As we age and progress through our careers we are forced to sit more at a desk, and we are no longer challenging our joints, muscles and nerves. Here are 4 simple functional movements to maintain your function of your body.
Along with strengthening the trunk, shoulders and hand muscles, crawling is one of the earliest forms of ‘core strengthening’. When we spend time on our hands and knees, we are using multiple areas of the body for stabilization your trunk, shoulder girdle, hips and spine.
Exercise: Start on hands and knees, try gentle weight shifting from one hand to the other, then progress to lifting one arm, then leg, and then you might be ready for crawling. If you haven’t been much of a crawler lately, it may take some time to build up strength in all the joints for crawling.
Our joints contain cartilage, a rubber-like padding that covers and protects the ends of long bones at the joints. This cartilage contains 65-80% water. The only way the joints stay healthy and lubricated is through movement, especially on-off compression to allow the water to squeeze out of the cartilage into the joint, so that is doesn’t dry out and become stiff.
This is why squatting is so important – it takes the body through a range of movement, from the top of the neck, to the bottom of the foot.
Exercise: Start with practicing a small squat over a chair; move toward the chair as if to sit, but don’t actually sit, and then rise up again. Start slow, with small movements. Again, this exercise is best viewed by a physiotherapist to start, to make sure it is done correctly.
The act of balancing relies on input from the eyes, inner ear, proprioception from our joints, and the brain and spinal cord.
Exercise: Start with standing on one foot, then the other. Then try with eyes closed, close to a wall or with light touch on a counter to start. Then practice walking a narrow line. You can put tape on the floor for 6 to 8 feet long and walk on the line one foot ahead of the other.
4) Getting Up Off The Floor:
Many people have trouble getting up off the floor as they age because their joints get stiff.
Exercise: Using a combination of the three movements discussed earlier, start on all fours in a crawling position, then rise up to kneel. Balance on one foot to push up, rise up from a lunge position to stand.
Practicing functional, natural movements as a regular part of an exercise or warm-up will keep your joints moving. Be sure to check-in with your Nose Creek Physiotherapist to ensure that you are moving correctly, especially if you cannot do one of these exercises.