Mental Health

Using Mobility to Become More Mindful & Self Aware

I’m a huge fan of mobility for the purposes of pain relief, proper movement, and longevity. I stretch everywhere I can, in the car, doing dishes, I’ve even done mobility in line at the grocery store.

Another reason I love to stretch is that it allows me to reflect, process, and slow down during my day.  Here are the top reasons I continue to make mobility a part of my daily routine.

SLOWING DOWN

It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race that is life.  There is a constant pressure to be productive, even if it is just mindless house chores.  Taking a moment to be still in order to stretch has been a HUGE benefit to me in order to slow down.

Sometimes, it’s the only part of my day where I am physically still.  Once I get physically still, it’s much easier to become mentally still.  Funny thing is, when I am mentally still, I become more aware of my body, mind, and surroundings.  I also find that I become less stressed, and less stress is always better.

SELF REFLECTION

I love reflecting on things I have done, things I am doing, and things I want to do.  Time to sit and get lost in my thoughts, and I sometimes wouldn’t be able to do this without sitting still and stretching.

Some people meditate, some people journal, and some people vent to other’s about what’s going on in their mind.  I like to sit, stretch, be still, and reflect on things.  This helps me really focus on what is going on in my crazy head.  I can’t tell you how many “ah ha” moments I have had holding a frog stretch!

BODY AWARENESS

Sometimes we don’t even realize what our bodies are feeling until we pay attention.  There is no better way to conduct a full body assessment than by doing a stretching routine.  It’s important to realize what body parts are stiff and tight.  I find these tight spots by stretching daily.

This has been so valuable for me because it allows me to understand which days I should be pushing myself hard and which days I should be toning in down a little.  I love this mindset because it helps maximize my workouts when I am feeling good, and minimize the chance of injury by taking it down a notch when needed.

INJURY PREVENTION

Speaking of minimizing injury, I have noticed a huge decrease in shoulder and lower back injuries since I have prioritized stretching.  My lower back and right shoulder have been a chronic source of injury, pain, and stiffness for nearly 10 years.  Since mobilizing, I haven’t had any problems with either body part.

I have an interesting story about this.  Historically, I have kept my quads extremely limber and loose with a combination of static stretching and foam rolling.  Since prioritizing mobility as of late, I have neglected my quads to address some very major problems in my hips, low back, and shoulders.

Guess what happened?  My right knee started swelling up.  No ligament damage, no meniscus tear, nothing.  Just good ol fashioned TIGHT QUADS!  Solution?  You know it!  Foam rolling and quad stretches.

I know there are a ton of research articles that say stretching and mobility does not prevent injuries, but I don’t care.  The proof has always been in the pudding for me on this.  Stay mobile, stay loose, and stay limber.  That is a recipe for staying injury free.

CONSUME INFORMATION

Being still can sometimes get a little boring and I have been known to partake in some marathon mobility sessions.  I listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, read, and listen to books on tape.

If you like to do any of those things, keep doing them, and add stretching to it!  This is also a great way to motivate you to consume information you normally wouldn’t if you weren’t forced to be still.

PRODUCTIVITY DURING MUNDANE ACTIVITIES

Give your body what it needs with mobility wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  Standing in the kitchen talking with your loved one?  Stretch your shoulders!  Checking social media?  Pop into the bottom of a squat!  Watching TV?  Sit with your legs crossed and work on your mobility!  At the park with your kids?  Stretch!

There are literally endless amounts of ways to stay limber throughout your day.  As I type this I am in a seated forward fold.  What are you doing RIGHT NOW AS YOU READ THIS?!  Please tell me you’re squatting!

BETTER ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

I’ve learned that my athletic performance has increased with more mobility.  Doing shoulder presses are easier because I am able to get into better positions.  My toes to bar have gotten effortless because my hamstrings are more loose.  Squats are like butter because my hip mobility has increased.


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