By Joe Musolino, DC
Now that we are well into our second month of sheltering-in, sadly with no end in sight, you may be starting to feel (or even worse see…mirrors are becoming just as much of an enemy as this dang virus) changes to your body. Let’s be honest, no matter how many times a day you go for a walk (morning dog…afternoon kids…evening alone because I need to get the heck away from these people!), or eat as best as possible when you are deathly afraid to go to the supermarket, you can only maintain for so long.
Take exercise for example. Despite every attempt to try to keep as fit and active as possible (digging out the DVD player being the last resort of course), research shows that after about a month most of us start to lose any gains we may have previously made. Of course, that only applies if you were in a regular exercise program to begin with. If you are one of those individuals that considers getting out of bed (squat), walking to the kitchen (treadmill), then having a cup of coffee (arm curls) legitimate exercise then there is no better time to start than now.
Whether you fall into the one camp or the other, there is probably one aspect of exercise that you are missing out on (or not doing enough of): mobilization. When it comes to exercise most of us think of 1) losing weight or 2) building muscle. Maybe a little of both if you have the will power to have a strict diet AND exercise frequently. In order to get the most out of your workouts it is essential that you can move optimally. This is the reason why mobilization is so important. All those joints that need to move for the muscles to grow (or the heart to get stronger) must be free of hitches as much as possible. Not to mention the muscles themselves must move freely for them to grow as well (why deep tissue massage hurts so good). This also is important in minimizing the likelihood of you sustaining any injury or developing a chronic condition. Mobilization is the key to maintaining this movement. And in case you’re wondering, yes stretching is a form of mobilization but research has shown that it takes a lot more than a couple of 30-second holds to make tight muscles loosen up enough to make a significant difference.
In our “#MovementMonday” video series we have focused on simple mobilization exercises that you can do at home, whether you’re trying to stay as active as possible or are looking to use all of this downtime to get started on an exercise program. The beauty of mobilization exercises is that they can be done with no extra equipment needed. A simple, five-minute, mobility-focused routine is more than enough to get minimal benefit. But if you are looking for more enhanced benefits an entire workout can be built around mobilization exercises (sort of like yoga minus the meditational aspects).
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