WARNING: I have just recently rescued a puppy from a shelter here in Boston. This may or may not have been a good decision. But so far we are very happy.
An unexpected benefit of getting a new puppy however has been an increase in hip mobility. How did this happen?
If you have ever had a puppy or even a human baby, you will be familiar with gates that are used to prevent them from going places. We now have gates and fences both inside and out to corral the little thing (her name is Lucy and she is an unknown mix of breeds). These gates and fences require me to lift up my feet fairly high to step over so I don’t have to continually take them down or open their impossible little doors. The repeated lifting up of both legs have increased my hip mobility demonstrably. (The yoga hasn’t hurt either but thats a different post.)
The larger point is that you don’t have to commit large periods of time each day to your health. Small little actions throughout the day can also have a measurable impact. Examples of this include stepping over the gates, taking the stairs where possible, getting a standing desk, taking a short walk after lunch, stand up during meetings or better yet do some squats or lunges during conference calls. You get the idea.
What kind of things do you or could you do every day to make progress? Comment below so that we can all learn.
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To paraphrase the classic Bob Marley song, being able to get up off the floor, to stand from a sitting position, can be a great predictor of how long you will live.
In a article I just found in Outside Magazine entitled Why You Need to Be Doing Burpees, Michael Joyner MD from the Mayo Clinic sites a study from Brazil that indicates that “there was a clear relationship between how easy it was for people to get off the floor and how long they lived.” If you are interested in the study, click through above to the Outside article and there is a link.
Dr Joyner goes on to say that Grip Strength is another great predictor of longevity. Additionally, in my experience balance is another skill that will go quickly as you age if you don’t stay on top of it.
So, what can you do? Are just doomed to dwindle away with old age? NO.
As the article’s title implies, if you want to get good at or stay good at getting up and down off the floor then you should practice. Here’s some ideas:
- Good old fashioned burpees. If you don’t now what a burpee is, HERE is a link to a great instructional video courtesy of the coaches at the Spartan Obstacle Race group. If you don’t know what Spartan Race is, you should check it out HERE and you should go try one. There are races all over the country as well as coaches certified to help you succeed all on their website. I have done 5 of them so far and they are a great challenge to get you off the couch.
- Turkish Get Ups. The Turkish Get Up is a fairly old exercise that I found out about when I got my Kettle Bell Certification through the RKC. HERE is a video that shows you the steps. Try it with no weight at first and then you can add weights via a kettle bell or dumb bell.
- Just get up and down off of the floor. No Frills. Lie down on your stomach and stand up. Lie down on your back and then stand up. Or, as I learned at seminar from legendary coach Dan John, challenge yourself to get up and down off the floor using only one arm or no arms, etc. Mix it up. Take your time and when this gets easy try the two exercises above.
So what about Balance and Grip Strength. Well, balance can be improved by the drills above as well as simply standing on one foot, or standing on one foot and closing your eyes. Try standing on one foot and closing your eyes while you brush your teeth. As for Grip Strength, get a something grip while sitting at your desk or in the car like a tennis ball or grip strength device like the Captains of Crush Gripper. Or, simply hang from a bar, do pull ups or dead lifts.
What exercises do you do everyday?
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My standing desk setup.
With apologies to Bob Marley, it is becoming more and more apparent that you not only need to stand up for your rights but also now for your life. Recent research is showing that sitting all day long is creating a host of problems from impairing your mobility to driving metabolic disease and cancer.
So what can you do about? Well, stand up. Not all day long and not beyond the point where you can keep good posture. Be comfortable as much as you can and then adapt and extend the time. In order to do this you can simply start by getting up once an hour and stretching or resetting your body. Chris Johnson, a pretty well known Physical Therapist, has posted a video of a great way to reset your body throughout the day HERE.
Once you have gotten used to that, you may want to take things to the next level and get a standing desk. This can be as simple as piling some boxes on your desk to bring your laptop up to the right level for standing or you can buy a standing desk for anywhere from about $50 up to several thousand. HERE is a link to the Ergotron standing desk that I use that is in the picture above. For some really cool higher end standing desks and other furniture, Martin Keen, best known as the designer who founded Keen Shoes, has a great new company called Focal Upright.
Finally, if you want more information on the problems sitting is causing and how you can address the issues, there is a new book called Deskbound – Sitting is the New Smoking, by Physical Therapist Kelly Starrett. The book is available through Amazon HERE and more information about Kelly and his other programs is available on his website MobilityWod.
So do it now, stand up, walk around and stretch.