Frequently we hear from people, “If I felt better, I would be able to move better.”
We believe this is backwards. If we move better, often we would feel better.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t necessarily fun to move when you don’t feel well. Literally, it can be a pain. But when done with gentle exploration and with awareness, a little movement can go a long way. Exploration that allows your body to find new orientations and configurations that are essential to moving well and feeling good can be like finding gold.
So what does it mean to move better?
We run into a bit of a problem when it comes to defining that. Often what comes to mind are the things you have given up as you have waited to feel good enough to be active again. But we aren’t talking about getting back to the gym or having better form when you do squats or deadlifts. And moving better doesn’t mean going out for that walk or run you have been putting off for a few days or weeks. In general, it isn’t being “active” in the sense of exercise or sports.
Moving better, in order to feel better, is much more fundamental. Think in terms of the types of movement infants and toddlers have. Ground movement. Not sure what I’m talking about? Watch a 9-12 month old child move for an hour or so, or the 2-3 year olds at the playground. Fundamental movement is just that, fundamental. The ability to get up and down off the floor, with ease, with or without your hands; to sit or lie on the floor and feel at home; and then be able to twist, bend, reach, roll, kneel, and crawl from there.
Many of us have lost the ability to feel comfortable without support and cushioning under our bodies. Many times, we don’t feel comfortable even with those. We often sit for many hours of the day. In chairs, at the office or at home, behind a desk or at a table, slumped forward, hour after hour. We sit in cushy chairs and couches watching tv or looking at FaceBook with our spines rounded and the pelvis dumping backwards, nicely supported by cushioning, but losing mobility in the process. Trying to have good posture can feel exhausting and highlight tension in the shoulders or neck. Sitting with poor posture is also exhausting and highlights tension in the low back, neck, and shoulders.
Is it really any surprise that the body stiffens and doesn’t move well after much time spent in these postures?!
Again, don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent a great deal of time lying on that comfortable couch feeling crappy. The last thing I’ve wanted to do is get off it and move in the hope that I would feel better. I still grumble sometimes when I find myself needing to do that. But experience has taught me that I will feel better if I get up and move a bit. Not the other way around.
What is a simple way to move better, or at least get started?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. One of the simplest things to do is move off the couch or out of the chair and onto the floor. Whether you sit there or lie on your back with your knees bent, the body is going to ask you to move in order to find positions that are most supported in your body. It almost might feel like you are required to shift frequently, like an instinct – legs bent, then straight, out to one side and then the other, crossed ankles, one leg bent and the other straight, on your belly, then on your back.
That instinct is good!
Let it move you into a variety of different positions as your joints, bones, and brain find new ways to orient and configure your body. 20 minutes of that type of sitting on the floor everyday is an excellent way to begin developing the capacity to move better.
And as you now know, when you move better, you will feel better.
Don’t believe it? Take our 30 day challenge! Simply sit on the floor for 20 minutes each day for the next 30 days. Then let us know what you discover about your body and yourself 🙂
Still not sure? We offer all new patients a complimentary 30-minute consultation either on the telephone or at our Salt Lake City Myofascial Release clinic, to explore the best way forward for your specific set of symptoms and explain how we would approach your treatment – all before any financial investment on your part, so there are zero risks.