Education is key when it comes to taking power over your own health and wellness. When you need support, knowing more about how your body works will help you ask the right questions and understand the answers from your medical or wellness team. I look at the role movement can play in your health, wellness and recovery to full and optimal function. The articles are not meant to take the place of medical advice and should not be used as such.

May 2024 be a movement filled year for you!

Stress is something that affects us all, and movement is one way to build resources to manage the stresses of every day life.

It's that time where we reflect on the year past. Personally it was a difficult year (my father died in Dec. '22 and the fallout of the estate, family drama!). 

We know stress as something that is imposed on us, but we usually think of it as a negative thing. Stress is something we experience 100% of the time in the form of the forces we are under (gravity, load) and our tissues adapt to this stress. If we don't have the resources, we will have a negative adaptation and if we have those resources, we generally have a positive adaptation. Hence the term "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

In the case of psychological stress, the kind we associate with an unfair boss or life situation, the resource well we draw from is much the same; sleep, good nutrition, a reliable support system. So stress, no matter where it comes from, is to be expected through both life's twists and turns and the fact that we exist on a planet that exerts forces on us.

There were several occasions last year where my resources were depleted. Luckily I had a shelter, food, and support. I pulled through, but at what cost? Over time, more and more of these occasions can lead to unsustainable strategies to deal with our stresses; poor nutrition choices, excess alcohol intake, a sedentary lifestyle, or any number of things - you can probably fill in that blank. In turn, these strategies can lead to things like chronic pain, inflammation, lack of sleep, and a gradual draining of that resource well to draw from, leading to a less robust system overall.

The adaptations that occur then are ones that we know aren't good, and that we would like to change, but the fact is, we don't have the resources required to change it. 

Along comes Jan.1st and we are inspired to start a new lifestyle, to make this year a better one! To start off on the right foot! But you don't magically get a full well when the calendar turns. Trying to change the adaptations (ie results) without first addressing the cause will inevitably end in disappointment.

Establishing new habits are difficult, especially when you are depleted. Trying to change them out of shame or guilt is never motivation enough.

Now it might seem like a stretch if your problems are related to a stressful job or a stressful marriage, etc., but your brain and body work together in a very profound way. Your Central Nervous System is informed directly by the muscles that move and more to the point, it is also informed directly by muscles that don't move. Your Nervous System is provided with this feedback "bottom up" and is thus ensured that all is well and no intervention is required. This bottom up condition allows the Nervous System to spend energy elsewhere. This is a less "expensive" way to function energetically and conserves energy leading to a more robust system.

Now image that the Nervous System is not given that feedback through say, the rib muscles for example. The Nervous System will then initiate a "top down" strategy to maintain survival and consciously activate muscles to draw in breath. This could explain why we tend to breath shallow and high when we are stressed - the nervous system is expending energy to draw a breath (or fill in any other movement requirement). This is a more expensive metabolic strategy and leaves less energy for dealing with other issues that arise, leading to the depletion of our resources.

Finding muscles that aren't contributing to our movement patterns is what Restorative Exercise does best - it teases out those new options and thus calms the Nervous System, allowing us to function with less top down intervention.

This is why I decided to open the Foundations Membership. This is a monthly subscription to full length Restorative Exercise class recordings from '22, '23 and soon, '24. Over 80 classes in the membership with more added every week. They aren't called "Restorative" for nothing! The premise behind Restorative Exercise is to look at habitual ways of moving, creating strategies for alternatives and give the body options. This provides the body with more solutions to any given movement problem.

I teach 3 classes per week, and walk most days. This alone has kept me sane (mostly) and functioning through some difficult patches this year. I am so sure this will help that I am offering an incentive so you can test it out for yourself for a month.

Visit this link to learn more and join the membership. The first month is currently 50% off until Jan. 4/24.
Happy New Year Restorative Exercise Membership

I do hope you'll join me in moving for a sustainable, robust future!

Happy New Year!