Helping folks find health and happiness through movement and exercise is my mission. Getting folks to enjoy movement and exercise is my challenge. Taking a person with their whole health history and their decades-long relationship with their body and giving them a program might work for a little while. Growing an enjoyable habit of self care is much more fun and allows for much more flexibility (Pun not intended!)
Sometimes this is as simple as guiding someone through the bewildering array of exercise options and teaching them how to move, how much, and how hard. But more often than not the folks who come to see me have pain, movement limitations, problematic postural fixities, or joint instability. Whatever their concerns, their obstacles are their path.
Read on, but first stretch out and take a deep breath! It's important to break up sedentary time :-)
At the front of the site my little summary suggests that I first use therapeutic interventions, then teach semiweekly exercises, and finally teach daily movement regimens. Kinda looks like a "start here" followed by a formula. This is certainly not the case! It has more to do with me learning how to make a website and less to do with a path from one point to another :-)
For example, some folks have gotten the best of the best of physical therapy, or joint replacements, or the benefits that only good ol' Doctor Rest can administer after a flare up. They may simply be unsure of how to strengthen their bodies and keep themselves limber. Others may be exercise enthusiasts but have recalcitrant musculoskeletal pain. Many feel fine right now, but are concerned about reaggravating an old injury. And then there are those lucky few who are interested only in daily postural and gestural routines, who need no further strengthening, or limbering!
The tools I use look a lot like physical therapy, but privately, unhurriedly, and with no gadgetry. The plan that evolves comes from careful observations of the postures and gestures that trigger or relieve pain or worrying instability. It's like a "who done it" investigation. What triggers the complaint? What relieves it? Once we figure that out when can judiciously employ manual therapy and specific exercises to strengthen, limber, and bolster the area without exacerbating the complaint. These could be listed (in brief) as hands-on active and passive stretching, pin and stretch and other myofascial massage techniques, and small relaxation and strengthening exercises. Our plan will be subject to revision at any time as you progress or as we make discoveries along the way.
At all times we will be looking for the minimum effective dose, and the self-therapies and exercises you learn will be given expiry dates - they will not be life sentences! I like to joke that if one were to do all the therapeutic stretching, self-massage, and strengthening exercises that everyone has taught them it would be about half a days work. The therapeutic interventions will be helpful when needed, should be abandoned when no longer necessary, but should always be remembered.
Too many conflate health and fitness. The main point of my work is to help people find health and happiness through movement and exercise. This is quite a bit different than the athletic goals of increasing cardio respiratory fitness, or the aesthetic goals of gaining muscle mass and losing body fat. There is some mutually exclusive territory between what we can do to improve our health and what we can do to improve our cardio respiratory fitness and athletic ability. (I would refer the interested reader to James O'Keefe and Mike Evans.) The semiweekly exercises that I teach are intended to preserve the gains made by therapeutic interventions, without re-aggravating old complaints, and to lay the foundation for enjoyable daily movement regimens.
And they are quite a lot of fun! Sure, you will become stronger and more limber and your tolerance for any physical activities will increase. But these are exercises of skill, timing, rhythm, balance. We will use cables and light dumbells, balls and bands, suspension trainers, and an array of soft pads and squishy discs and wobble boards. We will also use spryness exercises in the open area of my office to develop the ability to get up and down off the floor and move around in any direction on short notice.
These sessions will not be exhausting. You probably wouldn't like to do them back to back, either! The idea is for you to leave with more calm energy than you arrived with. Most of the exercises can be done at home with a minimal amount of equipment, and if you have a membership to a fitness facility you will be able to quickly adapt what I teach to whatever you have available.
"Walking is man's best medicine" according to Hippocrates. I'm beginning to think that having strong familial and social connections are really the fountain of youth, but gentle daily movement is a very close second. It is also the most accessible, tangible thing we can do at any time to improve our mental and physical health. And if you are moving gently enough, it is the only advice I can give you where more actually is better!
Walking is pretty hard to beat. But of course we need to feel comfortable walking such that we can enjoy it. And the enjoyment of it, by my lights, is negatively affected by pedometers and heart rate monitors - anything that involves numbers, really. Just breathe and move. And if you are here in the Northeast where I live, with a small investment in clothes and boots you can walk all year round!
But one thing that should be acknowledged about walking is that it doesn't occupy much the space around us. Walking is fairly straightforward, both figuratively and literally. I teach other daily movement regimens that look a like a strange hodgepodge of Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga. These bring much more diverse postures and gestures into our daily life. "Move it or lose it" is a real concern, but there is also "move it and regain it" that isn't yet as popular, though I am trying to make it so :-)
We are training for tomorrow