I’m not anti-gym…no I started there…but my goodness, I ain’t going to stay there…and God forbid, end there!
Being within the fitness world and industry and yet far enough out of it to see it for what it is, I can honestly say that we have developed a really warped way of looking at how we use our bodies. Its crazy. I see the gym as the “Weight Watchers” or “Slimming World ” of the movement world. The gym is an unnatural place, with an unnatural environment where we use unnatural machines, or attend unnatural classes and then have unnatural expectations!!! It may be a good place to start your journey but ultimately it is very restrictive; we are just moving the same large muscle groups repetively. But the most frustrating thing I come across is that people start to put their wellbeing and health into this box…one or two hours a day, and often in the hands of others ( trainers, classes, the industry) and actually we all have become so disconnected from our bodies, so unaware and out of tune with whats going on inside ourselves.
So, with that in mind here are some less obvious ways to get some nourishing and joyful movement into your life 24hours a day….whether in the gym or just living your life!
Conscious BREATH a few times a day
- Bring your attention to the breath, feel your inhalation in your belly, expand your belly, feel your belly fall and relax as you exhale
- Once you get this connection, take it deeper. Inhale and feel your belly expand and then bring that up to the ribs…feel them expand sideways , upwards and backwards.
- Once you feel that connection after a few breaths, bring it deeper…Belly, Ribs then breath deeper and feel your chest rise, upperback expand and collar bones lift
There, you just did THREE-PART BREATHING. A highly therapeutic and mindful practice that takes a few minutes and gives your muscles,including pelvic floors and internal organs a good little workout …like a bit of a HIT session for your bits Breathing IS movement. And most of us don’t do it very well. Yet its free and simple to practise.
Become aware of your ALIGNMENT throughout the day
- The posture you take most of the time is the place that your body will feel most comfortable in. Your fascia kind of “fuse” in that alignment so that if you try and straighten up purposefully or forcefully, you can only hold it for a short while before you collapse back into your comfort zone. YOU ARE HOW YOU MOVE. Your muscles are too weak to hold the forced pose and your fascia is kind of stuck in your most commonly held position. So its really hard to work against that. You need to unstick!
- Just by being aware of this you can start to adjust more regularly. The more you do it the more you awaken your muscles and start to bring flexibilty, fluidity and mobility into your fascia
- Regularly become aware of your position. Bring yourself into alignment: chin tucked, head and neck aligned, shoulders relaxed and down, gently engage the shoulder blades, avoid thrusting the ribs upa and hence over arching the lower back, relax your belly, avoid tucking your pelvis in, sit on your sitz bones (untuck your pelvis!!), check your feet,lift gently your inner ankles to lift the arches, feet facing forwards. PHEW…thats actually a lot of work for your body and you havent even moved in space…do it…do it many times a day. Each time you will be building your strength in the areas of weakness.
- Women…avoid regular wearing of heels! Obviously being barefoot is best (I often slip of my shoes anywhere and everywhere) but if you are not ready to go totally flat, at least ditch the stiletoes …they are spine-crushers.
- Shoes, in general are actually very destructive on the body in many ways. They do not allow us to ground with the Earth, they stiffen our ankles, they weaken our feet muscles and arches and deform the shape of our feet leading to bunions and the like. Get out of your shoes often. Or try and weat minimilist shoes being sure to transition carefully and gradually into this style of shoe.
- Guys, just move…jiggle, wiggle , shake and shimmy
- Move your body regularly OUT OF ITS NORMAL RANGE
- Stretch up
- Bend down
- Side bend
- Twist …safely and gently
- Chin tuck
- Roll your shoulder back
- Move your neck in different ways
- Move your eyes…look far …cross eye..side to side …blink fast, blink slow, open them wide.
- Smile, crinkle your nose, stretch your mouth, wiggle your jaw
- Stretch your fingers
- Circle your ankle
- Roll your feet on a ball
- Take your shoes of and wiggle your toes, stretch open your toes.
- Balance on one foot …then the other.
- Buy a foam roller and roll it all out
- Self-massage regularly…pressure moves those little bits on the body that dont ofetn get moved. Squish your bits as I like to tell my classes!
There are just soooooo many ways to bring movement to the ALL THE LITTLE CELLS AND MUSCLES IN THE BODY. All of these should be done every single day…often. And this is just a small sample of ideas…use your imagination
Move your Body in Novel Ways
- The basis of Neuroplasticity in the brain (ie rewiring) is NOVELTY. Find new ways of moving your bits
- Brush your teeth with the opposite hand
- Change the route of your walk/run
- Do a differnet class at the gym
- Pick up stuff with your toes
- Eat with your hands
- Massage your self often
- Play games with kids…roll around and jump about…let go and have fun. Pleasure is therapy.
- Dance a crazy, self-liberating, weird, who gives a *$!* kinda dance
Lower Your Life
- Live on the floor!
- Sit on the floor
- Shift your position often and in a wide variety of positions
- Work on the floor
- Lie on the floor, on your back, front, side
- Sleep on the floor
- Eat your food sitting on the floor
- Watch TV sitting on the floor
- Push against something…a wall, a bench, a bed, the floor
- Pull on something
- Hang on something…yeah, just hang there.
- Lift heavy things…weights, your body, shopping , lift!
- Squat, crawl around…crawl from the sofa to the TV to change the channel…hey, why not?
WALK WALK WALK
- Walking is essential.
- Bring breath and alignment awareness into your walk.
- Runners often feel compelled to run at any given opportunity, and feel walking is “not enough”. This is a shame. Walking resets your body. Walking is a fundamental movement. It nourishes our joints, increases hip bone health, mobilizes and strengthens our feet, nurtures pelvic floor function. We ” cross-crawl” as we walk which energises our body and engages our brain. Oh my Goodness, I LOVE WALKING! Most of us do not walk consciously, in fact if you observe closely people really are “falling forward” when they walk. If you walk with awareness, you will swith on those big beautiful glutes and engage the posterior chain and start a cascade of amazingness in the body. Sounds good, eh?
Its all about CONSCIOUS MOVEMENT. Be aware of yourself and how you move. Find a movement that makes you feel joy and pleasure. Be aware of how long you have been STILL. Its not about sitting too long ….its about sitting STILL or standing STILL too long that is the issue….so, SHIFT and SHIMMIE all day long.