Overheard this week during the warm-up for small group; “I wonder if doing a yoga intensive would help with my mobility.” (Thanks for the blog fodder, KZ.)
Short answer; nope.
* (Unless it made you fall in love with “mobility work” and you rarely missed another day.)
Our bodies are constantly adapting to a variety of stimuli. For example, moving or not moving. Your brain commands, your nervous system carries the message, and your joints and muscles do the things – move us, or hold a position.
If you’re lucky, you get to spend most of your day moving around. I say lucky because moving is what we’re designed to do, supporting a supple, capable, and responsive body. If you spend most of your day sitting, your joints and muscles adapt to this and, over time, lose range and elasticity (aka mobility).
Repeated, the effects of our use patterns become more pronounced. You know this. Things like your spine, hips or maybe shoulders don’t move very well. Maybe even hurt. Before you blame this entirely on age, remember how much time you’ve invested training your body in certain positions. It’s not about your birthday, it’s about how much time you’ve spent using your body this way. Your body has simply adapted to the most frequent pattern of use.
If you want mobility, you need movement. Frequently and consistently. Here’s the best part; small doses are extremely effective. The answer is the opposite of a weekend yoga intensive approach. And don’t let your thoughts default to “I need to exercise every day” and then fret about finding that hour.
Instead, think “movement snacks”. (Everyone loves snacks!) Small things done consistently create big changes. And there are endless ways to integrate more minutes of movement into your day. It’s time to get creative.
Adaptation happens on micro and macro-scale. An hour in a zoom meeting (or on your device) will stiffen your neck. Three decades at a desk will make it hard to stand up straight. A few deep breaths and some slow head nods can release that neck tension. (The meeting’s over – let it go.) And a simple floor routine will start to unwind those decades. Yes. It’s true. Your body is constantly adapting.
A few paragraphs ago, I mentioned a yoga intensive might make you fall in love with a new daily habit. You could try that approach. Might be nice.
Or, fall in love sooner by making a few simple changes, starting now. Just wake up? Drop down and do some cat/cow to supple your spine. Been sitting for a while? Windshield wipers will decompress your hips and low back.
It’s easy to fall in love with feeling better. And we tend to keep doing what makes us feel good, right? Get up and go do something. Just for a minute. (Just do it, right Lynn?)