Would you rather look and feel like this?
Would you rather move like Bruce lee and Jackie Chan or Arnold Schwarzennager? Don’t get me wrong, I love Arnold! Stay with me here. I’m just trying to get my point across.
The Tin Man syndrome occurs when we neglect the often overlooked components of our fitness regimen called flexibility and mobility.
Have you heard the often repeated words from your Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, or even a magazine article “When you stop doing something, you lose it” That’s a fact and it applies to anything in life but let’s stay on this subject for a bit. To remain flexible and mobile has more benefits than you realize.
Benefits of maintaining or improving flexibility:
- Prevents Injury
- Joint integrity
- Capable of doing daily tasks more efficiently
- Increases Strength – what??? yep explain more in this article
- Prevents Pain
- Helps fix muscle Imbalances you may have or prevents them from occuring
- Improved Sex – just keepin it real
- Less compensatory patterns
- Can keep up with your kids and grandchildren
Okay so let’s talk genetics first. Once a gumby always a gumby? Yes but not always the case. Example: There have been instances where people that nailed the splits easily stopped. Let’s say a year later, they want to just see if they can still do the, for fun so they spend a couple days performing a focused flexibility protocol for the splits and then bam, they drop it like it’s hot! I can see your thought bubble “I hate those people” BUT! on the other hand, maybe the back bend they could execute flawlessly almost pulling their head between their legs days are far gone! In fact they are very compromised and can barely perform the Cobra Yoga pose. Sometimes this happens not only because of our lack of practice to maintain our back mobility and flexibility but also due to our job, every day life movements or lack thereof. I know first hand, because I’m a prime example. Getting “BACK” on the flexibility and mobility for the posterior chain because I don’t want to be the “Tin Woman”
Here’s another thought to ponder…your neck & upper mid back (thoracic spine) are tight. You’re driving and you have a hard time looking over your shoulder to change lanes, blind spot is blind. Yikes! and even worse you’re backing up and relying on your rear view mirror because your range of motion is restricted or you do your best by getting into these precarious positions and it just feels wrong. Accident waiting to happen people.
How many of you have tight hamstrings? Take note, if you sit a lot i.e. desk job, driving career you’ll get tight hamstrings if you didn’t have them already. This leads to a host of problems…Back pain for starters, then hips, neck, and can even cause depression due to lack of blood flow. And a stand up desk is not the answer. It can help, but you still have to move around and also stretch.
So, what and how often should you stretch and perform mobility work? You can do it daily! Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type (The F.I.T.T. principle). Unlike other forms of movement i.e. Strength training which requires recovery. But, it’s up to you and your goals. Even fitting it in here and there 10 – 15 minutes a day is better than not at all but I’d highly advise taking a class such as Antigravity Yoga with the silk hammock for decompression, Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates or hiring a personal trainer that you pay just for the mere accountability factor. I take every opportunity I get to stretch and have become pretty creative how I get food out of the refrigerator, a file out of my cabinet at work, before I get out of bed in the morning, on an airplane. Think outside the Body Box! And just so you know, I don’t care who’s watching because I’m doing what I have to do for me #selfcare and who knows, it may spark curiosity and strike up an important conversation and maybe save a life.
I have several of my clients foam roll prior and after a session. They perform mobility patterns prior to training and even incorporate mobility exercises I call resets after a set amount of exercises. There are various types of stretching methods and techniques such as Static, Ballistic, Dynamic, PNF, LPS and each have their place so hire a professional that can assess you and design your program. ..I’ll close with this…Your workout is only as good as your warm up and you have one body so respect it and take care of it. Avoid the Tin Man Syndrome. Leave that to Jack Haley who played that awesome character on one of my all time favorite movies “Wizard of Oz”! And didn’t he have to oil up like a gazillion times to get to Emerald City? And he relied on others to grease him. Hmmmm….food for thought.