Be mindful

Todd Hargrove put an interesting post about joint mobility on the Perfect Health blog earlier this week.

He spoke about joint mobility being work for the brain as it helps to clarify body maps.

‘The body maps are discrete parts of the brain that are organized in such a way as to represent the different body parts, just as lines on a map represent roads. Each part of the body has a separate area of the brain dedicated to moving and sensing that body part.’

The idea is that properly performed joint mobility work will help these maps become clearer and improve control over each body part.

He details five things that will make your joint mobility practice more effective.

  1. Avoid pain and threat.
  2. Be mindful and attentive to what you are doing.
  3. Use novel movements.
  4. Easy does it.
  5. Be curious, exploratory and playful

I would argue that this could be applied to all movement training, not just joint mobility. All of them have value but the first two points should be the focus at first.

Avoiding pain is key. Sometimes it is unavoidable (when going for a max effort for example), but it shouldn’t be the aim. If you want to teach your body a new movement pain will teach it that it is a bad thing.

We also should not engage in movement mindlessly but instead have awareness of how we are moving and which body parts are acting to get us there.

This is important even when doing something as seemingly basic as walking or running.

I see many runners out at lunch time near my office. Most of them do not seem to be thinking about what their bodies are doing, their minds are not on the physical activity. Their facial expressions suggest they are mostly concentrating on continuing running despite the fairly obvious pain they are causing themselves in the process.

Change that. Be mindful. Good things will happen.