Remember when you were a kid. Forged of rubber and balsa wood, injuries were either short lived or barely noticed in the pursuit of fun. From the perfect squat while your still learning how to walk to dad powered g-forces as your swung around by a single arm, your childhood body was a supple, elastic, strong masterpiece of genetic wonder….and then we grow up.
Where once there was a supple leopard, now lies an ailing puma. Touching your toes has long since become a dream of the past, and getting up off the floor requires 3 points of contact and a nearby railing for moral support. On top of all this, once you pass 30 you start to heal like Betty White instead of Wolverine. One can’t help but ask, “what the hell happened?!”
Let’s shift gears a bit. Remember grade school, and the insufferable misery of sitting still in a desk for 6-8 hours a day. How about high school and college, when you spent hour after hour doing your best Quasimodo impersonation over a pile of books. Not mention the adult years…with most of us averaging 1-2 hours a day slouched behind the wheel of a vehicle. Beginning to see a pattern?
The human body is an incredibly efficient machine. Maintaining tissue flexibility is expensive. The body runs on a strict, ‘use it or lose it’ system, with more blood and growth goodies (like hormones) going to tissues that see more use. Connective tissues like tendons and ligaments do not even have their own blood supply, relying instead on the compression and vascularity of surrounding tissues for the supply of oxygen and nutrients necessary for maintenance. So without a force input (like movement, or stretching) the body has no stimulus for keeping tissues supple and strong. With continued disuse fascia and muscle begin to stick together, and scar tissue forms around our joints until we move like the Tin man in a sand storm.
Thankfully, time is on our side. Mere minutes of stretching can correct hours of inactivity and an hour of soft tissue work can fix weeks of adhesion. Even just moving each joint through its full range of motion 1-2 times per day for a few seconds will stave off tightness and preserve your current level of flexibility well into the golden years. The better you use your stuff (your limbs, muscles, joints,ect.) the better that stuff will get. All it takes is mindful practice a few times a week.
Let’s take a look at a few easy examples you can incorporate into your daily lives…
- For every hour spent hunched over at a desk, take 5 minutes and move around, stretch a little, fidget, in the beginning any movement will do, just get out of that chair!
- Superset active stretches or mobility movements with your lifts during your training sessions. A good example here is adding a set of hip thrusts in between each set of bench press.
- Instead of sitting on the couch during tv time, try some light stretching, or better yet, get a foam roller and workout those tight spots.
- Attend a fitness and wellness class (free with your gym membership) like yoga or mobility and learn how to maintain your joints from one of our expert coaches.
Michael "Joe" O'Leary, CPT
Community Wellness Coach
USAW Sports Performance Coach - USAW
Certified Personal Trainer – ISSA
CrossFit Level One - CrossFit
FRC Mobility Specialist - Functional Anatomy Seminars
Certified Youth Trainer – ISSA
Specialist in Fitness Nutrition – ISSA
Senior Fitness Specialist – ISSA
Exercise Therapy Specialist – ISSA
Specialist in Strength & Conditioning – ISSA
MovNat Certified Trainer, Level 1, Level 2, & Combatives - MovNat
Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach - BioForce HRV
Primal Health Coach - Primal Blueprint
Joe is originally from Ely, Nevada but grew up in Rawlins, Wyoming. He found his way to Laramie for two reasons, to complete a Pre-Med Physiology degree at the University of Wyoming, and to climb. Joe has an Associate's Degree in Exercise Science with an emphasis in Personal Training and is working toward his B.S. in Human Physiology. He plans to further his education by "crushing the MCATS" then attending medical school in Seattle, Washington through the WWAMI program. Joe is a highly trained coach with diverse certifications such as; ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Senior Fitness Specialist, Exercise Therapy Specialist, Certified Youth Trainer, and Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is also a USAW Sports Performance Coach (level 1), FRC Mobility Specialist, MovNat Certified Trainer (level 1, level 2, and combatives), CrossFit Level One coach, and Primal Health Coach. Joe has many notable achievements related to his coaching background and hobbies. He served as USAW Marshal for the American Open in 2015, the largest American weightlifting meet in history, as well as successfully integrated a strength training program into a Multiple Sclerosis treatment regime. Additionally, he has summited Gannett Peak, Mt. Elbert, and Mt. St. Helens. Obviously, in his free time Joe enjoys rock climbing, backpacking and mountaineering, but he also enjoys, snowboarding, Parkour, and archery. In the future he plans to; summit every 14er in Colorado, climb every pitch at Vedauwoo, summit every peak in the High Cascades, Practice medicine in Laramie or Jackson Hole, summit Denali, backpack South America, summit K2, and die happy. Joe is excited to be a part of the Altitude Fitness team because he "always relishes the opportunity to work with Wyoming athletes. Add to that, Altitude Fitness is one of the nicest facilities open to the general population in the country and I consider it a privilege to be offered the opportunity to coach here."