Week 1 - Up Size for No Extra $ - Just Read This Blog!
There is an optimal way to stack the bones when you move and an optimal amount of movement that encourages bone growth, cellular regeneration, circulation and respiration. This eight week series is dedicated to understanding just what that is and how you can get it. It is a big and juicy topic so more than ever before you will get much more from the series if you read the blog each week. There will be more pictures and more video clips including me being a dork out in the world. Seriously, how could you resist? This first week is an introduction with some key exercises for you to work on at the end.
How Can Movement Be Nutritious?
The nutrients we absorb from food are the chemical compounds that create particular cellular experiences. You need a certain range of these for your body to perform all the processes required to keep you well. I will stop at nothing to get your attention hence the next photo.
Movement also has a cellular response in the body and the way we move can be the solution to so many of the modern ailments that we all experience. Limited movement and ranges of movement can lead to cellular stagnation. Things don't function like they should. Yes, your organs (along with the things that hold them in place) are effected by how you move.
It's taken several hundred years of observation and dedicated study to come to our current level of understanding of what is required nutritionally for the average human being to function well. Think of sailors being able to ward off scurvy when we discovered that vitamin C was an essential ingredient of the human diet.
Modern science is increasingly concluding that the average human is moving a lot less than they used to and it is having an impact. We lead busy lives that have encouraged a kind of convenience living. How can I get more things done in the same amount of time? Is the kind of thinking that has lead to an average day looking something like the slide below (you can substitute an office job for other activities - have a think about it, how much sitting do you do each day?)
A Lot of It Comes Down to Every Day Walking
How you move matters. We carry a lot of tension in our muscles that translates into how we move around. We tend not to think about walking do we? It just kind of happens, and yet a lot of painful problems are exacerbated by how we do this. (Side note: Suspend judgement at this point if it is the first time you've worked with me. How we walk and how we think we walk are very often two different things. Your sore neck and shoulders (for example) and being impacted upon by how you walk. Just jump on board for the rest of the term and see what you uncover.)
Restoring a natural walking pattern increases muscle use while walking, decreases joint degeneration, and actually promotes restoration. And did you know that your metabolism is based on how much muscle you are using? If your bones aren't stacked in the optimal way when you move (aligned correctly), it is impossible to be meeting maximum metabolism potential. That's right walking well not only feels great but it burns more calories (you can get up a good speed eventually too, my clients frequently break a sweat!) Don't rush it though, we need to put down good foundations first.
HOMEWORK WEEK 1 - SERIES 4, 2015
I will list the Gait Basics practice in it's entirety here, but we will focus on different aspects of it each week. If you have not yet experienced the full program or have limited time then please work with the following three exercises this week:
- Foot Alignment
- Calf Stretch
- Hand Stretch (not part of gait basics but very important. This is the calf stretch for your upper body! If you have sore hands, wrists, elbows, neck and / or shoulders you need this. Strike that, we all need this. Also, it will help you get ready for the work we will add in a few weeks time.)
Gait Basics - Restorative Exercise™ Gait Essentials program
(This is Your Handout in Week 1)
(another side note: dear folk who've worked with me before.....this never stops being our home practice. We just get better at it. It starts to click into gear, and we think about it less and do it more, and it infiltrates lots of other things that we do too. Talking from experience here, it really works. Talking from the point of view of movement nutrition, we wouldn't need these exercises if we had a full spectrum of movement naturally in our everyday lives, but we tend not to. So this is our movement Multi-Vitamin!)
Foot Alignment - The muscles in your legs and pelvis don't work correctly unless the feet point straight ahead when you walk. (Much like the balance of the tires of your car). Use the straight edge of your yoga mat, floor boards or similar to line up the outside edges of your feet (true hip distance apart).
Calf Stretch - 30 seconds to one minute each side, at least twice a day. Use a 1/2 Dome or thick, rolled towell. Keep the foot straight, place the ball of the foot on top of the dome. Step forward with the oppostie foot as far as you can while keeping your body upright and balanced. Your hips should remain aligned over your back ankle.
Foot Stretch - 30 seconds to one minute each side, at least twice a day - if the top of your foot is very tight you can try the chair version. Stand up and reach one leg back behind you, tucking the toes under. If your foot cramps, take a rest and then return to the stretch.
Knee Cap Release - Start with straight legs and try to lift and lower your knee caps. Find a wall to lean against if you are having difficulty standing. Start off with the feet about 30cm away. Once you've achieved the Knee Cap Release here move a little closer. 30 seconds to one minute - or any time you find yourself standing around!
Monster Walk - With or without resistance band. Feet are straight, hip width apart. If using the band keep tension on it. Your weight is in your heels. Start at one end of your mat, hips forward and move sideways - one step at a time. Go up and down your mat around 4 to 6 times.
Double Calf Stretch - Place your hands on the seat of a kitchen/desk chair. Line up the outside edges of your feet and straighten your legs all the way. Your weight should be back in your heels and all your toes lift-able. See if you can lift your tailbone up to the ceiling without bending your knees. 30 seconds to a minute, twice a day.