2015, Series 4, Week 6 - Cake Smells and Movement Health

Think about a time you've encountered a wonderful smell (like walking into a house where a delicious cake is baking). What we don't often realise is that within a few minutes we have stopped registering that smell. Our senses react in a similar way when we perform the same physical actions over and over again.

We have a biological process where information is constantly fed into a kind of processing loop, evaluating whether to act on a situation or conserve energy. Your mind/body computer system comes pre-programmed to find the most efficient way to do everything.

Say, for example, that you sit for an average of 8 hours on any given day (a conservative estimate, try this calculator if you are curious).  Your unconscious mind registers that you are sitting again (quite possibly with your pelvis tucked underneath you and your head coming forward), but that's now a standard program so you don't register discomfort.

When we do start to react is when the pressure on our joints builds up to the point that we are in pain, but by then these habitual ways of doing things have become so ingrained it takes a much more conscious effort to change them. This is one of the reasons why some ways of moving seem so strange when we start to encourage them again. It's like having a file deleted from your operating system. You didn't even realise it was gone until you tried to open it up again. (I'm thinking of those tricep press ups from the floor in last week's class. When we took out the option of jamming into the shoulders and the back, it felt like there was nothing left - but then with some accurate adjustments we found out that there was, it just wasn't something that had been used much lately).

 Psoas Side Note: All our muscles have key roles to play - but this one really is a conductor, so get to class 5 to 10 minutes early and give yours some extra TLC. You may feel the benefits physically, mentally and emotionally.

Psoas Side Note: All our muscles have key roles to play - but this one really is a conductor, so get to class 5 to 10 minutes early and give yours some extra TLC. You may feel the benefits physically, mentally and emotionally.

There is an interesting thing that happens when you start to wake up these sleeping reactors to bodily stress. Your body will start to talk to you much more loudly when you do things that it doesn't like. You might find that sitting for too long will no longer be something you can ignore. You may become much more aware of how your bones are stacked at any given time and the pressures your body may be experiencing. When you are aware of a situation you can change it for the better. Becoming more aware of how you move can change your life.

There is sitting and then there is sitting! By the way, that doesn't mean that the solution to all our problems is to stand all the time either. It is a whole body awareness program that we are encouraging. But standing and (even more importantly) moving more can definitely be of great benefit if you approach it thoughtfully. Katy Bowman has written a book about it called "Don't Just Sit There".

HOMEWORK WEEK 6 - SERIES 4, 2015

You can work with your entire Gait Basics, Week 1 handout sequence each day now. Each week I add a bonus exercises to play with.

  • Foot Alignment
  • Calf Stretch
  • Foot Stretch
  • Double Calf Stretch
  • Knee Cap Lift and Lower
  • Monster Walk

Bonus Extras (you can fit these exercises into your day as time permits, remember it doesn't need to be a formal practice):

  • Hand Stretch (This is the calf stretch for your upper body!)
  • Standing Arm Swing (or start bringing it into your daily walks)
  • Stomach Release
  • Rhomboid Push Up

Rhomboid Push Up:
Start on your hands and knees, keeping the knees directly under your hips, and wrists directly under the shoulders. Relax the spine and let your head hang downward. Bring your shoulder blades togehter without bending the elbows! Then, pull the shoulder blades apart without bending elbows or tucking the pelvis. Continue to pull the shoulder blades together and apart for up to 60 seconds.