MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE: MOBILITY- Are You Moving Your Joints in Meaningful Ways for Life and Longevity?

As our society continues a steady decline in movement, [i] muscle [ii] and mobility [iii] we can expect to see the rise of our modern-day epidemics: obesity, [iv] weakness, [v] mental illness [vi] and physical pain. [vii]

MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE.

Unfortunately, it’s clear that we’ve been skipping our daily dosages, [viii] along with those nutritious vegetables [ix] we should probably be eating as well.

Are you ready to take your body back?
Movement is the perfect place to start.

If you’re living a sedentary lifestyle (less than 5,000 steps per day) [x] start with walking a few times a week and build on that. Then add in some strength training focusing on key movements and healthy nutrition habits. Pair that with mobility work and you’re on the fast track to maximizing your physical being.

YOU ONLY GET ONE BODY.

Make sure you invest in it and use it as intended.

Let’s unpack the mobility box.

Mobility is a buzzword these days. It is often confused with stretching and flexibility.

In my experience when someone says they “need to do some stretching” what they’re really saying is that they know they need to do “something.”

That “something” is rarely stretching.
It’s usually a need for strength, [xi] stability [xii], and mobility. [xiii] 

FUNCTIONAL MOBILITY is described as the usable range of motion one can control at each individual joint. Said another way:

FLEXIBILITY + STRENGTH/CONTROL = FUNCTIONAL MOBILITY.

THE TALE OF TWO BODIES

Some people are very flexible but cannot actively control movement at those extremes. They may be able to get into passive positions that they don’t own. These people will benefit from closing the gap between their active and passive ranges. (e.g. some yogis).

Others have achieved great strength but have sacrificed mobility and usable range of motion along the way. They are very strong in the mid-ranges but cannot access freedom of movement (e.g. some powerlifters). They are often locked into positions and faulty compensation patterns.

These examples represent the two extremes.

True mobility training is an important consideration wherever you happen to find yourself on this spectrum of flexibility and strength. At its bare bones (pun intended?) application, mobility training is joint training.

In order to have the multi-joint interdependence that our bodies are designed for we need single-joint independence, our longevity and quality of life depend on it!

The convenience of the modern-day lifestyle many of us live comes at a cost.

With each passing decade our cells receive input through the movement and force we provide. This is the basic premise behind adaptation.

HERE IS THE FORMULA:

WHAT IS YOUR BODY ADAPTING TO?
wHAT INPUTS ARE YOU CONSISTENTLY PROVIDING?

These are two questions that we must proactively answer before our bodies let us know! Our body speaks to us and if we go long enough without listening to the gentle whispers, they can become agonizing screams:

“My back is killing me.”

We are in the middle of a pain crisis [xiv] (among many others) and a big part of the problem stems from being disconnected from our bodies.

YOUR BODY IS MADE TO MOVE!

Do you want healthy joints? A strong supple spine? Mobile hips? Resilient robust shoulders?

You can’t simply stand still all your life and think your body is going to be a thriving piece of machinery.

Conversely, if we give the nervous system and the joints a reason to keep the range of motion we were born with, we can thrive. If we also strengthen the ranges we desire to be strong in, (ideally all of them) we can become Strong(er).

We can keep and maintain healthy joints if that is our (In)Tension.
Otherwise we slowly lose them overtime. (The circles get smaller.)

This picture depicts the need to use the range of motion (ROM) we have now in order to keep it. We do this with CARs which are an integral part of functional mobility training. We also have ways to expand ROM and create more control!
This loss of mobility leads to pain and dysfunction.

Dysfunctional compensations occur when different joints are burdened to take on the roles of other joints that lack sufficient degrees of freedom.

This vicious cycle usually continues to manifest as people who are in pain tend to move less, and because they move less more mobility is lost, which only causes more severity.

We generally blame and accept this process as a “normal part of aging” but it is really a manifestation of our daily activities (or lack thereof) which leads to these adaptations.

You only get one body. Choose your adaptations wisely.
TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE

Have you ever seen an elderly person with minimal movement whose body seemed to be coiling into itself? Then you observed a life of adapting to increased immobility and weakness. It is the body’s last stitch effort as the nervous system literally holds the muscles in their midranges because it knows no other position that can be trusted.

According to the CDC, “each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year.” [xv]

Many elderly people will fall victim to a fall which can be life altering or life ending. [xvi] [xvii]

This tragic news amplifies the need for strength and mobility in the older adult!

If you are in the 50, 60 or 70+ year range then strength training [xviii] and mobility work are your best options in the fight against muscle wasting (sarcopenia) and weakness (dynapenia).

Sarcopenia and the sedentary lifestyle are silent killers. Add the Standard American Diet [xix] (S.A.D. for short because it is) to the equation and you can quickly see why lifestyle related disease continues to climb. [xx]

Here is a picture of my 70+ years strong, retired physician client, who is experiencing the compounding benefits of mobility work and resistance training: strength, anti-aging, heart health and longevity.

You don’t have to fall victim to weakness and immobility.
You can take your life back, too!

Mobility work offers a host of numerous benefits. For starters the daily “morning routine” creates a “neural mapping” for the mind that communicates the active ranges of motion available. This helps to keep all the mechanoreceptors found within the articulations (joints) as the passing of years brings the degeneration of these cells and new ones show up.

The brain is blind after all and relies on force and movement “to see.”

MOVE IT OR LOSE IT

Here’s how it works when the new cells show up: (The dialog below is best read with a New York accent, at least that’s how I imagine our cells communicate- other than force that is.)

New mechanoreceptor work crew: “Hey! What’s up, fellows?”

Old crew: “Oh, hi there. It’s your first day on the job, right?”

“Yea, so, what do we do around here all day?”

“Fuhgeddaboudit, we basically sit all day in this hunched over position in front of computers, in cars and on couches. You think you can handle that.”

“Oh, well, that wasn’t what we were created to do, but we can.”

“Ok, great talk. Time to die.” (Famous movie reference, you know it?)

And that is basically the conversation that our cells have each decade as the new ones show up to replace the old ones and on and on the cycle continues.

Think of it this way- my son can do the splits. He’s two. We all could when we were born! If you were under anesthesia you might be able to as well… So why can’t you do it now?

Adaptation and Specificity (The S.A.I.D. principle).

You get good at what you do, or in this case what you don’t do. The nervous system is calibrated for efficiency and the mind is greedy for calories. If we want to sit all day the nervous system will accommodate that. If we want to lift heavier weight progressively over time to get stronger, the nervous system will adapt to that. If you do the splits all your life, you’ll be able to do them when you’re 90, just ask Jean-Claude Van Damme!

Our bodies are primed to respond to the inputs we provide. This applies to all tissues: fascia, muscle fibers, tendons, bones, ligaments, connective tissues and so on. All these respond to force and can be strengthened. The term “BioFlow” describes the continuity of these tissues that all work together through force to produce movement.

“Force is the language of cells and movement is what we say.” ~ Dr. Andreo Spina

The body prefers homeostasis. It is built for survival and because of this it responds to the stimulus we provide.

My admonishment to you is to provide inputs of movement, mobility and strength.

Challenge the body and mind to grow in resilience.

Your basis for stamina is built upon your physical being. Even if your job is completely mental and sedentary, a healthier body improves your brain performance.

Want to feel better, have more energy, and be a more productive and happier person? If that’s you then including physicality in your daily regimen is ideal.

BUILD THE PILLARS OF YOUR HEALTH

There are four pillars of health that everyone who wants to take care of their bodies should consider: Nutrition, Activity, Sleep, Stress and Recovery. Within the Activity pillar there are three boxes that everyone should check:
Muscle, Movement and Mobility.

This is where Functional Range Conditioning can help with your mobility and much more.

  • It can help the yogi gain control of those extreme stretches, actively instead of passively.
  • It can help the powerlifter get access to more usable range of motion which will aid in injury prevention; more degrees of freedom at every joint means maximizing your body’s movement and movement variability. (See the original work of Bernstein on blacksmiths dating back to 1967 [xxi] to learn about the true meaning of movement variability, [xxii] which he so eloquently described as “repetition without repetition.” From that lens you can begin to understand how having healthy mobile joints gives your body many options for movement. He also coined the term “biomechanics.” The term “BioFlow” can be used to accurately consolidate the body back to one whole piece working together synergistically.)
  • It can help the bodybuilder get stronger in the end-ranges, increase active ROM and therefore help with building more muscle tissue. [xxiii]
  • It can help the regular gym goer whose shoulder hurts after benching by creating more space in the joint capsule and rotational capabilities.
  • It can help the older adult who is starting to feel the effects of a stiff body. It can also help you a lot sooner before the pain ever gets that bad!
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure!
FUNCTIONAL RANGE CONDITIONING CAN HELP TO PROTECT YOUR BODY FROM INJURIES

The research is clear that strength gains are specific to the joint angle trained in. [xxiv] [xxv] The specific joint angle trained in gains strength in 15-20 degrees of that range. [xxvi]

We tend to neglect end-range training whether fully lengthened or fully shortened and only ever get strong in the mid-ranges.

WHERE DO MOST INJURIES OCCUR?

During the eccentric (lengthening/lowering portion) of the lift and generally at that end-range. By strengthening those extreme ranges, you gain access to more movement options and can begin to close the gap in between your passive and active ranges.

This mobility work makes you more resilient to injury and a better mover overall.

“You will always regret not training in the position you get injured in.” ~ Dr. Andreo Spina

Injury occurs when the load imparted exceeds the load bearing capacity of the tissue.
GOT MOBILITY?

Functional Range Conditioning focuses on joint health and mobility training based on scientific principles and research. Our training is designed to:

  • Maintain and increase your body’s active mobility
  • Expand usable ranges of motion and strength the newly acquired capabilities
  • Bulletproof your body by creating robust and resilient joints
  • And teach the nervous system how to efficiently control your body and movement.

Want to improve your breathing, mobility, flexibility, strength, recovery and more?

Visit our STORE and COACHING SERVICES to learn more about the services we provide.
CONTACT US TODAY for a free consultation to determine the best route for your needs, goals and lifestyle. We are happy to answer any inquiries you may have.


[i] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm.

[ii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2020. Available at: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx.

[iii] Gureje O, Von Korff M, Simon GE, Gater R. Persistent pain and well-being. A World Health Organization study in primary care. JAMA 1998;280:147–51.

[iv] Wang, Y Claire, McPherson, Klim, Marsh, Tim, Gortmaker, Steven L., Brown, Martin. Health and Economic Burden of the Projected Obesity Trends in the USA and the UK. The Lancet; 2011.

[v] Liguori, Ilaria et al. “Sarcopenia: assessment of disease burden and strategies to improve outcomes.” Clinical interventions in aging vol. 13 913-927. 14 May. 2018, doi:10.2147/CIA.S149232

[vi] Harris, Marc Ashley. “The relationship between physical inactivity and mental wellbeing: Findings from a gamification-based community-wide physical activity intervention.” Health psychology open vol. 5,1 2055102917753853. 16 Jan. 2018, doi:10.1177/2055102917753853

[vii] Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee. National pain strategy: a comprehensive population health-level strategy for pain. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health; 2016.

[viii] U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm.

[ix] Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP. Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics Among Adults in the United States, 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):854–857. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.854

[x] Tudor-Locke, Catrine, et al. “A step-defined sedentary lifestyle index:< 5000 steps/day.” Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism 38.2 (2013): 100-114. APA

[xi] Pinedo-Villanueva R, Westbury LD, Syddall HE, et al. Health Care Costs Associated With Muscle Weakness: A UK Population-Based Estimate. Calcif Tissue Int. 2019;104(2):137-144. doi:10.1007/s00223-018-0478-1

[xii] Amiridis IG, Hatzitaki V, Arabatzi F. Age-induced modifications of static postural control in humans. Neurosci Lett. 2003;350:1–4.

[xiii] Alfieri, Fábio Marcon et al. “Functional mobility and balance in community-dwelling elderly submitted to multisensory versus strength exercises.” Clinical interventions in aging vol. 5 181-5. 9 Aug. 2010, doi:10.2147/cia.s10223

[xiv] Dahlhamer J, Lucas J, Zelaya, C, et al. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1001–1006. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6736a2external icon.

[xv] Bergen G, Stevens MR, Burns ER. Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:993–998. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6537a2

[xvi] Alexander BH, Rivara FP, Wolf ME. The cost and frequency of hospitalization for fall–related injuries in older adults. American Journal of Public Health 1992;82(7):1020–3.

[xvii] Sterling DA, O’Connor JA, Bonadies J. Geriatric falls: injury severity is high and disproportionate to mechanism. Journal of Trauma–Injury, Infection and Critical Care 2001;50(1):116–9

[xviii] Law, Timothy D et al. “Resistance Exercise to Prevent and Manage Sarcopenia and Dynapenia.” Annual review of gerontology & geriatrics vol. 36,1 (2016): 205-228. doi:10.1891/0198-8794.36.205

[xix] Forhan, Mary & Gill, Simone. (2013). Obesity, functional mobility and quality of life. Best practice & research. Clinical endocrinology & metabolism. 27. 129-37. 10.1016/j.beem.2013.01.003.

[xx] Pappachan, M J. “Increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases: high time for action.” The Indian journal of medical research vol. 134,2 (2011): 143-5.

[xxi] ·  Bernstein NA. The Co-ordination and Regulation of Movements. Pergamon Press; Oxford: 1967.

[xxii] Lockhart, Thurmon, and Nick Stergiou. “New perspectives in human movement variability.” Annals of biomedical engineering vol. 41,8 (2013): 1593-4. doi:10.1007/s10439-013-0852-0

[xxiii] Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J. Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: A systematic review. SAGE Open Med. 2020;8:2050312120901559. Published 2020 Jan 21. doi:10.1177/2050312120901559

[xxiv] Kitai, T.A., Sale, D.G. Specificity of joint angle in isometric training. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 58, 744–748 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00637386

[xxv] Weir JP, Housh TJ, Weir LL. Electromyographic evaluation of joint angle specificity and cross-training after isometric training. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1994;77(1):197-201. doi:10.1152/jappl.1994.77.1.197

[xxvi] Rutherford, O.M., Jones, D.A. The role of learning and coordination in strength training. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 55, 100–105 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00422902


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