stretching

HELLO! I’M BACK! Part 3

Let’s go back to 2004. 

At age 34, while nursing my second child (3 month old infant), I started experiencing my first hot/cold flushes. (Also known as “flash” —however, flush is a more realistic definition).

Hot flushes can be defined as a feeling of intense heat in the upper body, usually accompanied by an increased heart rate and flushing of the face, neck, and chest. As the body begins to cool down, women often experience chills, have cold feet, and begin shivering. Nearly 75% of women experience hot flushes and cold chills as they transition through peri-menopause and may continue long after menopause.

 Asking my doctor: “Do you think I could be peri-menopausal?” Reply: “No, you’re too young.”

Much to my dismay, I dismissed it to the fact that I was just working harder, managing an infant, toddler and two large Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs. It was mid-September, the weather was changing to autumn with mixed cool/warm climate fluctuations. My very supportive, physically fit husband managed himself (of course) and we’d divide and conquer chores and duties, so I was not doing it all!

But that which I WAS doing felt so taxing. 

My mother had died from cancer six months earlier, when I was pregnant with baby number two. Her voice echoed in my mind from her peri-menopausal years, when pushing herself through her usual non-stop chores, she’d breathlessly whisper, “I’m just so tired.” It was more of a question than a statement…she was normally capable of so much. It wouldn’t be long before I’d parallel my mother’s gasping sentiment.

Within a few years, I’d often say that I was barely surviving. But was reminded to buck up — living in a first world country hardly qualified as ‘barely surviving’.

True.

But feeling this way woke me up to consider what was causing so many people to suffer along with me, with their declining physical and mental health, though financially secure and able to access all the best doctors and or remedies beyond Health Care? Is this really what ageing was all about? Did a person’s health really, in the end, come down to LUCK?

9 months later (or so), my right knee became inflamed. I expected that it had to do with running along the forest trails pushing a double stroller. I’d read about forefoot running and thought to give it a try, even though for years I’d been adamant about heel strike first, unless one was sprinting. So maybe I torqued my knee, the trail was uneven after all, not to mention that my hands were fixed onto the stroller. Also, I wasn’t running in reality, more like jogging, so maybe the theory of forefoot running was best left for high-speeds after all? I never ran like that thereafter. 

Within a few months my knee felt OK. Out of nowhere, the metatarsals of my right foot became excruciatingly painful. For a month or two, I suffered with the pain, my foot felt fractured. Since it was mostly debilitating in the morning upon my first steps out of bed and would subsequently subside, I started to wonder if I had Gout? But how could I have Gout? My diet, as it was, gave no indication that that could be a reasonable diagnosis. Maybe Morton’s Neuroma? And quite possibly I’d done something to my foot while favouring my knee? Once I couldn’t endure the morning pain anymore or the inconvenience of random bouts of pain causing me to hobble around, periodically crippling me, I went to the doctor.

Over the years, at my husbands urging, I’d visit the doctor for minor but chronic bizarre symptoms, to which the ‘idiopathic’ cause was offered. As a result, I was beginning to feel like a hypochondriac and shied away from further complaining.

My GP, prescribed an over the counter orthotic/metatarsal support. I knew that that wasn’t what was going on but I had nothing up my sleeve to table. So, grudgingly I obliged and wore it for a while. And of course, in due time the pain subsided…

…to show up at my elbow! Like a slow moving hacked game of Tetris. The pain, being the ball, stuck in the same spot, banging in its corner until a player materialized to knock it to another corner and then forget about the game once again.

This went on long enough that finally, with enough examples, (knee, foot, elbow, other foot, shoulder, hands) to present to my doctor, I pleaded for help. 

LONG story short, I visited the Arthritis Society (I wrote about that visit here) and was diagnosed with Palindromic Rheumatism.

Palindromic Rheumatism = (PR) is a rare episodic form of inflammatory arthritis – meaning the joint pain and swelling come and go. Between attacks, the symptoms disappear and the affected joints go back to normal, with no lasting damage.

I never believed that that is what was going on with me. They prescribed (NSAIDS) pharmaceuticals, which I never took. I’ve always been more curious about what causes disease. However, there is a twisted comfort in giving a name or diagnosis to a mystery illness.

It’s safe to conclude, by that point I was pretty frazzled. Sometimes my hands would become incredibly sore that they felt broken at the metacarpals (much like the foot pain I previously experienced), but additionally, my knuckles swelled reminiscent of the evil Queen’s transformation in Snow White (not visibly as bad but they FELT like hers looked). There were times when I couldn’t tie my toddlers shoe laces, or twisting the handle for the faucet (a seemingly innocuous task) and worst of all was changing bedding: pulling the fitted sheet over mattress corners was just unbearable. 

Below is a list of symptoms over the course of these thirteen years. Here you can better understand why the analogy (mentioned in Part 1) of the frog in pot of boiling water is relevant. These symptoms would often present themselves in a mild and stealth fashion and then overlap one another and then some or all would disappear until the next month when my hormones would fluctuate again, triggering game on. My chronic pain would crescendo and then decrescendo to the point I would forget I ever had the pain only to have the pain return ever so slowly, not unlike the tepid water in the pot gradually increasing to boiling point.

-chronic slow wound healing

-one episode of Bell’s Palsy

-vision worsening

-chronic Raynauds (fingers and toes)

-palindromic rheumatism

-thinning of eyelashes

-Hydrocystoma, I pushed to have it biopsied to find out what the heck these bumps under my skin were! (I had multiple on underside of forearms, one at throat area, some have shrunk away, there are some tiny ones left).

-peri-menopausal symptoms 

-one episode of Menstrual Flooding age 36

-chronic hot/cold flushes

-Umbilical Hernia

-skin crawling (freaky! Sensations of invisible insects crawling on the body, so much so,  that you are compelled to brush it away — and I LIKE insects and don’t normally mind them crawling on me, but this is so freaky!).

-brain fog

-leg cramping in bed

Update: I forgot to mention Urine Leakage, called “stress urinary incontinence”. Often associated with a weak or damaged pelvic floor. There has been a lot written about the subject over the years. My friend reminded me about the time I visited and was jumping on their trampoline and how I commented that I’d have to be careful because I tend to leak. I must have been 40-41 at the time. She recalls being surprised, because of all people, I was very in tune with my body and particularly the pelvic floor.

Speaking-up about pelvic floor health was always something that I included in my personal training sessions — specifically to ensure that people weren’t overtraining (trying too hard to contract) the pelvic floor muscles and working towards better understanding o  body alignment . There is a “just right” amount of muscular tension that is helpful, beyond which are negative returns. Of course when this leakage started happening to me I wondered if I’d been “doing it wrong” myself all these years? Long story short, I noticed that my urine leakage was directly related to the fluctuations in my hormones. Almost like one week or two out of every month I’d have occasional leakage from sudden sneezing, laughing, coughing or jumping and other times no problem at all.

-Urine leakage, laughing, coughing, jumping, sneezing.

-irregular menses age 36 – 41 (10 days of bleeding every 15 -18 days), eventually able to get cycles to 22 – 25 days (ages 41 – 44). Then menses became irregular again until present, 60 – 105 day cycles, with only light spotting for 2 – 5 days.

-recurring benign cervical polyps. (Ob/Gyn suggested D&C; I declined, due to my tendency to heal slowly, I was concerned I’d open myself up to more problems.

-fibromyalgia type fatigue and chronic pain

-unable to get out of bed without stretching in bed 

-2011, mildly fatigued, my solution was to stretch in bed in the mornings. Started sharing this on my blog. But with each passing year the benefits from stretching didn’t seem to hold in my tissues. It seemed like the more I stretched the more I needed to stretch AND on many occasions, in the last couple years, I would injure myself from stretching! My fascia was feeling so tight and brittle like the posture we see in a 70+ person suffering from osteoporosis.

-chronic excruciating shoulder pain, nearly impossible to take shirt off over head type of movement. When hand pain was at its peak, even pulling up my underwear and stretchy Lululemon-type leggings was laborious due to searing pain — not a swift movement like it should be!

-chronic elbow pain, felt swollen but appeared normal. Any pressure from a jacket or propping myself up on a forearm would cause me to wince, and when propped, I’d have to collapse to escape the sharp pain.

Note: Just about daily, the need to bend the elbow would present itself or to prop myself up on my forearm, you’d think a soft mattress would be a safe place. Most of the time, there’d be no issue and so when the searing pain hit, it would always catch me by surprise.

-after completing Orthodontics (2014 – 2016), one tooth became grey. Dentist & Endodontist (second opinion) both suggested root canal. I said that I would look up alternative because of my slow to heal problem, concerned that I’d cause more problems for myself.

-snoring: turbinate enlargement

-tongue and gums developed lichen planus

-teeth: dentin (below the enamel) looks cut through (top front four teeth – can only notice it in certain light), a dark shadow approximately at the same level where Ortho wires went across the teeth. (It’s NOT from staining).

Within the last year:

-tongue swelling but Lichen Planus went away

-vision continuing to deteriorate

-Facial ageing: lips wrinkling, shrinking and loss of colour. Bronze discolouration and swelling at medial point of eyelids (upper lid sulcus –not sure if this is the correct anatomical term for the area I’m describing, but I noticed this same problem on a relative who had Emphysema and Addison’s Disease.

-while driving, hunched forward like a little old lady, nervous/overly cautious to change lanes. Normally, I’m like Leilani Münter 🙂

-zero libido 😦

-depression, weepiness, quick to cry or feel put down, anxiety, avoiding social situations, eventually a loss of zest for living.

NEXT week on HELLO! I’M BACK! Part 4…Learn about the prescribed treatments I used, and WHY and HOW they spiralled me further down into a rapid declining health AND finally, I’ll share what brought me back. #KatCameBack

Get The Fuzz Out

My friend Joanna, was at the Vancouver Yoga conference last weekend where she took a couple workshops with Leslie Kaminoff (author of Yoga Anatomy) and he showed Gil Hedley‘s, Ph.D., (founder of Integral Anatomy Productions, LLC, and Somanautics Workshops, Inc.) video “The Fuzz Speech” explaining why stretching is necessary for our body, perhaps an explanation you have never heard before. Outstanding!

Joanna told me about this video. I thought it might be a helpful addition to the fascia series I’ve been building on. Thank You, Joanna!

Warning: there are some images from a human cadaver which is helpful in understanding the topic. If you’re squeamish, close your eyes and just listen.

Here is a link to Gil Hedley’s YouTube Somanaut’s Channel.

Below, I have typed out Gil Hedley’s The Fuzz Speech, for those unable to view the video.

“Here’s the thing about the Fuzz: You can see it now, I’ll put it in [the video] over my voice.

The Fuzz yields to my fingertips. Sometimes I come across a stronger or thicker strand that doesn’t yield to my fingertips – that represents older fuzz sometimes, or maybe that represents the nerve. But each night when you go to sleep, the interfaces between your muscles grow ‘fuzz’, potentially – and in the morning when you wake up and stretch the fuzz melts; we melt the fuzz. That stiff feeling you have [in the morning] is the solidifying of your tissues, the sliding surfaces aren’t sliding anymore. There’s Fuzz growing in-between them.

You need to stretch.

Every cat in the world gets up in the morning and stretches its body and melts the fuzz in the same way that the fuzz melted when I passed my finger through it.

When you are moving it’s as if you are passing your finger through the fuzz, just like I did on the cadaver form here.

So you have to stretch and move and use your body; in order to melt that fuzz that is building up between the sliding surfaces of your musculature. The sliding surfaces, those shiny white surfaces, of the rectus femoris sliding against the vastus intermedialis. So, these sliding surfaces are all over your body and the fuzz is all over your body and as you move you melt the fuzz.

Now, what happens if you get an injury? Ah-ha! My Shoulder! [He grabs his shoulder] My shoulder is stiff now, I’m holding my shoulder. I go to bed, I wake up in the morning, I don’t stretch my shoulder – I’m afraid, it hurts. So, I’m wandering around like this, [demonstrates walking with his arm stuck to his side] – last nights fuzz doesn’t get melted. I go to bed; I sleep some more. Now I have two nights fuzz built up. Now, two nights fuzz is more fuzz than one nights’ fuzz. What if I have a weeks’ fuzz or a months’ fuzz? Now those fuzz fibres start lining up and intertwining and intertwangling and all of a sudden you have thicker fibres forming. You start to have an inhibition of the potential for movement there, It’s no longer simply a matter of going ooh-ahh stretch. Now you need some work. Now you might need to do a more systematic exploration of that place to restore the original movement that you lost; usually this is the case – we have a temporary injury then we restore movement but sometimes we call this ageing. The build up of fuzz amongst the sliding surfaces of our bodies so that our motions become limited, that limit cycles become introduced into our normal full range of motion and we start to walk around like this [he mimics frozen robotic movement]. We’re all fuzzed over, our bodies are literally solidifying. We’re reducing our range of motion in the individual areas of our body and over our entire body in general.

So, I believe that one of the great benefits of body work – whether it be massage or structural therapies or physical therapy or any kind of hands on therapy – These types of therapies introduce movement manually to tissues that have become fuzzed over through lack of movement, whether the lack of movement is because of an injury and a person is protecting that injury or because of personality expression. There was many years I just walked around like this: I was very still and monk like. So, then I became more dynamic in my personality when I realised what I was doing to myself and the kind of life that I wanted. So, you can grow fuzz by choice or by accident or whatever and yet here, now that you have heard the fuzz speech, you know that you can take responsibility for melting the fuzz and if there is too much fuzz in your body and it’s frozen up, you might want to seek help in order to introduce movement so that the new cycle is a little more movement and a little more movement and a little more movement instead of a little less movement and a little less movement and a little less movement.

Fuzz represents time. The easier it is for me to pass my finger through the fuzz, the less amount of time it’s been there. If I’ve got to whip out my scalpel, to dig my way through one otherwise sliding surface and another, you know that that’s been building up for a long time. So you can actually see time in fuzz.

That’s The Fuzz Speech.”

What If Working Your Butt Off Is Making It Bigger?

A top-down view of a skeletal muscle

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been trying to compose this post for quite some time now. I feel that there is a need for a basic explanation of how our muscles work. Maybe it’s already been written, but I just haven’t found it.

So here goes…

The subject is complex beyond belief and I would err should I give it a simplistic explanation; however, this is for those with very little background in the subject. So forgive me – to all the professionals who may shudder at the following post.

Months ago I innocently left a comment at BodyRock about modifying a workout because my aim was to narrow my hips not expand them.  A few people commented-back: What? You can narrow your hips? So I promised to explain this, but in order to understand it we need to go back a ways. I don’t believe in the ‘bottom-line’, we need back-story and must be well informed to process the bottom-line otherwise we’re just like a fish flailing in a puddle of shallow water – it might look like we’re swimming but we’re so far from doing the same sport.

It can take a lifetime to really get to the root of the following, as with any subject – it is remarkable how the layers continue to unfold as if looking through a microscope. It brings to mind the Origami artist, and in particular Eric Joisel, who “could spend more than 100-hours folding a single piece of paper in order to create his amazing pieces of art.”  Not everyone has passion for details but what if everyone could be more interested in everything they do – from what we eat to how we move, for starters.

The Pilates Method, Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and Emilie Conrad’s Continuum Movement are a few methods that I have spent time studying over the years, some in more depth than others.  When given the chance, these exceptional methods teach functional movement from the foundation.  These methods aren’t meant to be a ‘workout’ but rather the exercises are tools to better comprehend healthy movement patterning, which in the end can only support ones’ workout or sport.

My task is to explain the following for readers who have no background in physical movement and have spent very little time focusing on how their body actually functions. To have succeeded will mean that your eyes won’t have glazed over.

As the title suggests, what if you’re literally trying to work your butt off by doing exercises that you have been led to believe target a certain muscle group, such as doing endless squats in the hopes of minimizing your gluteus maximus?

What if the infinite number of side leg lifts you’re doing, in the hopes of slenderizing your ‘saddlebags’ is actually giving them the appearance of becoming over-full?

Or what if the long endurance walks or runs you do are not giving you the results you are after?

What if, what you’re doing isn’t very effective at all but you console yourself by saying, “well, at least I’m doing something”.  True, some is better than none, but what if, that ‘some’ is literally a waste of time by making things worse?  And by worse I mean dysfunctional movement patterning.

The spin-doctor in me will tell you that there is no such thing as a waste of time, because it seems to be that through failure we learn the most…with the assumption, however, that through failing we search for another solution, rather than just accepting our fate.

You get the idea…there’s a lot of what if‘s.

Oftentimes, we turn to exercise to tighten loose areas of the body.  Everyone seems willing to put in even a little bit of time to tighten body parts.  Yet, very little time for stretching and lengthening muscles. This is the root of the problem.

In order for muscle fibres to function properly they have to be healthy.  So, what exactly is a healthy muscle, anyway?  A healthy muscle at rest should feel like a bag of water, not a bag of steel; however, ‘Butt of Water’ just doesn’t sound all that sexy and doesn’t have much shelf appeal.  Surrounding the muscle is more tissue called fascia.  This might gross you out, so fair warning, but whether you eat chicken or not (perhaps you have prepared some for dinner at some point), when you peel the skin from a raw chicken you may recall a sticky transparent film, which clings to the skin and the meat.  That transparent film is called fascia – and of course it reacts differently when alive.  It surrounds all of our muscles, nerves and organs.  For our muscles to function properly this film of fascia must slide and glide smoothly over the the muscle fibres, nerves and organs.

Alison Coolican, RMT explains that “the sliding happens three-dimensionally, rotationally, up and down.  So in the forearm the tubes of muscles surrounded by fascia must all slide against each other when your forearm twists to allow for lengthening and twisting of the tubes.  The fascia and the muscles are all connected and exist more in a fluid state, some connections are very loose and airy (more sliding) and some are tight and organized (takes more strain)  the muscle fibres must move smoothly below the fascia.  Injury and repetitive movement (whether with correct alignment or not) can impact this fascia/ muscle glide relationship.”

An unhealthy muscle/ fascia relationship would be one whereby the tissue has been, from correct or incorrect repetitive movement or injury, forced into a dysfunctional pattern.  This dysfunctional pattern thereby impacts the correct anatomical patterning of the skeleton in movement.  Have your eyes glazed over yet?

Consider that the body is made up of guy wires (muscles and tendons) which are meant to stabilize our skeleton providing support and function. Over years these structures become over tight in some areas and weakened in others and therefore can affect the way our structure appears and functions.

Personal example: My bowed legs.  BUT as a child I had very straight legs.  Here’s what happened. I started gymnastics at age 4, Ballet and Track from age 7.  By the time I was 18 my legs had started to bow slightly.  At 21, having spent a lot of time teaching Aerobics/ Step/ Spinning and bodybuilding I had over-developed the lateral aspect of my quadriceps and buttock muscles and over lengthened my inner thigh muscles by working on improving my middle ‘Russian’ split.  I had created an imbalance.  This imbalance caused a painful knee condition called Chondromalacia (Patelofemoral syndrome). Which meant that my femur (the thigh bone) would grind into the underside of my patella (knee cap).  The remedy was to re-create balance by strengthening the medial side of the quadriceps (Vastus Medialis Obliquus – VMO) and Adductors, and to stretch the lateral, over tight muscles.

My over tight muscles and fascia were dysfunctional. My skeleton was not functioning as it should, hence the aberration at the knee cap. Later this sticky fascia caused more dysfunction at my right hip and so on.  If something is stuck at one point the body will compensate elsewhere.  Moishe Feldenkrais said it best:

“Force that is not converted into movement does not simply disappear, but is dissipated into damage done to joints, muscles, and other sections of the body.”

Long story short, the physiotherapy worked only to the extent that I truly understood what I was doing and that I took it on as a daily job – this was the beginning of daily body maintenance, I just didn’t know it yet.

For a moment, let’s return to the bowed legs and dysfunctional movement patterning. When I’m out and about I watch how people move – their mechanics. It’s not a judgement, it’s just what I see and I don’t analyze it all the time. When I see people running or cycling, I watch their alignment.  Sometimes I cringe, because I see faulty mechanics which is being repeated and I can feel the pain that will ensue. And other times I see mechanics that make me stop, take my breath away and hear myself say, wow.  It’s rare to see movement that is pure and effortless but you’ll know it when you see it, as you will know it when you feel it.  Have you ever heard someone point out an athlete and say, he or she runs like a gazelle?

Let me just say that even with the gazelle-like athlete, there can still be injury and dysfunctional movement patterning- there is no perfect – just the aim towards it. Our aim with movement, art, literature, what-have-you, is that “once we accept our limits, we [must] go beyond them.” (Albert Einstein).  So in my opinion, from experiencing a lot of physical movement I have found that refining movement is on going.  Knowing that I swim, people come up to me from time to time and state (more than ask), “Boy, I just can’t swim for exercise – don’t you find it boring?”  I am amazed by this because it is often very accomplished athletes who say this.  People whom I imagined would know about refining.  Each stroke for me is a new combination of possibilities – the accuracy of the kick, placement of pelvis, rib cage and head to the rotation of the arms and angle of pull…who has time for boredom, my neurons and synapses are on overdrive. This is not some mindless activity. If we show interest in what we do, we learn from it and can add on and continue to refine.

Which takes me to the next point, but I’m sure your eyes are beginning to glaze over, so I will return with “What If: Part 2” another day and go into more detail about the narrowing of the hips comment.

M. Feldenkrais, Awareness Through Movement, (NY: Harper & Row, 1972), p. 58.

You Are In Control…More Than You Know

Second league game for the Toronto Blue Jays. ...

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes we need to hear the same thing from other people and worded slightly differently before the message really takes hold.

The following are two very brief posts about getting up from your work station to move around and stretch even a little bit throughout the day.  A little, well intentioned movement here and there really does make a significant difference to our well being.

Our children are encouraged to do this in school; such as the little movement from changing classrooms between subjects.  It all adds up.

Something you didn’t know about me: In the early nineties I was a 7th Inning Stretcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.  At the seventh inning, a group of us and the Mascot would rush onto the field and lead the crowd in an active (one minute or so) stretch.  The best part from my perspective, is that for a few minutes before our spot, we got to hang in the dug out and meet some of the players (not sure if they allow this anymore?  And I got a ball used in play from the 1991 All-Star Game signed by Ozzie Guillen -White Sox, Roberto Alomar -Blue Jays, Sandy Alomar- Marlins and Ken Griffey Jr.-Seattle Mariners).

Most of the crowd would stand up and do these stretches along with us, while the 7th Inning Stretch song blasted over the loud speaker. After sitting for so long, this little activity left everyone feeling refreshed and more alert to cheer on their team!  Just another example of how effective short bursts of exercise have a beneficial impact on our health.  Don’t short change the small stuff!

Here is a link to a Globe and Mail article by Harvey Schachter, You’re Not Really Chained to Your Desk. You’ve got to open the link, the photo next to the caption is priceless.  He comments briefly on Pierre Khawand’s research:

Make it a habit to incorporate movement into your day, every 40 minutes or so, to revive your energy and mood, urges consultant Pierre Khawand. Stretch, walk to the other side of the office, go up and down a few flights of stairs, walk briskly to the kitchen area for coffee, or if on the phone simply stand up and move around.”

For convenience I’ve attached Pierre Khawand’s article below.  You can click on his link which will take you to his site for further reading.

Make it a Habit to Incorporate Movement into Your Day: Every 40 Minutes (or so)

By PIERRE KHAWAND | Published: SEPTEMBER 14, 2011

We sit for too long! Way too long! And not only our bodies suffer but our brain and our overall mood and energy! So let us put a stop to this and get energy flowing and get re-invigorated.

Moving

Movement does wonders

I am not referring to the structured exercise and sports activities here (even though these do wonders as well), but to the few minutes of stretching, walking around, climbing a few flights of stairs, or whatever movement you can fit in in a few minutes to get re-energized and ready for the next task. Here are some basic ideas as a starter and I would also like to help you design your own breakthrough movement routine–so stay tuned for a follow-up blog article on the topic:

  1. Adopt a stretching routine that you like or design your own. If you search for “stretching videos” on the web, you get about 14,000,000 results. So plenty of ideas out there. I included 3 of these results below to get you started.
  2. Walk to the other side of the office, or office complex, or maybe around the block! Fresh air would be a highly desirable added benefit if at all possible.
  3. Go up and down a few flights of stairs and do it intentionally as if you had a purpose. By the way, you “do” have a great purpose.
  4. Go to the kitchen area, but this time go briskly and instead of food or coffee, get some water, and get back briskly!
  5. Organize your desk and your files but again, do it with intention and with energy.
  6. In addition, when on the phone, or in a web conference, stand up, move around, and stretch. Take advantage of the web in a different way!
  7. Finally, find a companion who likes to do this with you a few times a day, so you can remind and encourage each other.

Most importantly, it would help to have a variety of these movement activities ready so you can spontaneously use the one that is most applicable to the situation at hand. Keep a list handy. Maybe post one closeby. Put a check mark every time you do one.

When making your list, have some activities that are short for times when all you have is a minute or two. Have others that are longer for these 5 or 10 minute stretches. Maybe one or two that are even longer for when you really need to get away from that chair!

Remember to not let more than 40 minutes go by without invoking movement! If you guess why 40 minutes, you will get a copy of my Accomplishing More With Less book!

This entry was posted in Schedule ManagementTime Management and tagged ,. Bookmark the permalinkPost a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.
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Also remember the Micro Breaks courtesy of Mark Finch & Associates.

For reference the Micro Breaks routine is a series of stretches/exercises, which take less than a minute.  Again, this reinforces what the above article suggests.

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Leave a comment to share with others how you incorporate micro breaks into your work day.  Do you excuse yourself for a minute and take a few flights of stairs?  Walk briskly down the hall as opposed to sending an email or picking up the phone?  

Stretch Your Body

Stretching exercises

Stretch Your Body every day.  Do Yoga, Pilates, traditional sports stretches or other.  Whether you spend 4 minutes or an hour or more a day stretching, when done properly, your body will respond positively to the attention.  Too much focus on tightening and strengthening without lengthening the body’s musculature and connective tissue can have a negative effect.  Likewise, it is easy to overstretch areas that are already flexible leaving the problem areas unattended.  I did exactly that in my early twenties, which caused a very painful knee condition called chondromalacia.  I recovered from it with a lot of help from physiotherapy and massage.  I learned a lot in the process.  Doesn’t it always seem that we learn best from painful personal experience.  I spent a lot of time doing rehabilitative stretching and strengthening and walking around with ice packs strapped to my knees.  As a result stretching has played a significant role in my body maintenance routine ever since.

I highly recommend seeing a professional for advice specific to your individual needs.

I believe that therapeutic massage, myofascial manipulation and active-release therapy among other techniques are necessary to support our over-worked, over-stressed and over-exercised bodies.  I think that most people view massage as a luxury, something to do while on holiday or at a spa rather than as a form of body maintenance.  To get the most from any type of physical therapy, one must collaborate with the therapist as a working relationship.  Tell your therapist that you are keen to make improvements, so ask questions.  Work with them to figure out what type of repetitive movements (or lack of) might be contributing to your muscle soreness or joint pain for example.  Do not leave their office without at least one stretch that you will practice daily.  Careful not to overwhelm yourself with more than three stretches at a time, because you probably will not do them.  The next visit the therapist can reassess and give you another stretch to work on.

I know not everyone can afford massage therapy, I guess that is why it still falls in the luxury category.  But, you can access affordable massage by looking up the teaching colleges.  The students need real bodies to practice on and the price can be very affordable so that you might be able to make it a monthly appointment.  My Registered Massage Therapist did her training at WCCMT and can vouch for its credibility.  They have a student clinic that you can check out as an example. www.collegeofmassage.com/newwestminster/

I haven’t been to Utopia Academy in Vancouver, but as another example of what a student clinic is like, you can check it out here. www.utopiaacademy.com