We all want to age gracefully, but stiffness, fatigue and pain can be major roadblocks to mobility -- no matter how young you are! The good news -- there are ways to change that, without a bunch of grueling workouts! Fitness power couple Kelly and Juliet Starrett have built a wellness empire training elite athletes, celebrities and even Navy Seals - they're here to get us off the couch and moving with tips from their latest book, “Built To Move.”
It starts with a quick assesment of our mobility: The “Sit & Rise” test.
Without using your hands, cross one foot in front of the other and sit down on the floor in a cross-legged position....now, from the same cross-legged position, rise up off the floor. All of us should be able to do this without touching a hand or knee to the floor -- it is a crucial health indicator. Kelly and Juliet see hip mobility as a vital sign; in countries where people sit on the ground, sleep on the ground and toilet on the ground, the fall risk in the elderly drops to almost zero.
To improve your results, the Starretts say 30 minutes of simply sitting on the floor will dramatically improve our ability to move. It’ll make you feel better and restore your range of hip motion. Watching TV is a great chance to log some floor time, and it can be any way you like — criss cross appleasauce, cross legged, legs out to the side, legs out in front of you. It’s not technically exercise, but the effects are very beneficial. It loads those tissues, so that your body starts to reinforce it. PLUS it tells your brain this is an important position, so you’re brain is trained when you need access to it, like if you fall. Kelly says the number one reason people end up in nursing homes is they fall and can't get up off of the ground.
The next level is what the Starretts call hip mobilizations.
While these aren't exercises, there are a couple of rules. One, you should always be able to take a full breath in anything you're doing, and two, you should always be able to contract, be able to show control in those positions.
One of the exercises is The Elevated Pigeon, which is done simply by placing your leg on a chair or table while stretching your back leg. The other, The Hamstring Floss, is done by laying on the ground while lifting a knee to your chest. Work on it slowly while breathing, and throw in some muscle contractions, 5 minutes on the left leg and 5 minutes on the right.