If you’re challenged by restrictions in your movements due to specific pain areas or lack of fitness, do read this blog and move from pain to gain.
We get it! We know what it’s like when it hurts every time you move. So the first option that comes to your mind is to try to limit the amount you move so you don't suffer as much. It's a natural reaction. And it's one your brain is counting on.
Now saying that let's understand why your mind is banking on you doing that?!
1. Increase your range of movement
Let us establish the fact that your brain loves you. Like really loves you and doesn't want you to get hurt. So, to keep you safe, the main job of the brain is protection and survival. You may want to run, lift, swim, or whatever it is you want to do, but the brain will have to step in, and make you take pauses.
Remember, your brain's priorities aren't the same as your priorities. And with that in mind, let's talk about mobility. Barring any mechanical restriction, it's your brain that is putting a stop to your mobility gains. It's true.
Here is why. There are generally two reasons your brain will limit your mobility:
- Strength in a position or range
- Lack of use
Think about it. If you're weak in a range or position, why would your brain risk letting you go there if you can't get yourself back? If your mind, even for a second, thinks you're not safe in a range of motion or that you are putting yourself at risk, then it's going to stop you.
Any guesses on how it's going to stop you?
That's right, by hurting you.
Pain is a warning. Pain is the best tool your body has to make you pay attention to what your brain is telling you, and it uses this to draw attention and stop you from doing anything which is going to hurt you.
So how do we get healthy in our range of movement, so the brain lets us go there? Well, the answer is bit-by-bit. This is a process where you need to earn the trust of your mind, and that will happen as you build strength. (It’s called baby steps!)
Simple exercises like
- Shoulder extension support and stability
- Hip extension, glute, hamstring, and spinal erector activation, etc
And these simple exercises result in body coordination which is directly related to building comfort, which builds trust. Again, this is a process that needs to be built with consistency.
2. Strength and Stability Are Crucial to Mobility
This brings us to the next important thing. Use the ranges that you currently have.
One of the truest things you need to understand about the brain-body connection is if-you-don't-use-it, you-lose-it. It doesn't matter if you were an Olympic gymnast. If you don't frequently move into the ranges you have, then you will lose them. To make that more relatable:
- If you sit at a desk all day, slouch, and never move your spine in a different direction, what do you think will happen? You're going to end up with a humped posture and an inability to extend or rotate your back.
The way the brain sees it is like this. There hasn’t been any range of movements in weeks, so it invariably forgets this ability.
In short, to be mobile or build mobility, you need to develop the strength and stability in the ranges you want for the brain to let you go there. And combine this with different types of ranges consistently or your brain will take the ability to use them away from you. It all comes down to staying focused and frequent with movements.
Hope this blog helps you to keep moving forward with your own personal fitness goals.