Use it or lose it……..
Unusually for me I have spent most of this week sitting on my sofa. I have had builders and scaffolders working in my garden which has meant that I needed to spend most of the week at home. I am somebody who enjoys being busy and active so this has felt a bit like being under house arrest! Having been deprived of my daily walking, regular running and yoga classes I was shocked at how quickly I have felt the affects of this inactivity in my body.
I have an assignment to write for my Advanced Massage training course so I have been using my enforced time at home to get on with some research and reading. As a massage therapist I should know better but I have spent days sitting in awkward positions hunched over my laptop and a pile of text books. After four days of this my lower back aches, my hips are stiff and my neck and shoulders are rounded and sore. The surprising thing about this for me is how quickly I have developed aches and pains and my joints have become stiff. Our bodies are designed to move and if we don’t use our muscles and joints then we very quickly start to lose strength, functionality and range of movement. It is a very simple case of use it or lose it!
When we are inactive for extended periods of time our fascia (the fine elastic connective tissue that surrounds and connect our muscles) starts to dry out and bind together. This prevents the muscles from moving freely against each other, and leads to a stiffness or tightness that limits normal range of motion and prevents freedom of movement. The good news is that this can be quickly reversed with regular movement and gentle stretching.
In Chinese medicine they apparently say that ‘the hinges of a well-used door never rust’. So whether your movement of choice it is a gentle walk with your dog, pottering in your garden, dancing, running or playing football it is all doing you good.
My plan is to still be active and flexible when I am 103 so tomorrow morning I will back on my yoga mat joyfully moving my joints and stretching my muscles.
I cant wait!