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"BREAKING MOVEMENT BARRIERS" (because better movement awaits)

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

We've all heard that 'sitting is the new smoking'. I mean, according to this study, over-sitters have a 112% increased risk of diabetes, 147% increased risk of heart attack or stroke, or a 49% increased risk of death, period! That's a serious habit and one worth getting under control, asap. But most of us have this awareness and likely even share the same concern for the amount of screen time present in our modern living, especially in the younger generations.

So, sitting interventions are already in place, right? Ok, let's talk about your movement. You're a bit older now and certain things don't feel quite the same. Certain movement patterns aren't as crisp. First off, great level of self awareness - that alone will get you miles. Other than changing your sitting habits (start here for that), constantly working to improve your other pillars of health - sleep, nutrition, mindfulness, community - will truly be the foundation and have probably the biggest impact on your movement, imo.

Ok, now that your pillars of health are accounted for and an ever-evolving work in progress, I'd like to offer some steadfast movement solutions for common "barriers" or complaints that I have come across. I'm paraphrasing of course, but if you can relate at all to any of these, I hope you can dabble in a suggested solution or two and improve your movement stat.

#1 YOU HAVE A BAD ______________ (insert body part here).

This one is pretty straight forward and has to be the most common concern and barrier to movement. What's your problem area?


There are a lot of possible causes here and you may actually know what hurts and why. But for a general "hot spot", low back Bain or "wonky knee", adopting a general Myofascial Release routine can go a long way.

There are many great resources for this and I invite you to explore the world of MFR and make it part of your active living routine. You can even try MFR with a trained RMT or other trained therapist/ practitioner.


For this simple task - that's maybe become less simple - we can likely benefit from increasing our Cardiorespiratory capacity. Of course, right? Here's a funny thing though. I see so many people shy away from "cardio", because they suck at "cardio". Wait, what? To squash this upside down thinking, we are going to adopt a different mindset to approach this. Very simple, let's think along the lines of do less, better. Very applicable and needed, in many areas of fitness.


For this, I want you to try some Zone 2 Cardio, or "build your base". You can do this by keeping your cardio work to around 60-70% of your Max Heart Rate. You will need a heart rate monitor/ watch of some kind or a treadmill with built-in capabilities, and you will need to know your Max Heart Rate which you can figure out here. So at this lowered intensity you should be able to go 20-30 minutes no problem, which gives you an opportunity to work on your run form or whatever your chosen form of work. Either way, it forces us to slow down and breathe (through the nose hopefully) and over time you will notice your pace will pick up, without the heart rate. That's building a base and will make those stairs a far more enjoyable part of your morning.


This likely just means you need a little more than just improved Cardiorespiratory capacity. You've like just lost access to some of your leg power and have other areas of the body picking up slack, albeit inefficiently.


Try some core basics like planks, bird-dogs and dead-bugs and then ideally some upright core exercises like these, more applicable to stair climbing. Then probably integrate this new level of "core awareness" in some leg work!

The more "put together" we are through the core, the more access we have to those power-generating glute muscles and the easier those health-giving stairs become!


This means you're probably wearing the typical running shoe that we see in our world, full of EVA foam cushioning, arch support and heaven-to-betsy, shock-absorption. This is totally cool. They're probably very comfy and you paid a lot of money for them. Here's the harsh truth though: they're keeping your foot from doing the things it was designed to do and impairing how you communicate with the ground. And most likely, having an upstream affect on a knee or hip. Truth is, you already have shock absorption, in the form of "steel springs", aka your Achilles tendon and calf muscles! Let em' work.


This one's easy. Move away from shoes with "technology" period, and towards Natural Footwear. By this, I'm referring of course to "barefoot" style shoes, and no, not just those weird 5-fingered shoes, there is a whole world of them. There is a bit of a continuum of Natural Footwear to conventional, and you can transition a little more, with each shoe you buy, or just go for it! Just allow yourself time to adjust when you start wearing "barefoot" shoes, if you will, wearing them in small doses to start and then more and more, with slow increases in the intensity of your activity. For all things feet and Natural Footwear, I definitely recommend The Foot Collective.

I'd also recommend trying some barefoot running - very small doses to start, of course. But the minute you remove the shoe technology and allow the foot and leg to fully express the built-in abilities, your body will thank you. (A great way to do this could be that Zone 2 training!..2 birds eh)


More than just a loss of balance, likely we can say that your overall centre of mass has been compromised, or more specifically, your ability to organize or form strong, integrated postures or positions in space. In other words, your bones and muscle aren't able to organize themselves efficiently enough to produce the balance needed to gracefully put on your pants.


With almost all things, I will suggest re-tuning your core - here is a great plank variation from Functional Patterns, that also helps re-train a better hip position. Another idea would be to retrain your hip-to-foot connection, with this new found core activation. In other words, getting the muscles of your hip, working with the lower leg and mainly the arches of the feet. A great way to do this, and retrain some balance, could be a beam practice!


Ok, so I'm not sure many new smartphones have this feature, but the point is, you've become far too busy on your phone/ screen and your activity level reflects this. I think we can all say this at one point or another. We know this is likely having many neurological and physiological effects on us, short and long term. We can likely say, spending time on a screen means sitting and more than likely NOT MOVING...unless you're one of those walk and texters...ayy yi yi


•Try audiobooks or podcasts, instead of articles or videos and try to consume while walking or at least on your feet.

•Try a step-counting device like a Fit Bit or a Pedometer app for your phone. Sometimes a little challenge or incentive can get you moving.

•Try designating specific time for "screen time", not as a reward but more of a business transaction for a well-disciplined, responsible phone-owner!

•Lastly, and my best suggestion: become more mindful, more self-aware. You can cultivate this through a simple meditation practice and begin to have the awareness of how much time you spend on your screen and how it makes you feel. This was one meditation practice I started with and ended up doing every day for years!