Move It Monday – Move More, Move Often

Healthy Monday

“Too much sitting is bad for health.”

This is from a recent study that you may have already seen, but it certainly bears repeating.

In short, for each hour we spend in front of the TV:

  • 11% increase in death (from all causes)
  • 9% increase in cancer death
  • 18% increase in cardiovascular death

“Compared with people who watched less than two hours of television daily, those who watched more than four hours a day had a 46 percent higher risk of death from all causes and an 80 percent increased risk for cardiovascular-related death.”

While the study focused primarily on TV, you can logically extend the study to any prolonged sedentary behavior (and yes, that includes the computer). We simply aren’t meant to sit in one place for long periods of time. I know I talk a lot about how movement is the fountain of youth, but I believe it AND the science backs me up on it!

What can you do about it?

I tell my clients that I want them up and moving for at least 5 minutes every hour. While this may sound impossible for those of you working cubicle farms, here are some options:

  • get up and talk to a co-worker instead of emailing/calling
  • refill your water bottle or get a healthy snack
  • go to the restroom (which will be important if you are regularly refilling your water bottle)
  • make up some sort of errand
  • do some Z-Health mobility drills

This week, 5 minutes every hour. Your kids and grandkids will thank you!

How a collarbone fixes a hip

Joint painAnyone who knows anything of my training history, knows that my left hip is NOT happy going in to external rotation; I have problems putting weight on it in rotation, even in neutral with abduction, etc.  I’ve spent years blaming it on my high heels and abdominal surgeries (or on a bad day, I just whine that I’m cursed).

I finally hit the point where I needed to figure out what the problem is, as it was affecting my ability to do the things I want to do (parkour, rock-bottom squats, pistols). I was in my gym playing with hip rotation on both hips, trying a few things. I started going back through my history.

One of the first places to always look is the opposite joint, in this case the opposite shoulder. Nope, no shoulder problems. BUT, that is the side where broke my clavicle, and the clavicle meets up with the glenohumeral joint. Hmmm…. Can’t hurt to try.

Since the clavicle can’t really move on it’s own, it’s easiest to move the arm to get the clavicle to move. It doesn’t move much, but it does indeed move.  So, I applied pressure with my left hand on my right clavicle, and did a nice (unweighted) press with my right arm. Did a few reps, wanted to see what the felt like. Definitely didn’t feel like the other side. Applied pressure and played with it for a few minutes until the two felt similar.

Got up. Rotation: pain-free. Abduction: pain-free. HUGE SMILE. Now that I’m pain-free I can work on regaining that range of motion, which should be a pretty simple process now.

I broke that clavicle 25 years ago. While the fracture itself is definitely healed, my overall body had not recovered yet. It’s been great, my gait feels different, it’s fantastic to be able to move that way again.

Learning via movement

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s one of my favorite topics.

I’ve spent considerable time during the past two days trying to write good copy for some upcoming workshops — with little to show for it. Today, I woke up well-rested (come back for tomorrow’s post for more about why that’s relevant), the sun was out, and I felt like MOVING. So, grabbed the leash and the puppy and I went out for a walk.

It was a quiet Saturday in north Seattle, the sun was out, the birds were chirping — I kinda had the neighborhood to myself, and was just enjoying watching my girl sniffing everything in sight, and being outside and soaking up some Vitamin D — not really thinking about much of anything. Suddenly, one flash of inspiration. A minute or two later, another. And, then a third (this last one was something I’d been pondering for WEEKS).

If you are one of those people that needs to stand at a whiteboard and draw when it comes time to expound on ideas, it’s the same thing. Movement facilitates learning and creativity.

So, the next time you have a problem to solve, go for a walk!

Seattle Z-Health Intro workshop

If you are a naturopath, acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist or other type of bodyworker, I’d like to invite you to the following workshop. You can also download the flyer HERE.

An Introduction to Z-Health

Saturday, February 28, 12pm – 2pm
Phinney Neighborhood Center (6532 Phinney Ave N)

Z-Health blends eastern and western medicine in a holistic system designed to:

  • Alleviate pain
  • Improve performance
  • Enhance health energy
  • Prevent injuries

Joints, nerves, the respiratory system, cranium, visual system, and vestibular system are all a part of our neurokinesiologic approach to the body. We combine this approach with a proprietary assessment process (for instant feedback) that gets results in the first visit.

Learn how adding a Z-Health practitioner to your referral network can result in new clients and improve current client retention.

What to Expect:

  • Alleviate YOUR nagging aches and pains or loosen up stiff and inflexible areas — with a set of drills to maintain those improvements. We believe in word of mouth. The best referral is a happy client!
  • Learn movement principles that you can use for yourself and your clients
  • Light movement, so please wear comfortable clothes and be prepared to take your shoes off
  • Lunch will not be provided, but feel free to bring snacks and beverages
  • A money-back guarantee on the workshop

Cost: $29. Payable in cash or check at the workshop.

To sign up: jen@keyboardathletes.com or 206.819.0511
For more information:  www.zhealth.net

Physically fit kids do better in school

One of the things that still isn’t commonly discussed in the brain science world is the positive relationship between movement and learning.

I think that most of us have experienced it, but may not have been able to put a name to it. I know that when I’m stuck on something, I’ll often go for a walk, go to get a snack (not a good habit) or otherwise walk away from my computer and do something else. I can’t just change tasks at the computer, I need to physically get away — where I can continue to ponder whatever it is that I’m trying to solve, or let the subconscious work on it. But, in any event, moving cements the learning and helps with my problem-solving.

Physically fit kids do better in school.

Now if only we can get corporate America and the US school system to embrace this.

Movement = energy and cognitive function

After an extremely long three weeks of preparing for and then running the Z-Health Master Trainer live training event, I’m home and ready to get back to the rest of my life. The event far exceeded my expectations, and was an amazing experience — I’m lucky to have been a part of it.

Today was my first full day back home, and this evening I was staring at my computer, trying to will myself to write something useful. No luck. Finally I realized I had to get up and do something — anything. So, took the puppy for a walk, and came back feeling like a brand new person. My energy is back and I’m feeling creative for the first time in days.

There is a lot of science behind why and how movement increases energy levels and improves cognitive function. And I’m grateful that I understand it so that I can be my #1 experiment.

High school sports workshop

Last night I did a sports workshop for some high schoolers in the mentoring program I’m involved with. Super fun!

We did some R-Phase mobility, discussing the arthrokinetic reflex and why joint mobility is important. And, there is nothing like a few demos to prove your point!

All of the students in the room are on the varsity teams for ball sports, so we spent quite a bit of time on visual drills and hand/eye and hand/foot drills and letterball drills. Those were really eye-opening (no pun intended) for mentors and students alike. Everyone saw dramatic improvements in their skills, after just a few reps.

We did before and after tests of their vertical jump, and everyone had a definite improvement — one student even had a 3″ increase.

Tennis

I found my love of tennis late in life, and as with most things in my life, the path to getting there is amusing and circuitous. In early 2005, I went to Romania to visit my dear friend, Jenny. She had taken up tennis while living there as an ex-pat, apparently business meetings in Romania are conducted on the tennis court, much like they are conducted on the golf course in the States. Anyway, she told me I was going to take lessons, whether I liked it or not (I had been leaning towards the latter). She had an amazing coach — a formerly world-ranked player and coach of the Romanian National team. I spent a week taking lessons from him, and fell in love with the sport. I came back to the States and took some classes, but it wasn’t the same.

A few years went by, I got to Seattle, and decided to try again. I remained frustrated by the poor level of instruction, and quit again. Mastery requires lots and lots of repetitions, and the way these programs are structured doesn’t really allow for that. It’s not sexy, it’s not fun, and it takes a lot of time — but it’s the only way to truly get good at something.

The past few weeks I’ve been wanting to pick up a racket again. I found a playground (thanks, Kaboom!) that has a big concrete wall, bought a few tennis balls, and spent the afternoon outside, just practicing my forehand and backhand against the wall. It felt great to get out there, and I was actually able to spend time just working on the things I know I’m not good at. I also spent quite a bit of time working on ball tracking, and making sure that I watched the ball as it hit the racket.

If I had to pick the one thing that made the most difference it was the eye tracking. We talk about it at S-Phase, but I haven’t done any ball sports since then. But, it’s totally true. Every time I watched the ball hit the racket, it was a strong, powerful stroke. Good stuff!

Weighted mobility

When prepping for the RKC, I did some very specific weighted mobility — all designed to let my body handle the ridiculous amount of load it was going to go under that weekend. I did tons of shoulder circles with the 12kg bell pressed, etc.

Tonight, for the first time, I did a full-body R-Phase using weights (other than where not practical, such as cervical spine). I’m still trying to decide if my body thought was a good idea or not.  A self-assessment tells me that my body liked it — I’m just not so sure that my muscles and joints agree, even if my nervous system thinks it was good. I used 2.5-3 pound weights just about everywhere, except for lumbar circles, where I used a 26lb kettlebell.

As always, the rule for adding weight is to follow the Four Elements of Efficiency. The moment you start going in to startle, then you need to either get rid of the weight altogether or go to a lighter weight. I ended up having to change how I did my ankle circles a few times, as I didn’t want the weight to result in bad mapping for me (the last thing I need with my current gait weirdness).

I’m looking forward to making this a regular part of what I do, and my body getting more and more comfortable with it.

Toe Pulls are my favorite

Toe PullsThat Ahhh…. Feeling

You know how have those little things you do, whether it’s the quick, sideways crack of the neck (that ALWAYS looks like it hurts when I see other people do it), the quick trunk rotation to get you back to crack, maybe it’s cracking your knuckles. We all have our “things.”

For me, it’s the Z-Health Toe Pull.

What is a Toe Pull?

The toe pull is one of the Z-Health high-payoff exercises. It’s one of the 6 beginning exercises (or what they call the high-payoffs) that provide awesome results for 80% of clients.

They don’t look like much – you can actually see me doing one with my right foot in the photo. Yeah, told you they don’t look like much.

But, what the toe pulls do is open up  some of the joints in our feet. The hands and feet have 25% of the body’s joints in them, so keeping them mobile and moving well is super-important for keeping our system moving well overall. Conceptually, it’s really not that much different from what you might do with your neck or back or knuckles, but just with the feet.

The Proof is in the Pudding

On Tuesday I was working with a client, and we were working on her press. She has a history of ankle sprains on both ankles, so that combined with the toe pull being a high payoff and the other things I know about her, I walked her through a really good toe pull. She had been pressing the 16kg kettlbell (36 pounds) with a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of about 6-7. Then, we did the toe pull and her RPE immediately dropped to a 4-5. The second she picked up that kettlebell I knew that it was going to be a much better lift for her.

And all from this goofy thing with the foot. Because we are one complete unit the can’t be broken up into discrete parts. We perform better when all of the pieces are moving optimally.

I know for me, I feel amazing when I do a really good toe pull. When my body feels stiff and achy, I take a few minutes, go in to neutral stance, and run myself through the different toe pull positions. Instantly I can feel the tension release all the way up my back – right up to the base of my neck. For me, it’s even better than a massage!

Where to Start

Z-Health has a video, aptly named Quick Start that contains JUST the 6 high-payoff exercises. It’s a complete instructional DVD that walks you through each of the six, including all of the key points, common errors, and what you need to be focusing on. At $35 (plus shipping), honestly it’s a steal.