It’s Wellness Wednesday! Dr. Debi England is back with more of her expert advice on why wellness really is the perfect frugal strategy.
This week’s focus is on movement and its connection to wellness.
HOW WELL DO YOU MOVE?
How well do you move? No, not do you “got the moves like Jagger?” Are you able to move every direction you want at the speed you want at the time you want without pain?
If you can’t, you may not be experiencing wellness. Why does it matter? It leads to happiness and happiness leads to greater financial gain.
Movement is the fluid range of joints and muscles. It’s really a symphony. Don’t think I’m a creepy person, but I love to watch the grace of muscles working in synchronicity. One of my favorite movie montages is in “Creed.”
Every Rocky type movie has a montage where the athlete gets serious because there’s been a beat down or a challenge. Michael B Jordan’s rhomboid muscles are a sight to behold and I use that often in my sports chiropractic practice to demonstrate what muscles I want my athletes to work on!
When I watch well-toned athletes and ballerinas and acrobatic violin players, I am in awe as they conduct their craft with ease. It’s honestly beautiful to see that they don’t have restrictions in any way, BUT it takes work—just like living on a budget.
LOW-COST EXAMPLES TO KEEP YOUR BODY FLEXIBLE:
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art practiced for defense training, but more importantly its health benefits and meditation. Its benefits include decreased stress, anxiety and depression, improved mood, improved aerobic capacity, increased energy and stamina, improved flexibility, balance and agility and improved muscle strength and definition.
As aging adults, keeping our movements wide and adaptable is crucial. Independence into our senior years means being able to bend down and pick things up off the floor, toileting without assistance, getting in and out of bed safely.
Using an exercise like tai chi helps keep our minds sharp and our bodies nimble. There are in-person classes to attend and they are often in the open air, but DVDs and YouTube videos are available if there are none locally.
It can be done in your backyard or living room so it will be an inexpensive way to train your body to move well.
Yoga is a beautiful practice that improves flexibility and balance. It’s also a great discipline to develop a quieting of the mind and soul. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s really difficult to find a “quiet” space away from the phone, news and frankly, people.
Going into a yoga studio creates a space where a stillness is expected so you learn to cultivate it. Yoga increases flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, maintains healthy metabolism, can help with weight reduction, improves cardiovascular health, improves athletic performance and prevents injuries.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get started with a yoga routine. The library has DVDs and YouTube is full of yogis wanting to share their knowledge. Fortunately, it doesn’t require a huge clothing or equipment budget.
Outdoor exercise like running or hiking requires a little equipment like a good pair of shoes for the occasion, but quality lasts longer and you’ll be less likely to injure yourself with solid footwear.
When considering outdoor activities for movement, bring your kids along to set a great example. While they may not be able to run or hike yet, a game of tag in the yard lends to moving in multiple dynamic ways to keep you limbered up.
Bouncing on a trampoline in the backyard reminds you why having a chiropractor on speed dial is a good health strategy. But it works an incredible amount of muscles at one time and makes you laugh a lot, which is always good medicine!
Yard games like big Yahtzee, horseshoes, Frisbee, volleyball, basketball gets everyone involved in staying limber and improves eye hand coordination and balance. You can find many items at second hand sporting goods stores or at yard sales. Empty nesters might be looking for someone to pass down their family collection of sports equipment.
BUT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE A HICCUP…
A restriction in a shoulder joint or a low back will likely need a financial investment, but preventive care through regular check-ins with a chiropractor, massage therapist or Bowenwork practitioner is money well spent.
Chiropractors remove restrictions through manipulation of the joints. It’s safe for newborns to the elderly and just takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish. My patients get off the table and say, “Wow, that feels so much looser! The pain is gone! That feels better!”
That means they can sit at a computer longer, play a game of golf better and think about something other than how much pain they are in.
Massage therapy is often considered a luxury, but my patients experience a faster recovery and a greater range of motion if they will combine the two. A contracted dysfunctional muscle can be the cause of incredible discomfort as an original injury or the consequence of a joint restriction.
We all sit with our shoulders hunched up and pulled forward—computers, smartphones, driving, recliners are all culprits for causing the muscles in our upper back and neck to tense up. When they are in a bunched up state for a long period, the muscle creates a memory of the length.
Even when you are more relaxed, the muscle remembers and stays in a more shortened state causing tension away from the offending activity. Massage therapy resets the muscle’s memory so it can return to a more fluid motion.
Bowenwork is a different philosophy, but one I have found very helpful in patients with chronic issues. It works with the fascia which lies between the skin and the muscle. When it’s disorganized, injured or dysfunctional, it creates a communication challenge for the neurologic system.
The practice is unique and I have personally found it to be the key to unlocking some pretty difficult cases.
If you need referrals, please let me know! I know a large number of folks who are amazing in their skill set and would love to connect you.