Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Movement & Mobility Practice

As reported by Harvard Medical School, mobility, defined as our ability to move purposefully around our environment, is vitally important to health, longevity and overall well-being. As athletes, it’s equally important for optimal performance in whatever game is most important to us, whether it’s family, career, competitive sports, community service, travel, or simply enjoying life to the fullest. 

In a Special Health Report, Harvard reports that more than 1/3 and nearly 1/2 of our population of ages 65 and older experience impaired mobility.  And the onset of diminishing mobility begins at an age much earlier than that.

“At first, it may not seem like a big deal — many people with impaired mobility learn to just move a little more slowly and a little more deliberately. Some people work around the problem by relying on a cane or walker. But that's why it's important to intervene to either prevent future mobility impairments or reduce existing ones. “

At Physical Focus, we believe that no matter our age and current ability, it’s possible to maintain and even improve our overall mobility! Instead of accepting the status quo that decreased mobility is inevitable with age, our proactive approach involves strategic movement and mobility practices. Because doing so is essential for our longevity, total health and performance. 

According to Harvard, impaired mobility may cause our health to spiral downward. With less movement, we often gain weight and lose muscle mass. A trend is also to withdraw from social connections, and activities that challenge us mentally as well. Exercise may become more challenging, and we may end up sitting more and moving less, which can exacerbate many health problems.

Harvard says that, “This cycle of physical, emotional, and mental decline further restricts mobility. For most people, the ability to rely on their own bodies, skills, and mental agility is a crucial part of living a satisfying life. Having full mobility helps you fully engage with the world and fosters a sense of self-sufficiency that can help you live independently well into your later years.”

And isn’t that our big picture goal? To live fully, with energy and enthusiasm. To have a good day, each and every day. To expand, balance and focus our energy and attention toward what matters most to us – our values, goals, commitments and relationships.  

As I discussed in previous blogs, my template for a high performance life is SMARTER.  S for Social Connections, M for Movement for the body & brain, A for Awareness, R for Rest & Recovery, T for Treat, E for Eat & Environment, and R for Refocus. M - Daily movement and mobility is a key ingredient, and in this formula, maintaining mobility is the result of a consistent and strategic movement practice.  

I’ve created a movement practice for you to follow. http://youtu.be/5bqejl0vLGw

I do this movement practice first thing every morning, to connect with, energize and mobilize my body and brain. I also use this movement practice or parts of it whenever I’ve sat for more than 20 or 30 minutes, and before a workout or playing a sport.

Remember - we are athletes, playing in whatever game is most important to us. Our ability to start the game, our longevity in the game, and our level of performance at crunch-time, comes down to our level of conditioning. How we train and what we practice.  It’s time to treat ourselves like the athletes we are, and commit to a consistent, strategic movement and mobility practice.