Do you ever get stiff and sore even when you’re working out correctly?
Can’t seem to shake that nagging back or shoulder pain?
This is because your body adapts to the activities that you do the most, and unfortunately most of what we do is sit.
Your body adapts by listening to the signals you send it through the activities you choose. When you lift weights or hit the bike, your body reacts to that signal and takes action to:
- strengthen the joints involved
- beef up the muscles you were using
- be as prepared as possible for the next time you work out
Here’s the problem:
Your body is designed to move as much as possible, but your lifestyle is designed around moving as little as possible.
- Drive to work
- Sit at your desk
- Sit down for lunch
- Drive back home
- Workout for an hour
- Sit down for dinner
- Sit down on the couch to watch some tv
Sitting is winning.
And this cycle can continue for years.
Even if that hour workout happens every day, it can’t overcome this much time spent not moving. Sure, you might be sending a good signal for 1 hour a day, but what about the other 10-14 hours?
Take Jeff for example:
He works in IT for a local tech company and loves to hit the gym after work.
He works out 3-4 times a week, eats a healthy diet, gets quality sleep, but STILL gets nagged by aches and pains in his hips, shoulders, and back.
He’s tried it all: massage, acupuncture, meditation, a new mattress, you name it, he’s done it. And while these techniques provided some relief, when his workouts ramp up, he always ends up feeling stiff and achy.
Where is he going wrong?
He’s ignoring one of the biggest fitness truths out there:
You can’t out-work a sedentary lifestyle.
Instead of asking himself: what am I doing wrong in the gym?
He needs to ask himself: what am I doing wrong when I’m not at the gym?
For most of us, including Jeff, that answer is: sitting for 8+ hours a day.
If working out more isn’t the solution, what is?
What is a movement-break? Taking any amount of time to move in a way that feels good, wakes up your muscles, and loosens your body up.
The health benefits of taking movement-breaks are clear:
- better joint health
- lower cortisol levels
- increased hydration and circulation
Movement-breaks need to become your new best friend.
We all need to start breaking up the monotony of sitting and standing throughout the day.
Once our man Jeff learns about movement breaks he decides to give them a try.
He starts small, taking a one minute break every hour. During that minute he does 5 squats and 3 shoulder circles.
Over the course of the day, he gets 8 movement-breaks in totaling 40 squats and 24 shoulder circles.
Over the first week, he does 200 squats and 120 shoulder circles.
As he’s getting ready to workout at the end of his first week he’s stoked to find his back, hips and shoulders feel great, with barely any warm-up needed.
HEALTH IS CUMULATIVE.
What we do all day adds up.
It’s in your control how you want to feel at the end of the day. Stiff, achy and sore? Or loose and strong?
Set a reminder on your phone to go off every hour once you get to work (obviously standing up in the middle of a meeting and cranking out 10 squats might not be appropriate so plan accordingly).
See how many times you can listen to the reminder and move for a minute or two.
Remember, what you dois much less important than how often you do it. Pick small exercises that you can easily do anywhere anytime. They can be anything from:
Lower intensity movements:
Higher intensity movements:
Consistency is key
Know this: When starting any new habit, especially health or fitness related, that little voice in your head is going to give you all sorts of excuses and reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
It’s because of that little voice that we need to choose exercises that are small and easily do-able. That way, there are no good excuses and there are no good reasons why you can’t do it.
Try one of these habit tracking techniques to track your progress and start to feel the benefits.
Conclusion: How are you going to move?
What kind of breaks are you taking? How are you feeling after trying this out?
Is it harder or easier than you thought?
Let me know in the comments below!
Want to have a collection of movements customized to address your individual pain points?
Dr. Brink and Dr. Baker are now doing telemedicine appointments! All of their expertise and guidance is now available in the comfort of your home.
Click here to book your appointment via email.
P.S. Still want personalized movement plans but trying to save money?
For a limited time MAPS Prime Pro, designed by Dr. Brink is 50% off.
Click here and enter code Brink50 to access personalized self-assessments and a library of corrective exercises designed to get you moving better.