first 5 minutes. If you like what you hear and want to know more then take a look at the page I put together for you here. And if you happen to have one of my library copies on your bedside table acting as a handy drink coaster ;-)) I'd love to get it back soon so I can pass it on. Thanks! About 12 books have gone the way of odd socks!

SOME OF THE THINGS WE'VE UNCOVERED
As we explore common poses like Down Face Dog we are realising that it's not just about assuming the shape, it's what muscles are we using to get us there.

We're realising that a neck release is a whole other creature when we take it from a position where our head is aligned with the rest of our body - not out in the forward head position which might be happening far more often than we think. That on it's own can be a big contributor to a range of issues from back pain to headaches to a weakened core.

We can see we need to do our exercises in a different shape than that of our habit - or we are just reinforcing the habit (which is fine too, if that's working for you - but generally people come to see me because they are frustrated by some aspect/s of their body).

This week we'll ramp the ribs as well as the head and take our shoulder adventure on to another level - which I find is as much about stretching how we think about movement as actually stretching. I'm even going to show you how to incorporate your exercises into drinking your cuppa or lifting your groceries.

Don't forget you've got 4 new videos to be getting on with. They are all between 5 and 10 minutes long and provide practical ways for you to mobilise upper and lower body during your day. You can find them all in the 'What's New' playlist.

I'm off on a Bluegrass music adventure. I leave you in wonderful hands with Nic. See you next week. X Mel

 

Roll 'em Roll 'em Roll 'em

Last week we used our spikey balls to release shoulder tension at the wall (targeting upper back and chest) - and there were some fantastic displays of creative movement that led to great releases (and quite a few 'aha' moments). So balls aren't just for feet or for Christmas either - use them often for best results. Here are some other exercises you might like to try. Remember to go gently. Everyone is different in the tensions that they hold and even that changes from day to day.

Speaking of shoulders, did you know that your shoulder movement is hugely tied up with what's going on with your shoulder blades? That's why we love our rhomboid pushups and why they feature in all sorts of ways, even standing up. There are actually a lot of muscles involved in moving the shoulders;

  • the muscles that connect the trunk to the shoulder blades (scapula)
  • the muscles connecting the shoulder blades to the upper arm  (the humerus)
  • the muscles connecting the trunk to the upper arm

Did you notice that the shoulder blades came up twice? 17 muscles attach just to them! Even so it can be tricky to isolate the shoulder blades. They tend to be particularly stuck and the ribs want to lead the way. Our shoulders tend to be a bit starved of love with limited reasons to lift our arms up above our heads during the day, and a tendency to push our ribs out in front to cope with the accumulated tensions. To make daily shoulder love a bit more practical we've done this combo in class - a standing plank with rhomboid pushups and and active thoracic release. Follow it or precede it with the upper body release. Try a few sets and see how things change. Go gently (form comes first) and often for best results.

GO ON - GEEK IT UP AND SEE HOW IT ALL WORKS!

There's nothing wrong with chairs or resting........

I thought you might enjoy this piece, from one of Katy Bowman's Instagram Posts

"There's nothing wrong with chairs or resting. My issue is with their uniformity of shape (and also their ubiquity and preemptive placement). I don't think there's much I can do about an entire cultures furniture-shape, but what I can do is suggest you don't have to use a chair in a single way. That "sitting" is a relationship between your choice and the habitat around you. Here are some movement OPTIONS when it comes to a single habitat feature. Remember that sitting differently is moving differently."
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She's In New Zealand, might she pop over to see us?

You might already know that Katy Bowman is in New Zealand for the next 2 months. Her recent newsletter invited us to let her know where we live (just your country, not your street address) as she is working hard to connect the movement tribe (or movement movement as it is sometimes known!) I think if enough Australian's responded we might just be able to convince her to pop on over and teach a workshop or two. Katy said amongst other things:

"I’m having an excellent time speaking in New Zealand—introducing many to the idea that movement is much more nuanced than simply the difference between sedentary or active whole-body states, and even more nuanced than balancing our cardio, strength, and flexibility.” I love helping people understand that movement is more similar to nutrition than we realise, when we consider the vast diversity of movements that are necessary to meet our physiological needs."

So if you'd like to meet Katy B (author of many wonderful books including Dynamic Aging which so many of you have enjoyed), and you are not already on her mailing list please  follow this link and register your email address. You'll also receive updates on what other things she's up to. There are some workshops available in New Zealand and a retreat.

And finally here is a chest release wall release based on the exercises we've done in classes over the last few weeks. Approach it gently and regularly for best results. I'll add a strengthening component to it for you next week, along with some tips about giving up our rib thrusting habit.

Finding some inspiration

Motiviation

One of the toughest things for all of us is doing the exercises outside of class time. We can read about it, we can watch film clips, we can even buy all the books and put them on the bedside table and hope the information leaps into our brains overnight (or over a series of months if the dust that accumulates on mine is any indicator). But nothing on earth is going to beat the actual movement. Actually there is one thing that beats it, that's doing an exercise or two and realising how much freer you feel.

Taking the time to sense and feel the changes, no matter how subtle at first, allows you to recognise the power you have to change how you move.

Don't Just Take My Word For It

I am a big believer in trying something, doing one or two of our restorative exercises and then trying it again. Generally you'll get a bit of a 'kaboom' moment - even if it's just in passing, that starts to lay down some foundations for the thought that there might just be a better way. From that seed of thought inspiration (and therefore motivation) grows.

Reconnect

We are looking to make the whole machine work more effectively and enjoy the process - so we want to start to pay attention to some of the details. Say you were doing a squat and something hurt, you wouldn't just power through. You'd stop, reassess - make the appropriate adjustments and go from there. It's incredibly helpful to let go of that surge to be in a rush to find change. You don't need big sensations to be doing great work (and that's a whole other juicy topic for another day).

It's Not Just For Christmas

And until such time as we can get all the movements we need in our daily lives we are going to benefit hugely from doing our exercises often. So I've filmed you this little routine which follows on nicely from your Chair Challenge. This is the sort of thing that I do throughout the day and with my Movement Coaching clients too.

Move more and move well my friends. Don't forget to we are moving together in Geelong next Wednesday 25 October, 9.30am - it's free! RSVP here

Taking it to the streets!

Just how am I supposed to walk?

So you've read all about the mechanics of walking or you've come to a few classes and you can see where you could make some adjustments, but what happens when you hit the road Jack?

Less talk more action, and yes that's coming from the bla bla queen!

Less talk more action, and yes that's coming from the bla bla queen!

Don't try and force change - your tissues need time to catch up with your growing knowledge

Reading all about it is fantastic, but doing it is so much better. Maybe 90% moving and 10% reading and thinking about it would be a good ratio to aim for. You almost need to forget about changing how you walk and just enjoy it for it's own sake. Really. You can drive yourself crazy trying to remember all the little details. At most focus on one thing you can change at a time.

What I Do

I don't think of the walking I do every day as exercise. It's just moving in as many ways as I can. Not because it's something I have to do to make-up for last nights ice-cream (the way I used to think) but because it makes me feel good - and I can see how I'm progressing and changing, and I can get heaps of things done too.

The Restorative Exercises Work. Don't take my word for it 'test and retest' when you are walking

So rather than try and think about the 15 things I'm attempting to correct in my gait habits now, this is how the cogs turn in my head on a typical days outing:

  • Where's the vitamin texture? - the bark, the pebbles, the hills, the uneven ground.
  • Can I balance on this?
  • if we do a lunge here and a squat there, what's it like to walk up the hill now? Does it feel different (the answer is always yes by the way)
  • Let's do the 'anywhere upper body mobiliser' (coming soon in a video, but only if you do your chair challenge) - whats it like to arm swing now?
  • What about some step ups on that park bench. How does my walking feel after that? "oooh, I can feel my butt now!"
  • Let's do some single leg squats holding onto that fence
  • Is that a tree branch we could swing from?
  • Is that a tree we could climb?
  • Let's swing back past the shops and get the milk and things for dinner (that means back up the big hill - yaaaay!)

(so I've moved everything, so has the dog and I've done the shopping)

That's a really different experience to trying to remember all the little details we cover in classes with every single step, and it's fun.

The reality is the tensions we've developed over our lifetimes are going out on our walk with us, and just applying all our knowledge won't smooth them out. That's where the 90% doing comes into it's own.

Don't Tell Me Show Me

Ok we will! Join me and Sharon and Sue and Bart on Wednesday 25 October - this walk will leave from Newtown in Geelong. RSVP to Mel in class or send me an email - I'll then send you the details. 9.30am - 10.30am for movement, followed by optional coffee afterwards. OK lady, sounds good, but not if you expect me to climb a tree or hang upside down. That's ok, all moves are optional - laughing is encouraged, and on the last walk the gang came up with some new moves using goal posts that even I hadn't thought of. How much does it cost? $0.00! But I do live near Pakington Street and will not be held responsible for any shopping you do on your way home.

How's Your Chair Challenge Going?

Have you done it yet today? Don't forget to move it, every move counts. See you at the park!

Now Read This (we are doing a lot of calf stretch this week, so refresh your memory with this post by clicking here)

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Move It Already!

Welcome to Term 4, 2017!  Just before the holidays we had so much fun on a group walk / move / tree climb / squat festival in Geelong. 90 minutes of movement and then a coffee. It doesn't get much better than that. Lots of breakthroughs were had taking our exercises out into the world. If you couldn't come along try and get to the next one, or if you can't wait book in for a private or small group movement coaching session (Ocean Grove or Geelong).

To the ladies who came walking with me, thankyou! You are my heroes. You had a go at everything, and you came up with things I hadn't even thought of yet. That's not me in the tree by the way. I've got new tree climbing buddies now.

To the ladies who came walking with me, thankyou! You are my heroes. You had a go at everything, and you came up with things I hadn't even thought of yet. That's not me in the tree by the way. I've got new tree climbing buddies now.

 

As we get ready to head off on another adventure let's figure out how much we are sitting in chairs right now, it's often much more than we think. Then we can set some goals for less sitting from now on.  As Katy Bowman says in one of her latest podcasts "Don't Just Sit There!....but don't just stand there either (Podcast 86)." We'll talk more about that after you've done this survey:

How Much Time Do I Spend Sitting in Chairs?

  • How much time do you spend sitting for meals (or a cup of tea, or imbibing of any description)?
  • How much time do you spend sitting for entertainment or relaxation, or even being social (eg. TV, going to he movies, coffee or lunch with friends?)
  • How much time do you spend sitting at your job?
  • How much time do you spend sitting on the toilet (read more about squatty potty's and bathroom breaks as exercise opportunities here)
  • How much time do you spend sitting in your car (commuting, general travel needs)?
  • How much time do you spend sitting while you exercise? (This could be weight machines at the gym, bikes, rowing machines and more things I haven't thought of yet, ooh, what about kayaking?)

Now add that up. Think about how many hours a day you are awake and how many of those are spent in chairs. It can be a bit of an eye opener. And it the chair is NOT the enemy here, it's the amount of time we spend in it. The tissues of your body shape around what you do the most of, so if you've got the chair shape going most of the day, that's what you are carrying into everything else you do to.

As Katy says in her podcast: "Chairs are really prevalent not only in the work space but all the time. Just get out of your chair. Do something different. Even if you sit right back down again at least you got up. Like that’s one squat for you....I think the chair is .. sucking the movement potential out of your body...It’s not to say that you can’t rest but maybe rest in some other way. If you could change your chair relationship it would be huge for you."

So does that mean standing all day is the answer? No, and here is what she says about that:

"That’s not really movement.  You know, at the end of the day, getting into a standing position once in just another sedentary position. So stand up, yes. And then, and then.... do something after you’ve stood up."

"Like what?" did I hear you say? Try this:

"Pay attention to where you’re carrying your weight on your feet. Is it only on one? Is it on two?  Maybe put it between the two. Does it go forward? Does it go back?  Can it go right forward left back?  And you go the other way. ..standing is like a category. We think of standing as simply like only the soles of the feet are in contact but I could come up with.... 30 different things to be doing while you are just standing there that would make it so that you’re not just standing there....it’s a mindful thing. Don’t just stand up and then stop thinking about your movement for the day.  Standing up is the point at which you start thinking about it."

THE CHAIR CHALLENGE

The amount of time we spend in chairs impacts how well we feel and how well we move. Here's a simple series that can release tension while laying some foundations for better overall movement.
Can you do it a minimum of once every day this term? If that sounds too easy, can you do one aspect of it every single time you get up from a chair? Prefer a hard copy? Handouts will also be available in classes.

You've got 3 exercises here. The squat up and down from the chair, the lunge style hip flexor release (seated or standing) and the back of leg release. Do 1 of each, do 2 rounds of each, do even 3 rounds of each. It won't take more than 5 minutes and you will feel the difference. If you've ever taken a class with me you'll know not to take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Have a little walk around before the exercises and then straight after.  Noticing the improved freedom in your movement will inspire you to do more.

With one little reminder though. It's never ever about force or being aggressive - be patient, be loving and listen to your body. Slow, steady and mindful gets the best results. Pummelling ourselves has tended to take us further into cycles of inflammation and pain.
 

Change Your Mind and Change How You Move

We can have pretty limiting thoughts about how we ought to move. Our ideas about sitting, standing and walking have been handed on down to us. A lot of those ideas are then supplmeneted by what we see and read about every day. So when someone comes along and says why don't you reach up and touch every door frame you move through the first thing we often think is "but I will look weird". Even though it is a simple movement that has the potential to open up shoulder range of motion, improve your cardiovascular function and more. We can get kind of stuck on "but what would people think". Katy said in a recent podcast "Dynamic Aging is about changing your mind... It’s about shifting paradigms... not just the paradigm of exercise less move more. But this idea that ... the decline that you’re seeing isn’t about your age. "

Not Just For Kids

One of my lovely regulars was so excited when she came to her session this week. She'd just read Dynamic Aging and had been particularly taken with the idea of finding the childlike joy in her walks again. "Mel, it's like I've finally realised that the playground is not just for kids. On my walk today I turned right instead of left and found myself swinging from a tree branch". I was pretty excited too, the more of us doing it the less nuts I look (see what I mean about cultural expectations, that is me acknowledging that I do perhaps feel a bit embarrassed climbing trees in Geelong. But if more of us did it who would even notice it anymore?". Case in point: I was in Acland Street St Kilda one day and a man was taking his pet Alpaca for a walk down the street. No one batted an eyelid. You see enough weird it becomes normal!)  Anyway, by changing her habit (initially just by turning right instead of left) a whole new range of nutritious movements seemed accessible and brought a lot of joy as well. (Speaking of childlike joy check Laura out sneaking up on me through the long grasses! Also a bunch of 50+ folk fording a river on a very slippery log.)

But I couldn't do that

Katy Bowman co-wrote Dynamic Aging with 4 or her students (aged between 78 and 80) who went on to become movement educators. They all came to her with movement limiting issues and every one of them ended up doing all of the things they initially said "they couldn't do" and then some. Things like squatting and hanging and going on long hikes up mountains. Now they teach others how to move more and move better too.

Changing How You See the Ordinary

Every light pole is an opportunity for a shoulder release or a squat, every step or park bench comes with a myriad of exciting possiblities (a step up, a rhomboid pushup, a quad release, a thoracic or double calf release? What to choose?)

But it's raining

But what if it's a rainy day with puddle? Well if you are walking with Nic (which you can many Fridays in Torquay - it's free, let me know if you'd like her details) - that means taking your shoes off and experiencing the delight of the mud oozing between your toes. I forgot how good that feels.

Walk with us

So come for a walk with us in Ocean Grove this Tuesday at 12.45, meet at the Hub. Or Geelong on Wednesday at 9.30 (email Mel for the address). Walking is just the beginning.

Ready For More

If you are ready to learn more but don't know where to start, there are books, ebooks, talking books and DVD's and downloads a plenty at nutritiousmovement.com. If you type in Podcast5 under any of the books you get a $5 discount. The podcasts and blog are free. If you're not sure where to start I put together a page with some more information on many of the options here.

Everyone has their own preferred way of learning but personally I like to do it while I move and highly recommend the podcasts. Especially the most recent ones. The talking books are great too. Listen while you instantly put into practice what you are hearing. And call me for a playdate at the park!

If you'd like to receive our Blogposts directly to your inbox click here and let me know and I"ll add you to the list. No spam, that's a promise!

We are back and it was amazing

There is something about being in a room full of movement nerds from all over the world that catapults your learning to a whole new level. Throw into that mix some true masters of movement and you get an accelerated opportunity to absorb all the latest in movement health science. The photo box below is a slideshow, just click to go to the next photo. No. 1 is on the way to the airport, somebody warn them - they're coming!

Suffice to say it 'WAS AWESOME'. And as predicted the Aussie girls were the life of the party with several folk commenting on how they could always find us via the laughter. They said it was like music. I'm not sure that the lovely American lady who shared a house with us would agree. Sorry Emily!

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Anyway we've made it back, and have already started introducing advanced techniques into our sessions. This week I'm teaching core function via the breath and Nic gave us an inspiring session on bolstered pelvic listing. There's plenty more where that came from too.

Here we are attempting to kidnap Chris Altman. The most superb teacher - a veritable body whisperer. On the right is Sarah, a lovely Aussie lass who we rolled out our mats next to on Day 1. Hello I said (Aussie strine in place) - she replied in a similar vein. We did a double take because there were 50 participants and only 4 Aussies. I guess it's like a magnetic force - a tractor beam. Anyway she's gorgeous (naturally) and even though she lives in Sydney we're keeping her and her lovely family!

Here we are attempting to kidnap Chris Altman. The most superb teacher - a veritable body whisperer. On the right is Sarah, a lovely Aussie lass who we rolled out our mats next to on Day 1. Hello I said (Aussie strine in place) - she replied in a similar vein. We did a double take because there were 50 participants and only 4 Aussies. I guess it's like a magnetic force - a tractor beam. Anyway she's gorgeous (naturally) and even though she lives in Sydney we're keeping her and her lovely family!

We've got some exciting things planned for the coming months, and so to free up some time there will be less blogging and more creating and delivering of new programs. We've got 2 Saturday afternoon workshops coming up for you in Term 4 and some video series planned too. I spent the last few travel days with Nic in Vancouver and we had a brilliant time in Stanley Park practising all our new moves. This was Nic's birthday - she celebrated with a 2 hour hike with pushups and squats a plenty.

And after all that nutritous movement there was good food everywhere!

In case you weren't aware ;-), we are devoted 'movement nerds' - constantly seeking out the best ways to do what we do with a mission statement of empowering individuals to move well with joy.  You could say that 'Movewell is for life, not just for weekends!' It takes time to uncover our habits and wake up muscles and movements that may have been sleeping for some time - but it's a joyous feeling to recognise that you have more power than you might have realised to maintain and / or recover that feeling of a healthy, optimally functioning body again.

So glad you have joined us so far, via the written word or in person. Lots of adventures ahead!

X Mel, Nic and Laurs

And just in case you were concerned we wouldn't be embarrassing weirdos at the airport, fear not - we were a regular travelling sideshow! 3rd shot in is Nic on the day of the eclipse, and the final shot is our first day - fresh off the plane - drinking Kava lemonade in Vancouver.

PS. Did you know that under the Resources section of this website is a FURTHER LEARNING PAGE that I prerpared for you a while ago, click here to go straight to it.  There is so much out there for you and so much of it is free. For example Katy Bowman has 70+ podcasts now that you can listen to while you move. The new one on sleep will appeal to a lot of you. It sure did to me. There's also her blog page and so much more.

 

 

 

 

A little Bla Bla Siesta

Hi gang, I'm taking abreak from the blog world as I head off on my next learning adventure with Nic and Laura. Upon our return I'll be continuing to develop some new offerings that I think might be even more inspiring. There are SO many old posts for you to review though. Including many different approaches to bringing more movement into your life. There are terms and terms worth of movement ideas, so please have a look back through them. There is also the 'Further Learning' section of the website too with many other suggestions. Don't forget our Youtube page too. XX

Tension Release with Music Provided!

A great way to approach this lovely exercise is to let go of any idea that you are seeking a big stretch. Instead, look to keep the pelvis stable (it helps to gently draw the bent knee in towards your body) and allow the lengthening leg to truly release.

Support your pelvis on your bolster, 1/2 dome or rolled up blanket. You may or may not want some head support too (Laura's using a 1/2 dome here, you could try a small pillow and see how you go). Bend both of your knees in towards your body and curl up into a ball.

Then wrap your arms around your left leg to help keep your pelvis stable (it will be in the tucked rather than the neutral or untucked position).

Gently straighten your right leg now, and slowly lower it towards the floor (it doesn't have to get there!). Relax the extended leg without bending the knee. The foot is a little flexed but the leg itself is not tense, you can even support it on a block. Spend around 30 seconds to a minute and then you could move the extended leg slowly from left to right in a windshield wiper for another 30 seconds or so.  Then bring both legs back into the chest, and ease them out in any way that feels good. Do the other side.


Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

  • Take a walk around your house (or the room you are in if you are hiding away from animals, children, etc)  and notice how that feels
  • Calf Stretch (see last weeks post for details)
  • Psoas Release- click here for a Psoas post (how about playing the track below by Yaima to help you relax)
  • Do your Hip Flexor Release as described above (do it twice if you have time)
  • Take a walk around again and notice how you feel.

So many of you have commented on this track that I've been playing in relaxation after classes. So here it is!

Why the Calf Stretch is Still your Best Friend!

Don't be bored by this little beauty. Ultimately it has the power to take the aches and pains out of your whole body and make all of your movements that much more powerful.

1. the first step towards optimal alignment

Changing how you stand is the quickest way to change how you move. This contributes to balance, bone density, pelvic floor health and so much more. The calf stretch is the perfect place to emphasise the key aspects of standing well - feet straight ahead, pelvis width apart and your weight back over your heels. At the same time you are releasing the tension in the back of your legs that impacts on how well you can move.

2. Modern ways of moving lead to shorter calves

Sitting in chairs and wearing restrictive shoes with heels (and most shoes do have a heel, even your running shoes) mean that our calves have been getting the message to get shorter since we were first shod. If you have worn shoes with heels for most of your life your calves may be 13% shorter than what might be optimal. Not only does this decrease your metabolism it tends to tip your forward as you walk. I often talk in class about not living over our toes any more, let's wake up our butts instead. Lengthening your calves is a key factor to this being possible. Tight calves also contribute to neck and shoulder tension too.

3. WHAT'S THAT NOW.... My tight calves are CREATING neck and shoulder TENSION?

Yes they are. They push your head forward as you walk with a rebound that travels all the way up from your feet. Instead of that wonderful feeling of a posterior push off (which is really only possible with some nice calf length in place) you are pretty much catching yourself from falling with every step. Walk around your living room and then do a couple of calf stretches on each side. Go for a walk again and see if you can feel even a subtle difference in your stride. Imagine if you did that regularly, and for those of you that do I know I'm preaching to the converted! In our next blog I'll give you another exercise to increase your capacity to wake up your butt when you walk from a whole other angle.

4.Are you bored with brushing your teeth?

Well even if you are you know the benefits outweigh any effort involved, so put your calf stretch into the same compartment -  you could even do it at the same time. Twice a day is an ideal minimum and If you are really ready for change - do it more because your body adapts to what you do most often. (Put it this way, do you sit in chairs? If yes then you need to calf stretch).  Right now as I type don't have a 1/2 dome handy so I'm using a book. It feels great. I hang out there until I feel everything ease off and relax - all the way up to my neck. Sometimes I might be there for a few minutes, sometimes 30 seconds. When in doubt, calf stretch anyway.

Before and After (the 1st photo is my current calf stretch, check out where my bottom ribs line up over my hips - pretty straight which is ideal. Then look down to the 2nd photo, which was taken a year ago. I discovered it randomly yesterday and was quite taken by the change. On reflection a lot of other things have improved too. I rarely get headaches now (largely related to less neck tension) and I'm much more comfortable in the shoulders too. I can feel my reflexive core more regularly and my glutes engage naturally when I walk. I know that a big part of that transition has been this gem of an exercise. If you haven't yet, give it a real chance for a few months. Your investment in time will have great returns.

And here it is in video format with a few different ways to calf stretch amongst many other things. Amazing what you can achieve in less than 10 minutes!

OVER TO YOU

Ian and Moyneen are on a wonderful adventure and have sent in some classic 'travelling with my 1/2 dome' images! This latest one may be the best yet. Hope you are having a wonderful holiday Ian and Maureen!

Is that a beverage I see balancing there Ian? That's one way to make sure you don't rib thrust!

Is that a beverage I see balancing there Ian? That's one way to make sure you don't rib thrust!

Reduced Timetable For Winter

With so many travellers away we won't have 6.30am or 8.00am Tuesday classes over winter. All other classes are running as normal. We'll re-instate early Tuesday classes in Term 4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Movewell Flow!

One of the things we've had lots of requests for is filmed classes for those who can't get to us regularly, and even for regulars who would like to be able to repeat a session at home. The good news is they are coming, and yesterday we did a trial run.

This has got nothing to do with our filmed classes, but we went tree climbing on the weekend and it was great fun. There were zip lines and more. So next time we are taking you with us!

This has got nothing to do with our filmed classes, but we went tree climbing on the weekend and it was great fun. There were zip lines and more. So next time we are taking you with us!

The visuals turned out really well so I've made up some clips and posted them to the Youtube channel. There is no dialogue to go with them (who out there just went phew!?) - so they are really more relevant to the regulars than anyone else, but they will remind you what goes where when you are looking to create some Movewell Flow action at home. We did speed them up though so make sure you slow yours down.

Make like a ship and list already...

One thing I really try and get across in class is that everything we're doing is informing how we could be moving around in our daily lives. It's of huge benefit to work on you pelvic listing in class - this lateral hip strengthener is a pre-requisite movement for great walking and long life-long hip health! But it's not just for Christmas boys and girls! It's for every day. And if you want strong hips to become the new normal......stand on one leg and list whenever you can my friends. Make like a ship and list already.

But we've done lots of other things to strengthen your chassis and here is proof that they all translate into real life movement. Spare a thought for poor Ian, - you only have to put up with me in class! (Next week, we'll start real worlding the shoulders).

OVER TO YOU! (I love this one, way to go Sue!)

‘Imelda the Barefoot Senior Citz’

I am a strong believer that people come into your life for a reason. Enter Mel Parks. My naturopath referred me to Mel at KYO Hub Ocean Grove.

A 1:1 body evaluation highlighted my many years of ‘poor body movement’. Mel’s Move Well program has given me the knowledge and skills to integrate whole-body movement into my daily life.

The session on ‘feet’ was excellent, in particular how wearing heeled shoes affect your alignment. I’ve now sorted and cleared out my extensive shoe wardrobe including my ‘prized’ Italian boots!

From this self confessed Imelda my feet are now grounded and I walk taller than before. No Italian boots required.

With grateful thanks to Mel for your whole-body Move Well program Imelda is now transitioning to minimalist footwear.

Hmmmmmm, now how much minimalist footwear can this Imelda accumulate?

Sue M xx
Ian and Moyneen are ready to hit the road. Just in case you were worried fear not, they have packed their 1/2 dome and spikey ball and promise to send us lots of car-reversal roadside stretching photos on their big adventure. The early classes are very quiet without you guys!

Ian and Moyneen are ready to hit the road. Just in case you were worried fear not, they have packed their 1/2 dome and spikey ball and promise to send us lots of car-reversal roadside stretching photos on their big adventure. The early classes are very quiet without you guys!

Want a Faster Metabolism? Build Your Butt!

OK, that was a sneaky move, but I bet I got your attention. 

Your Metabolism does get a temporary boost when you exercise, but it's primarily defined by the metabolic activity of your muscle mass when you're resting. This is hugely affected by the actual length of your muscles. So when your muscles are tighter your metabolism is lower. Some of our tightest and most underused muscles are in the back of our legs.

Katy Bowman explains it like this: "If you want to have the correct amount of muscle mass for your skeletal mass, and to have that muscle stabilise all of your bones and joints and not be covered in a lot of body fat, you need to work on restoring the electrical channels of the muscle system (which is what alignment is, really), and then walk around a lot. I said a lot. The occasional tree climb is good too."

When we spend a lot of time living with our pelvis over toes our poor old knees and quads work overtime leaving our hamstrings and glutes neglected. They need some persistent luring out of their slumber, which has been our theme for the past few weeks. Here are just 2 things you could be doing every day:

  1. When you stand back up your hips, even 10% is making a big difference.
  2. Calf Stretch, Calf Stretch and when you have finished.......Calf Stretch (2 times a day 30 seconds to a minute each side, is a good goal - but 4 or 5 times is golden too)

But of course you could also do this! But only if you are rocking the latest in Paddington Bear jackets and bad hats....more butt action next week folks!

  • Feet forward, pelvis width ankles, weight back over heels (both legs straight with relaxed knees)
  • You could put your hand on the side of your pelvis on the working side to help you get that sense of gently pressing it down towards the ground. That's the action you want to allow the other leg to lift. 

YOUR CHALLENGE: How many times a day can you remind yourself to simply balance on one leg? Notice if your pelvis tends to twist on one side more than the other. Work on keeping those hip bone headlights straight ahead. What if you spent some more time on the less dominant side. Get to know your habits and own the power that you have to change them.

A New Name, A Big Trip, and More Movement Adventures

Thank you so much for filling in your feedback forms. We've already actioned some of your ideas and others are in train for development over the next few months. We'll be simplifying the booking process with a booking engine and we've even made our name clearer too. Look closely, we've really just shortened it to MoveWell. So much quicker to type in the search engine!

Holiday Classes
This school holidays we'll be offering classes on 2 Fridays. We will have a Body Restore Class - a good mix of tender loving care (if you call squats tender - which you know that I do when the occasion calls for it) for shoulders, core, hips, backs and feet. We are also planning an introduction session for those folk that want to give us a try without committing to a whole term. We are still in the planning stages so if you have any requests now is the time to let me know (including times, I'm up for 6.30am if you are!!). Both Mel and Nic will be teaching. We'll be at The Hub and the dates are:

  • Friday 30 June
  • Friday 7 July

Big Adventure
I've just put the dates for Term 3 on the website and you might notice that there is a little break right in the middle. That's because your team are heading to America to work with the Queen of Biomechanics herself, Katy Bowman MS. Think of all the good things we'll be bringing home with us. Yay!

Out In The Real World
The last week of classes has focused on how reducing foot tension can increase hip function and balance. There were many lightbulb moments along with happy exclamations of "I can feel my butt !". Single leg squats at 6.30 on a winters morning? You betcha! They were popular classes so more of that kind of fun coming soon (as in tomorrow!).

Here is some more real world reporting from Trish "I've had a great day, climbing olive trees and picking olives. When the elderly lady who owns the trees mentioned she used to climb to pick the olives I asked if she minded me doing that (she didn't). It was such fun, kind of exhilarating :-). I doubt I'd have been game if I hadn't been taking your & Nic's classes. So thank you!!!!"....now that is what I call functional movement.
I'm impressed, Graham took his 1/2 dome to Central Australia. Does that rock looks familiar to you?

I'm impressed, Graham took his 1/2 dome to Central Australia. Does that rock looks familiar to you?

I've just taken delivery of a limited number of Katy Bowman's new book "Dynamic Aging". It's $30.00 a copy, so let me know if you'd like one and I'll bring it to your next class. It's an inspirational gem. You can read more about it here.

I've just taken delivery of a limited number of Katy Bowman's new book "Dynamic Aging". It's $30.00 a copy, so let me know if you'd like one and I'll bring it to your next class. It's an inspirational gem. You can read more about it here.

Leaning in (and out)

I'm always suggesting (ever so subtley) that it's what you do all day that really counts in your ability to move pain free. Here Glen shows us one way to change your habit and feel the benefit. This active sit means Glen is exercising while she sews.

In Glen's own words...."Dog on couch, stitcher on floor....so much more comfy for all of us....and no backache!!"

In Glen's own words...."Dog on couch, stitcher on floor....so much more comfy for all of us....and no backache!!"

The last few weeks we've worked on how we use our arms and how this has a huge impact on the function and the feel of our neck and shoulders.

In a typical western home and workplace there is a lot less call for generous arm movements than you might think. We don't typically have to swing an axe to keep warm. We don't usually have to reach to pick food from a tree or pull ourselves up off the ground to escape predators. If you think about it most of our arm movements are in a pretty limited range. Arms out in front, internally rotated shoulders and the fingers curling forward. In class I often say:

The movements themselves are not the bad guys. It's the limited range of movements and the ones we tend to get locked in that can cause the friction that leads to pain and dysfunction.

This is just one of the many reasons taking ourselves back towards hanging and climbing can be so key to our upper body function. And it's not just about your neck and shoulders. Hanging from your hands and reaching above your head can provide a natural tension release to the fascia of your thoracic cavity. That's a fancy way of saying that raising your arms up (gently and as you are ready) can take a load of your heart and your lungs - amongst other things.

When you are ready to move into hanging upper body work you can grab me before or after class to do some gentle warm up work on our bars - or even better, Nic has 2 shoulder workshops coming up where this transition will be our focus. Click here to read more. Nic's partner Graeme shows us below how you can get some upper body love into your daily life in many different ways! That's putting your MET card to good use Graeme!

Please progress to hanging and preparation for hanging only when you are truly ready. There is no rush, and for myself there were many months of calf stretch to enjoy before the monkey bars tempted me!

Tell Us What You Want, What You Really Really Want!

With apologies to the Spice Girls we really do want to know. Over the next 12 months we will be introducing new classes - both times and themes and some wonderful new teachers too. We would love to hear from you as to what potential offerings might suit you best. The wonderful Catherine Barclay has put this survey together. You can pick up your copy in class or print it out here. Alternatively email or text me your ideas.

WE'LL NEED THIS BACK BY FRIDAY 12 MAY! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

WE'LL NEED THIS BACK BY FRIDAY 12 MAY! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

 

We are all about movement freedom out in the real world. We aim to demystify the joint and muscular pain so many of us suffer from and show you how to optimise the way you move. Knowledge is power and understanding what makes your body happy can really set you free. You'll get the best results if you take your new understanding out from the studio and into your life. Check out this real world mover below - I could swear she was pelvic listing at Melbourne Airport arrivals. Apparently she was stuck there for 1/2 hour and did more pelvic listing in a single session than ever before. She was shocked at how well she could move after that one reltively brief session. Waking up muscle when she could just as easily have been sitting in the cafe loading into her poor old lumbar spine. Sorry I didn't catch her name though ;-)

Ok it was me. I was frustrated, busting for my baby to get home from a big trip. So I needed to keep busy and had a squatting and pelvic listing festival. I almost missed Lucy coming through the gates as I was just so excited about how great my hips felt. Especially after 1.2 hour drive to the airport!

Ok it was me. I was frustrated, busting for my baby to get home from a big trip. So I needed to keep busy and had a squatting and pelvic listing festival. I almost missed Lucy coming through the gates as I was just so excited about how great my hips felt. Especially after 1.2 hour drive to the airport!

What The Squat?!

Leading on from last week's Blog about knees, there's a movement we tend to avoid that encourages a good range of motion in your ankles, knees and hips. It can also help to strengthen your glutes (excellent for taking a load off your knees). You guessed it, it's the squat - and it comes in all sorts of shapes and it's not one size fits all. If you give yourself time to open up the ranges of motion that will allow a full squat you might even enjoy the journey. 

In many instances our squat capacity tends to shrink to around the level of standard chair height (no prizes for guessing why!) We feel stiff and awkward when we do squat so we gradually find ourselves bending at the waist to pick things up - almost eliminating the squat completely. (Ever done a few hours of gardening and wondered why your back was sore the next day? Have a look at picture 1 below. It's really easy to get locked into this way of moving.)

Remember no movement is the 'bad guy', it's the way we limit our movements that can turn into painful problems and limited ranges of motion. In the remaining photos above look at the different ways I'm squatting. It's fine to turn your feet out just make sure you keep your knees lined up with the centre of your ankles, so not rolling out or in. You can also play with how wide your legs are and see if you can back your hips up - stirring those glutes into action. You don't have to come down to a particular level, always give your tissues time to adjust. And if you were to calf stretch 1 and calf stretch 2 first can you imagine how much easier this movement would be? Please never move into pain - just experiment with what it feels like to squat. .


Here's another way to practice your squat that's going to either Box A:  potentially inflame your knees, your lower back and weaken your ankles and even your pelvic floor or........ Box B: do great things for all of the above and enhance your Booty! Mmmmmm, which one to choose, which one to choose? Choose Box B people, choose Box B!

Box A: Knees way past ankles, pelvis tucked. Look closely and you can see the strain creeping up into the neck.

Box A: Knees way past ankles, pelvis tucked. Look closely and you can see the strain creeping up into the neck.

Knees in line with ankles, pelvis untucked, neck looks longer too right?! What's going on at the feet is travelling all the way on and up my friends! Imagine Nic was coming to sit down in a chair right now. She could even get up the same way. Did someone say "I could practice this out in the world at least 20 times a day easily!" I love you that person, I truly do! 

Knees in line with ankles, pelvis untucked, neck looks longer too right?! What's going on at the feet is travelling all the way on and up my friends! Imagine Nic was coming to sit down in a chair right now. She could even get up the same way. Did someone say "I could practice this out in the world at least 20 times a day easily!" I love you that person, I truly do! 

Sore Knees? - Don't avoid stairs, learn to move better and get stronger instead

Welcome Back! I missed you but I didn't stop working on ways to help us move better and get stronger every single day.

This term let's commit to finding practical ways to fit more and better movement into our daily lives. No scheduling required! We'll multi-task to get started, taking care of your knees and getting stronger legs at the same time.

I had a volunteer test knee care for you over the holidays. He had a tweaky knee after a strenuous bush walk and we talked about whether it would be (a) better to avoid such rough and steep terrain in the future, or (b) train to make those ranges of motion accessible. Guess what he decided?

If you went with (b) you are correct! And it's not just so you can hike freely.  I've worked with people in their 20's who were already avoiding kneeling because it hurt. I'm not saying to do something even though it hurts, I'm saying lets investigate what you need to make that movement comfortable again. Not doing it limits you and may encourage other compensatory problems to develop too.

So you have your motivation and the solution is pretty simple. Release the tension that limits your joint function and strengthen the muscles that will power you up and down with ease. We'll continue to explore this in our classes but what about using stairs to train your knees every day?

Notice that the front knee is collapsing out to the side and that the foot is turned out, creating lots of force into ligaments and not so much muscle engagement. Not a great way to utilise our moving parts.

Notice that the front knee is collapsing out to the side and that the foot is turned out, creating lots of force into ligaments and not so much muscle engagement. Not a great way to utilise our moving parts.

Here he has so much more potential to take care of his knees and actually use the muscles in the back of his legs! Yay!

Here he has so much more potential to take care of his knees and actually use the muscles in the back of his legs! Yay!

STAIRS ARE GREAT KNEE TRAINERS!
Don't avoid them, do them differently. Master stairs and hills will become easy. Change what your body is doing as you step and you can remove painful friction and get stronger at the same time.

  • Don't Lean Forward
    We lean because it lets us use momentum instead of our leg muscles. Slow down your movements so you can use your legs more. They'll get stronger and the stairs will get easier.
     
  • Check What Your Knees Are Doing As You Step
    Is your stepping leg tracking straight ahead or is it collapsing in our out as you place your steeping foot down? Use your hip muscles to centre your knee. This keeps you out of those sensitive knee ligaments and uses muscles instead (a common theme for us and not just with the knees).
     
  • Are Your Calves Pulling Their Weight?
    Don't just use the front leg to pull you up, try and push off with the foot of the back leg as well. This takes pressure off your knee and strengthens your calves. One of our constant missions is waking up the muscles in the back of the legs.
If you practice these ideas as separate exercises you'll find that eventually they become the new habit and you'll willingly increase how many times you go up and down stairs - adding more and better movement to your day.

This and many more movement health gems are in Katy Bowman's latest book. I've got 3 library copies currently doing the rounds. If you'd rather buy your own Fishpond have Dynamic Aging on special with free postage here: Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Better Whole-Body Mobility

Feeling good is it's own reward!

Here we are already, it's the last week of the term and we've packed a lot in and had a lot of fun. I have light bulb moments every term but a big one for me this term is how much our movement is shaped by our cultural expectations of one another. That's a fancy way of saying - "I can't stand / sit / stretch like that, people will think I'm weird!"

I was at a show recently and the lady next to me asked if I had a bad back, because I'd used my coat and bag as seat pads to help me sit well. I explained that I didn't have a bad back but these seats could potentially give me one. She looked at me strangely, made it clear she didn't want to know what I was on about and opened her Malteesers (she didn't even offer me one!) But after 2 hours (and a few wriggles) I was fine. Whereas I often see people around me getting up with groans, and they hobble off clutching their backs.

Below is a range of ways I move regularly out on walks with my dog. I grab the backpack and do as many jobs as I can. I make phone calls, connect with other folk in the neighbourhood, do the shopping - and Bart has meetings with his local doggy crew. We get a lot of done and we move in lots of different ways. And we both feel great for it. *please note Bart is attached via his lead to my backpack, leaving me free to arm swing. Please use your own discretion as to whether this is a good idea with your team of sled dogs, my guess is probably not.

I also like to set myself fun challenges (I recognise that my idea of fun may be alternate to yours, but humour me), like today every time Bart stopped to investigate I squatted in some way (keep it nice please people). He investigates a lot so it was a great workout!

    So building on last weeks theme I say REBEL people. This is a Call to Arms! (see what I did there?). Move more all day every day. Not just because your slightly nutty movement health teacher suggested it, but because you might feel some instant benefit. What better motivation could there be?

    Take care over the holidays and don't forget to check out your videos. There are 2 new ones up there. Rhomboid Pushups and Lateral Hip strengthening too. It's free to subscribe and then any new ones get emailed to you.  X Mel

    Katy has just released a new book, and it is my favourite so far. It's called 'Dynamic Aging' but it really is an all ages gem. It's easy to understand and very inspiring. Her co-authors all began as her students and became Restorative Exercise teachers, and they are all 70 and 80+ years old. I have 3 library copies currently in circulation and Fishpond have it on special with free postage here: Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Better Whole-Body Mobility

    PS. All Term 2 Boookings are now available on line. There is a new 6am Tuesday class freeing you up for more make up potential too, and Nicole's new workshops are filling fast.