By Martin Sigrist
“Use it or lose it” is a well known expression when it comes to cardiovascular endurance or muscle strength.
Some of us get worried that we need to train 5 to 7 times a week to stay in shape.
However few of us worry about the other two aspects related to our body’s movement that are equally important and to which “use it or lose it” equally applies.
These aspects are:
Mobility: The capacity to move all parts of our bodies through a full normal range of motion freely and without pain.
Stability – That is the ability of the body to be able to exert force safely and efficiently, maintaining the integrity of the body’s components.
My previous article was related to stability of the shoulders.
However it can only be done if you can actually move the shoulders in the correct way in the first place, without any load.
Which is something many of us cannot do because we only usually move our shoulders through a limited range. The most obvious example is overhead. How often do you lift your arm straight up over your head as far as it can go? If the answer is “not very” then it will come as no surprise if you find it difficult to do so when required.
This is an issue because this doesn’t just affect your ability to lift your arm overhead. If the shoulder loses parts of its range of movement in one area it will have a knock on effect in others.
There is a simple fix to this. “Use it” or in this case “Use them.”
The video below shows some simple shoulder movements that can be done without any equipment anytime anywhere. You can do them all in one go or just do one or two when you feel like it. If you do all of them just once a week that will be enough to maintain mobility if you have it. If you find any of them especially difficult then it will be worth finding out why and seeing if you can fix it. Most likely you will.
(The video features Dr Kelly Starrett. I will mention that he is responsible for the biggest improvement in the quality of my life in the past decade. This was as a result of following his simple prescription to spend 5 minutes a day every day working on improving the mobility of one part of your body in a way that, over the course of a couple of weeks or so, addresses every movement in your body from wiggling your toes to turning your head. As a result I can move more freely and am more pain free than at any time since my mid 20s. His book “The Supple Leopard” covers everything you need to know. It’s not cheap, but it is worth every penny.)
Now among the world’s fittest sexagenarians Martin Sigrist started riding on doctor’s orders in 2005 and had to push his bike up his first hill. Next year he soloed the Tour de France. He has since experienced every form of road cycling from criterium to ultra endurance. His ongoing mission is to use the latest in science and technology to fight a, so far successful, battle against Father Time.