Fitness is something that is very important to me. Every day I try to do something that makes me sweat. That requires movement. But, like everyone, somedays I just cannot get that solid planned/structured training in. Kids are up in the middle of the night, we have errands to run, we are traveling, I decide to sleep in, there are a host of reasons that the training doesn’t happen. But, there is no excuse for not getting some sort of movement in. I’m not talking about walking around in the store, although that is better than sitting at a desk or on a sofa all day. I’m talking about being smart in your movement. We focus all the time on muscle training and aerobic training. We are trying to make our bodies better machines to get better at whatever sport we are working on. I run 4-5 days a week. Not terribly long runs, but I’m a decent runner. Even when I was eating well and training consistently and felt like I was in pretty good shape, I couldn’t even bend over and touch my toes. And staying in a squat position for more than a few seconds? Forget about it. I always said “I have no flexibility” “I don’t bend”, and so on. Yoga? I didn’t have time for that. Why would I sit in an hour long class and be miserable when I couldn’t even bend to begin with and I could use that time to hit the weights or hit the trail?
Then I started reading Ready to Run, by Kelly Starrett. He’s a big guy and his flexibility was envious. I started realizing that I have neglected my joints. Like most Americans I was strung so tight in every joint in my body from poor posture at work, poor mechanics when I lifted, and just downright neglect. I’ve spent hundreds of hours training and zero time on my joints, flexibility and basic mobility. There’s a move called the Asian Squat. You may have seen it on Facebook or YouTube. A basic move that my children can do without thinking twice about it and adults all over the world do it and yet I would say 90% of Americans over the age of 25 cannot do it properly. Since I’ve started doing some of the work that Kelly Starrett prescribes in his book and done a little bit of yoga my flexibility and range of motion are already far beyond what I ever thought possible for myself. And it feels great. I encourage anyone there to take the time, every single day, even if you can’t get that structured workout in to at least every so often throughout the day to just practice a squat. Do a little couch stretch. Practice doing animal movements when you’re playing with your kids. Work on some simple shoulder mobility exercises.
And try to do these a little bit every day. You will see improvement. I’m not able to do the Asian Squat very well yet, but I’m getting there.