We tend to focus on what we like to do, rather than what’s necessary. Meaning, if we like to strength train or do cardio, we seem to gravitate towards that option. I have always remembered a quote from the former Director of Conditioning of the Chicago White Sox, Vern Gambetta – who stated something to the effect of “it’s easy to do what you like but harder to do what is necessary.”
With that said, the majority of people do not focus on the big picture of wellness especially as they age. They continue to lift and do cardio (which is important) but we need to address other areas that are vital to ensure optimal health and wellness.
Life is about movement; all life is based on some form of movement. Just about everyone who walks into a health club or training facility across the country has some type of movement deficiency as a result of age, old injury, muscle imbalance, years of playing sports, etc.
In order for movement to occur efficiently (i.e. no wasted energy) various movement patterns have to be able to be executed correctly through their full range of motion.
Let me ask you:
How do you feel when you “pull” or “push” something?
How does your body feel when you perform a hip hinge (i.e. think Romanian Deadlift) or squat?
How do you feel when you perform an exercise off one-leg?
Can you perform a body weight squat movement and work to the bottom of the movement (i.e. bring hips lower than your knees, like your in the baseball catcher position) without pain or instability?
As we age, we start to see and have more dysfunction when it comes to the way we move.
The goal here is one word. Mobility.
We need to increase it in just about every part of our body, primarily, in our ankles, hips, upper backs and shoulders. We need to make sure we are working on some form of mobility each day even if it’s only five minutes a day.
Mobility can be defined as working a muscle or group of muscles through their full range of motion in the absence of pain.
Please view the video below. It’s a 4-step mobility progression for the mid-back (thoracic spine) that I put together for you. This is something that I do myself on a regular basis. This is one of the tightest areas in adults (especially for men). Improving mobility in your mid/upper back will not only help your golf and tennis games, it will help in the area of strength training and other activities of daily living known as ADLS’s.
Start today by performing 5 repetitions of each movement and eventually progress to 15 repetitions over time. Try doing this routine every other day – your body will love you for it.
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.