Have you ever tracked how much movement you do in a day? Not only how many steps you take, or the length of your spin class, but have you noticed how often you get in and out from a chair? How you sit at work (and for how long)? Up and down off the ground? In and out of bed?
All of these activities can nourish and support our bodies, or create challenge and wear. The outcomes depend on the mechanics we use, and how successful we are in monitoring the account of our physical health (read more about the checking account theory here).
Over the course of this month, I will take you through a typical day and highlight the work you can do to improve your outcome- both for your musculoskeletal and nervous system.
Today, I serve up practices you can use in the morning to set yourself up for a good day. Please keep your eyes peeled for movement during the work day and while relaxing at night to follow in coming weeks.
Moving Through Your Morning:
When you wake, how are you getting out of bed? Do you wake with stiffness that requires movement? Do you lift your chest like Frankenstein coming to sit in your bed before swinging your legs out?
Everyone has a different relationship with the morning. Some of us love the quiet of the early morning hours, others struggle to get up or have to move at four times their normal speed to get little people ready for school.
Give Yourself Time for Quiet/ Internal Reflection:
The quiet of the morning is an ideal time to take time for yourself. Meditation, prayer are well suited to the morning. If you have time, give yourself the gift of a morning meditation or prayer practice. If you have no time in the morning, quickly visualize your day going well. When you are awake but still lying in bed, begin by diaphragmatic breathing (in and out through your nose). As you lie there, give yourself a chance to envision the rest of your day going successfully/ smoothly. If you have a physical therapy appointment or are working on a specific movement, see yourself doing that movement with ease. Notice how that ease feels in your body.
Get some gentle movement across the low back
During the night, the cartilage within our spines (the intervertebral disks and the articular cartilage at the facets) imbibes water while we are not weight bearing. The connective tissue settle into alignment. Gentle movement in non weight-bearing upon waking can really help ready your body for getting up.
Gently rock your pelvis- staying away from any painful range of motion. If you have been attending the practical Strength course, you are well acquainted with the pelvic tilts through the three planes of motion. If you are new to this practice, simply feel the pelvis rock forward as you gently lift the low back away from the bed, and gently imprint the small of your back as you rock your pelvis backward. Perform 10-15 repetitions.
To get out of bed, roll to your side
Rolling is a really important skill that helps preserve the natural position of the neck, mid back and low back. Roll to your side first, then use your arms to press yourself up, while you lower your shins off the side of the bed. You should be sitting at the edge of your bed. You can take your time here to practice your gentle pelvic tilts again, or get going.
If you try these techniques, please let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!
Happy (safe) Moving!