“At the end of the day we all just want to be able to get ourselves off the toilet,” states Miles, a great friend of mine who is a neuromuscular therapist. 🚽🧉🧑⚕️ Of course, we were discussing functional aging. As we move through our daily lives, contemplating our future ability to get ourselves off the toilet is likely not high on our list of considerations. ❤️✨🔥 But let’s face it; none of us are getting any younger. And we can observe varying ways that people “do” aging. I’m commonly asked, “what can I do on my own at home?” 🏠😅✔️ Most of the time this is specific to the person’s individual situation, however, there are a few basic moves that I commonly suggest across the board.
Move 1: Shoulder Mobility
A few years ago, outta the blue, I lost mobility in my left shoulder. I could barely use my left hand to wash my hair. I worked on mobility several times a week for about 6 months. Once it seemed my left arm was working, then I lost mobility in my right arm. Super annoying. 🩸🤕🛀
I thought I may have been retracing (see the blog I wrote last week) old rugby shoulder injuries, but apparently this is a “thing” with women ages 40-60. Joy.
Stand against a wall for support. Attempt to square your shoulder blades flat against the wall. 🧱🏛️👍
Raise your arms up, bend arms, and square the back of your wrists flat against the wall. Some won’t be able to do this. That’s ok. If you can’t do position 1, your homework is to practice a few minutes each day working to try to get your wrists flat against the wall.
If you’re able to get into position 1, then proceed with position 2. Raise arms above your head, while focusing on keeping the backs of your wrists against the wall the whole time. 👐🙌🏻✨
Once your arms are straight, slide your hands towards each other, again, maintaining your wrists and your shoulder blades against the wall.
If you want, you can also do this exercise laying on the floor. Put some weight on your wrists (I used 8 lb dumbells) as you slide your arms above your head; it'll keep you from cheating and force your shoulders open. 🏋️♀️🦖😊
If you’re easily able to do this, congratulations! Continue this move several times a week.
Remember, move it or lose it. ✨🚙
Move 2: Psoas Stretch
The psoas muscle is a very long muscle that attaches your upper body to your lower body. 🦘🐞🦚 When we sit for long periods of time, ie, spending a long time working at a desk or long car rides, this muscle gets tight. A tight psoas commonly manifests as low back pain. Regularly stretching the psoas is a great idea, regardless of how much sitting you’re doing. The more sitting, the more stretching. 🧘🦧🐈
To stretch your left psoas, stand up and place your right leg a pretty far distance in front of your left leg. Make sure both feet are facing forward. Stretch your left arm up towards the ceiling. Now bend your right knee to deepen the stretch. Your upper body should stay upright, reaching towards the sky, not bending forward. You should feel the stretch in the front part of your left leg and left groin. Switch legs. A more advanced version of this stretch, and a version that guarantees you’ll isolate the psoas, involves using a chair. To stretch your left psoas, stand in front of the chair and place your left knee on the chair and let your left foot lean against the back part of the chair. Stretch your left arm towards the ceiling and bend your right knee. You’ll feel this! 🪑👢🔥 One can also do this stretch on the floor. Left knee on the floor, right foot on the floor with knee in a 90 degree angle. Left arm up. Stretch toward the ceiling and lean forward into your right leg to deepen the stretch.
Move 3: Squat
Squatting is one of the most primal human positions. It’s the optimal position for birthing and pooping. In the West, we rarely engage in this position after childhood. It’s definitely a cultural thing. 🦀💩❤️
When I was in India, I rarely observed folks using chairs. They just squatted. Since we’re probably not getting rid of chairs anytime soon, we need to consciously squat.
Squatting involves 3 major joint groups; the ankles, knees and hips. Regularly engaging in this position keeps these joints “juicy.” 🗻🍉🥑
Start by using something to keep you stable; a sturdy desk or doorframe works great.
Slowly lower yourself down, using the doorframe to keep you stable. Go as far as your joints allow you to go. Hang out here for a few seconds. Then raise yourself up, using the doorframe to assist you if you need. 🚪✨
The goal is to fully lower yourself to full knee flexion. Once all the way down, visualize extending your tailbone all the way to the floor. Use the doorframe or sturdy object to pull your spine straight while in a fully squatted position.
Do this several times a day. If it's easy for you...great! Continue doing this thing that's easy for you daily! 📅✨👍
Advanced Extra Credit Move: Deep Squat with Shoulder Mobility
Lean against a wall and do a deep squat with your back against the wall. While in a deep squat, extend your arms up and do shoulder mobility moves as described above. 🏛️🧱🖼️
These 3 basic moves can keep your major joints juicy and moving for life.
Are there additional moves and stretches one can do? Absolutely! If you're looking for an excellent yoga instructor, my good friend Della McGee teaches a fantastic class on Sundays, 10 a.m. via zoom. ClickHERE to check her out. 🧘❤️😂
I wanted to pair it down to 3 basic moves anyone can take 30 seconds and do.
If on a long car ride, do a few of these moves while pumping gas. If working at a desk all day, stand up every few hours and do a few of these moves. The key is to be regular. 🚓⛽
Move it or lose it, folks!
A few schedule updates: I’ll be in the office this week for my normal hours including this Saturday. Next week I’ll be in on Monday and Tuesday, then out of town until the following Tuesday, March 8.
Brenda will be out of town from March 19- April 3. She does still have some openings in her schedule before she leaves.
If you'd like to get on the schedule for one of our awesome services, click HERE!