By Brandon Blinn
I share that loss of bodily function with age is not due to aging, but to a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of movement, poor posture, and stress cause inflammation, weight gain, and muscle stiffness leading to chronic pain. I recommend conscious movement, stress management, and good posture to restore proper range of motion and alleviate pain. Work with me today to learn more!
Table of Contents:
The effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the body
The importance of movement and balance in the body
A case study: Filmore and his neck pain
How to improve posture and reduce pain
As we go about our lives and age, some may think that we lose the function of our body because we are aging. We don't lose function because we age, we lose function because we stop moving. How many people do you know right now who are over 25 and move pain-free regularly outside of their job? Think about it, most people wake up late, rush to work, and then sit for 8+ hours in the same position. After they get off work, they sit in their car for the drive home before watching TV some more at home and going to bed. There is little to no movement in a schedule like that. For convenience purposes of things, people don't eat the best when they are on a regimen like that. This results in a lifestyle with little to no food with minimal activity. This is a recipe to be in pain!
Why am I saying all of this? To help someone out there get out of pain! Everything I just described above is going to do a few things, cause inflammation in the body, metabolism will slow down to match the level of your activity (this will cause you to store more weight as well), and your muscles will get stiff from lack of use leading to be less functional causing other muscle groups to work overtime which causes even more information. The human body likes balance and when it's not in balance, other areas of our body have to compensate. This is where we get those areas on the body that just regularly hurt and seem to never go away. Here's the crazy part, people think that you have to live with a tight low back, or a stiff neck or painful shoulder. That just simply isn't true. To some extent, I'd be willing to say that based on the severity of a traumatic event, you can also get your body to be pain-free following a serious injury. Obviously, there are specific circumstances in which you'd just be in pain from the traumatic event but more often than not, I've found that many people are able to reduce pain significantly, sometimes in the same session, when they learn to move their body properly and efficiently after restoring proper passive range of motion.
Let's use a tight trap/neck as an example of how the body will form to the stresses you put on it. Let's make up a client scenario with a made-up client named Filmore. Filmore has very tight traps and regularly gets headaches at work, he has anxiety and is regularly stressed. He works a 9-5 at a desk job and drives a car that is way too small for him since he's 6' 5". He doesn't get much activity outside of work but he likes to play video games in his spare time.
The first thing I'm noticing with this client is he's constantly shrugging which isn't ideal for neck pain. Let's take a deeper look. When people are stressed they will hold more tension in their neck/traps oftentimes. This leads to a slight shrugging which causes the muscles connecting to the neck to be stiff and constantly active. That's strike one. How do we fix that? We need to teach him to manage stress and relax. It sounds funny but teaching people to breathe is very helpful with this. The second Strike is his car is too small which means he is probably ducking his head in his car which is going to cause the neck to tighten up yet again because he's back to shrugging. To fix this we would need to go over how to properly sit in his car and make some room for him so he doesn't have to shrug by adjusting the seat. The third strike would be his posture while sitting at the desk job. The worst thing about sitting for that long is that it's hard to do it with good posture so over time people start to slump and let their shoulders shrug up yet again which causes that neck to tighten up again. The fourth and final strike is the posture he has when playing computer games. It's the same position and issue he had while at work.
The reason I'm noticing all of these things is that when you constantly put your body into a position, it'll start to recognize that position and make changes in the body accordingly to make those same daily tasks easier. The issue here is that when you're shrugging that much and not doing anything to counteract it your body will forget certain ranges of motion and other areas of the body will compensate which causes overuse/inflammation and injury. Sometimes it's something as simple as understanding how to pull your shoulder blades down throughout the day and learning to breathe. In this case with Filmore, I would go over proper posture throughout the day and teach him how to properly move his shoulder blades and be conscious of positioning throughout the day when he's doing everything. All of that paired with specific upper back/neck and shoulder mobility exercises would fix his neck.
This is on a case-by-case basis. Everyone is different and lives different lives but if you're in pain, figure out specific movements you may or may not be doing too much or not enough of and learn to move your body in the way it was meant to. Sometimes it's the things we don't do as well. If you don't ever move, it's going to hurt at first but it's your body's way of trying to stay the same to be comfortable! Get out and move your body! Don't want to go about it alone?! Hiring a trainer that understands the anatomy and biomechanics of the human body would always be my first recommendation if you're battling any specific pains that you want to solve.
You can be pain-free forever, you just have to move your body but you need to move your body properly! If you or anyone you know needs help getting back to a pain-free life you can email us at Brandon@blinnfitstudio.com. You can also reach out to me on IG @Blinn_Fitness or Brandon@blinnfitstudio.com. I provide an extensive workout program and exercise library as well.
For strength training & personal training, stop by Blinn Fitness at our Woodinville, WA location today!