I talk to so many parents who envy their kids’ energy, flexibility, and range of motion. It’s true that we lose some elasticity in our soft tissue as we age, and our joints continue to get beat up from normal wear and tear. But one major reason we don’t move like we used to is, well, because we don’t move like we used to. Think about it…when was the last time you tried a bear crawl, crab walk, or a monkey roll? (It seems animals don’t have a problem moving.)
Most of us get stuck in the same patterns of movement day after day, continually stressing the same muscles while simultaneously neglecting others. The only activity that some of us get during the day is whatever it is that our jobs require of us. Is it any wonder that your shoulders round forward and your neck and upper back are always tight, given that you are bent over a computer screen or assembly line all day? I am constantly seeing office workers with chronically tight lower backs and hamstrings. But even those who exercise regularly tend to get stuck doing the same movements over and over again.
Think about the positions you put your body in most of the day. Then envision what you would look like in the opposite posture. For example, if you sit at a desk with your arms in front of you and your upper body slumped forward, get yourself stretched out with your head and arms extended back, such as when lying flat on your back on an exercise ball. Bend, twist, stretch, duck walk or do some walking lunges. Try a somersault or simple tumbling. Do some jumping jacks or army crawls. The point is to get moving in as many varied ways as possible.
You weren’t designed with full joints only to use them half way.