Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeCultureBooksFive health hacks to get me moving more

Five health hacks to get me moving more

I’ve known about the correlation between movement and health for some time. But this new book actually got me up off my chair with challenging activities to fit with my everyday routine.

Go to ground

Mobility pioneers, Juliet and Kelly Starrett, are on a mission to get more of us moving and their new book Built to Move: The 10 Essential Habits to Help you Move Freely and Live Fully (Hachette, $34.99). I share five of their hacks here. The first tip I’ve introduced into my routine is to get up and down from the floor without assistance. Kids know the benefits to the body of being on the ground more – a move which can lessen joint pain and the need for joint replacements.

Breathe easy

The Starretts offer breathing strategies to help people move more freely and manage stress and pain. These encompass breathing well, breathing slowly and breathing through your nose rather than your mouth. Ask: “Can I breathe well in this position?” Slumping and slouching compromise the pulmonary system, whereas effective breathing creates a pressurised chamber to support your spine. Good breathing habits reduce stress and foster health. However, when you mouth breathe, “a lot of your body mechanics stay on the hit-the-gas mode when you’re trying to slow down”.

Walk more

The Starretts say we’re built to move and walking is an efficient way to get it done. They write, “The simple act of walking surpasses any fitness gadget or club membership you can buy; it’s the best movement tool available.” Walking more is helping to put my hips into extension, lengthen tissues shorted by sitting, and put my body back into biomechanical balance. Walking can also foster creativity and help stave off obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, osteoporosis, arthritis pain, colds and flu, depression and anxiety.

Squat a lot

A tricky meniscus and a broken fibula made me cautious of squatting – but my excellent physio and the Starretts’ explanation of its benefits have convinced me to get back into the game. I’m building up to their Tabata squats and doing eight cycles in four minutes. Thankfully, the Starretts give lots of levels and mobilisations in their effort to get people to make squatting part of their regular health regimen. “What you’re practising when you squat,” they say, “is the root language of getting up and down.”

Beaming balance

I’ve been trying to balance on one leg for 20 seconds with my eyes closed, and also to pick up and put on my lace-up shoes without holding on to anything to keep me from toppling. I hope to improve! The Starretts say, “When your ankles have a good range of motion, your brain knows it and acts accordingly, sending signals that enable you to quickly recover when elements in the environment challenge your balance.” I’ve also been bouncing and jumping more to help build stability and bone density.

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