Undoing decades at a desk.
Monday 26th November 2018
If you live in discomfort and regularly feel pain when you move, you are not alone: the NHS estimates that around 28 million adults in the UK live with some form of chronic pain .
As part of a major review in 2016, researchers took evidence from 19 studies that surveyed almost 140,000 adults. Their conclusion - that a staggering 43% of respondents suffer from chronic pain - is the tip of the iceberg.
Furthermore, the number of hip replacements in adults under the age of 60 rose by 76% between 2004 and 2014.
With the nation's joints seemingly grinding to a halt, why is the obvious answer to these woes - mobility training - still generally perceived as something only hippies and yogis do in-between mantras and humming?
Even ardent gym users seem to use mobility training sparingly, treating it as a way to quickly warm up before getting on with the 'real' part of the workout.
Perhaps mobility training's rather 'pedestrian' image is the problem. It's certainly the least 'sexy' aspect of training; it's avoided by many, who presumably feel it won't benefit their bigger goals of losing weight or getting fitter. Ironically, of course, if you are training to look better, become stronger and be a better athletic version of yourself then there is no other modality of training that will help you not only reach your goals but give you the foundations to stay there.
When you build a base of healthy, resilient joints everything becomes easier. You have less pain, you move with more freedom and, ultimately, you have more confidence that your body is capable of doing the things that you need it to do.
You want to run for a train because you're late for a meeting? It's easier with healthy joints. You want to roll around on the floor with your children? It's more fun with healthy joints. You want to climb Everest Base Camp for charity? It's achievable with healthy joints.
All of this and you can also live pain free, relieved of stiff and achy joints, and replace it with a fully functioning movement system.
So if you've spent decades at a desk and feel about as supple as a board, what's the best way to begin?
Like any new form of exercise, start slowly. Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to improve everything at once. Start by assessing each joint and find the three areas that feel the most restricted.
A great way to get a better understanding of your movement capacity is by using something called Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs). This process involves taking each joint through its greatest rotational range of motion. It's an empowering self-assessment tool and will allow you to:
• Locate your problem areas
• Use in your daily practice
• Reassess every few weeks
Living without pain shouldn't be a dream; make it your reality.
As ever, if you would like to discuss any of the points in this blog, just get in touch.