My foam roller is my best friend. Okay maybe it doesn't help me work out complicated emotional matters or rock out with me at local shows or enjoy a mimosa at brunch on Sundays but it absolutely helps me keep my body happy and healthy! It helps me sort out the kinks that affect my flexibility and it helps relieve the aches and pains I have to come to associate with the marvels of motherhood. Where once I was rolling to help my dance skills and warm up/cool down from circuit training, now I'm using it to help alleviate the "mom shoulders", "baby carrier back", and the "breastfeeding elbow/wrist funk" that is part of my daily life.
There are tons of articles and blogs on the benefits of foam rolling (click here) so rather than reinvent the wheel I've decided to point out some ways in which your foam roller can actually be better than a professional massage. Yup, you heard me. Better than a professional massage. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good massage as much as the next girl. Having someone else do the work and a nice relaxing setting to unwind are both absolute personal favorites but since I didn't marry a massage therapist and I don't have unlimited income or access to a 24 hour masseuse I've come to realize just how important my foam roller is for creating a consistent (and realistic) self-care routine. So here you go!
FIVE WAYS MY FOAM ROLLER IS BETTER THAN A PROFESSIONAL MASSAGE
Want to learn how to take full advantage of your foam roller? Need some instruction on how to roll properly?
Sometimes when we are dealing with pain or injuries it can be difficult to find any silver linings. Take a minute for a little body scan and see if you can't find an area that feels good. Maybe it's your pinky toe? Wherever it is, give thanks. Then go back to whatever area of your body is bothering you and instead of yelling at it, feeling sad about it, or calling it mean names, give it thanks. Yup, you heard me. Say thank you to the pain. Well, not exactly to the pain, but thank you to your body for doing it's best in spite of the pain. It's important to remember that our bodies hear everything (whether we say it out loud or not). How often have your referred to an aching body part as negatively?
"My stupid back is acting up again", "my knee's being a jerk today", "I wish I could just get a new neck"...
Not only are these actual things I've heard clients say, they're things I myself used to say before my acupuncturist called me out. Studies have shown that our tissues respond to our internal monologues of anger or resentment the same way they would if someone were calling you stupid, or a jerk, or wishing you could be replaced. So on today, a day to share gratitude, be nice to your body and always try to remember that it's doing the best that it can. If you're not already actively working with someone to help alleviate chronic aches and pains, give me a call and let's get you feeling better!
The topic of aging and it's "inevitable" effects on the body has come up with several people over this last week. The idea that aging = a slumping posture and the end of happy joints and carefree activity is a myth! Now is this a reality for some older people? Absolutely. But is it a given? No!
The body is made for movement. Literally. Bones grow with impact. Muscles get stronger when they contract, release, and rebuild. Our heart responds to increasing demand with increased efficiency. Joints are happiest when they are lubricated and movement helps encourage a steady supply of synovial fluid to keep them nourished and healthy.
So really, a more accurate cause/effect is that as people get older there is a tendency for less activity. This lack of movement is what leads many older individuals to have a sinking/slouching posture, difficulty breathing, problems with their blood pressure, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.
Solution? STAY ACTIVE! If you're not currently active find a trainer (pick me!) to help create a routine that is right for you and your body. Already have some postural issues? Come in and get your posture assessed complete with pictures of all 4 views of your alignment while standing in front of a grid! Awareness is the first step!
If you haven't heard of Foundation Training, check out the info on my page or go directly to their webpage. It is an invaluable tool to help reverse the effects of inactivity and improve your overall health and well-being, no matter your age or fitness level. The exercise below was developed by Eric Goodman, the founder of Foundation Training, and is a great starting point for anyone looking to improve their health, overcome training plateaus, or avoid the myth of aging. Pictures are from his amazing second book, True to Form, which I highly recommend to anyone looking to jumpstart the process.
STANDING DECOMPRESSION BREATH:
The 3-Dimensional Breath
MAKING IT A DECOMPRESSION EXERCISE:
To create the effect of "decompression" we introduce the adductors (inner thigh muscles). These muscles help to stabilize your pelvis so that while you're taking this wonderful full breath and lengthening your spine, the pelvis remains "anchored" allowing for the "decompression" effect.
If you have shoulder issues or acute lower back pain you might choose to skip this progression.
Do you keep trying to figure out that "one" thing that triggered your back pain? What you did the day before you woke up with knee pain? Why your feet suddenly get mad at long walks or why standing in line at the grocery store or at a "standing-room only" concert feels like too much to handle? Do you remember the last full day you had without a headache? Many clients come in wanting answers to these questions. There's a feeling that if you could just pinpoint when it all began, it would be easier to fix.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you might never figure it out. It's rarely "one" moment that creates the problem. Likely it's been brewing for a while and that "one" thing is much harder to pinpoint because it's like the straw that broke the camel's back.
Instead of trying to pinpoint a moment in time, start evaluating your habits over time. Do you slump at your desk for 8 hours a day? Do you lounge crooked on the couch for a few hours every night? Do you brush your teeth with a rounded back and hunched shoulders (everyday, twice a day)? Did you sprain your ankle back in high school and just "suck it up" at the time? Is your diet full of foods that create inflammation in your body? How much sleep do you get, how many glasses of water do you drink? Do you continue intense workouts even when you're injured?
Chronic aches and pains are often accumulations of poor movement patterns, poorly rehabbed injuries, compression, compensations, and/or mismanaged care (pain meds, incomplete therapy, lack of rehab altogether). The good news is that with patience, attention, and intention, you can move better and feel better. A lot better!
I'm not just saying this because I read it in books or learned it at a workshop. I'm saying this because I've lived it. I spent 15 years living with chronic pain so I get it. I get the obstacles, I get the frustrations and fear of trying new things. I know firsthand the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. This background is what motivates me to assess and treat each individual as a whole and to honor each client's preferred pace and comfort level with new movements.
It is incredible to have come full circle and to now be able to help others break the cycle of chronic pain, find the light on the other side, and enjoy their lives again. Need help or know someone that does? Call, email, or book an appointment today and take the first step towards feeling better.
Naming a business is pretty crazy. It has to be something that resonates, something you don't mind seeing and saying a million times a day. I went through a couple of possibilities but struggled to find something that I felt truly represented me and my mission. It wasn't until I'd almost settled on a different name (needing to meet a deadline) that it came to me one sleepless night (as most good ideas tend to do). Every breath is movement, and every movement is an opportunity for improved fitness.
During the Stott Pilates certification I learned about using the 3-dimensional breath and intentionally connecting each inhale and exhale to every movement. The result was greater connection to my core and more control over my movements. When I went through the Foundation Training certification I was introduced to decompression breathing; using the breath in combination with the muscles to create more space and actively resist gravity. These two concepts have transferred so seamlessly into my daily life that I began to realize a simple fact about fitness. Fitness doesn't just happen at the gym or in a workout class. Fitness is a way of life. Quite literally, every breath offers us another chance for a healthy, active life. And that was it. Breathe Fitness was born :)
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San Diego, CA 92107