MOVE WELL STUDIO


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A quick announcement on a new workshop series

Can you believe it’s almost December? With two months left before the beginning of the New Year, most people are shopping around for personal trainers, weight loss programs, or if they are not, they are waiting for January to kick them into action so they pick up their exercise program and start eating well again.

When it comes to weight loss and maintaining optimal weight, people use all sorts of tools and tricks to keep their metabolism up – from intense exercise a few times a week to using special foods and supplements to keep their inner ”furnace” going.

Yet, day in and day out, many are frustrated that they don’t get results or that they feel stuck no matter what they do.

I daily talk to clients about how the choices they make in using their body in daily life can have a powerful effect on their metabolic rate.  Choosing specific positions, postures, developing tension habits, or employing certain exercise techniques can actually be standing in the way of optimizing their metabolism.

A couple of my clients suggested that I present this information and teach it more in depth – and my favorite way to do that is in group format. Beginning Nov 20, you will spend the month before Christmas educating yourself on the power of whole body alignment and how you can use it to power up your weight loss plan or to maintain optimal metabolic levels.

There is no better time to educate yourself about the power of movement. There are simple adjustments to your daily activities and they way you connect with your body that can make a huge difference if your goal is to shed some weight or simply to fit in a favorite pair of jeans.

To learn more about this event please read the flyer here!

Thank you, and move well!

Galina

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What’s your walking surface IQ?

This past week I attended advanced training with my mentor and creator of the Restorative Exercise ™ Institute Katy Bowman. We explored many new levels of understanding movement, but I definitely got a much deeper insight into how limited our human experience is due to our environment. Take for example shoes and the surfaces we interact with.

ImageOnce upon a time, we walked on a diverse terrain – over pebbles and paths, rocks, forests, in high grass, on boulders, we might have had to climb over an obstacle or two. Diverse terrain also means different loads to the very mobile architecture of the foot with its 33 joints and more than a 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. This also meant varying loads on the ankle, knee and hip joints – thus tissues were stimulated at different rates, intensities and frequencies.

What’s the opposite of this? Shopping at the mall? Walking around the paved path around a lake in your community? Where does your shoe-protected, stiff, sensory deprived foot get to encounter the symphony of inputs that nature provides? No wonder most of my clients suffer on long walks through the supermarket – once a tissue is overloaded it doesn’t take much of repeating the same stimulus over and over again to aggravate it.

I am saying uniform and manicured terrains are possibly detrimental not because they are uncommon in nature, but because nature provides an endless and unexpected selection of surfaces, while man made everyday walking terrain is the same all the time. Katy provided a great analogy with nutrition – if you know apples are great for you, but all you eat is apples, you still end up deprived of other essential nutrients.

So how do we introduce more walking on uneven surfaces without having to become an island hermit?

Enter playing with different surfaces. Before I continue on, please put your right hand on your heart and repeat after me:

”I will start small.” Nothing to prove here, so please don’t take your Unshoes on a 10 mile lava rock hike.

1. Experience a less constructed shoe – you can go for minimal footwear and wear your shoes on a natural terrain instead of pavement. It can be a path in the woods or a hilly part of your local park. Notice how your toes move, how the front or side part of your foot deform over rocks, pebbles and other small obstacles in your path. Notice if your step has become lighter, how your heel contacts the ground, how your body is making changes to the position of the foot.

2. Once you have experienced a more minimalist shoe try some walking barefoot around your home and your garden. Notice if you step differently. Notice if your ankles, knees and hips are adjusting differently to your steps.

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3. Go on a short uneven terrain walk – do this in a less constructed shoe, and if you are experienced, in a very minimalist shoe.  Observe how you adapt to the challenges of the terrain. Do your feet feel different after? How fast or slow were you going?

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For the very advanced, take one minimal shoe and one bare foot for a walk. What’s different left to right? Are you noticing a lot more sensation with the bare foot. How does one side of your body feel compared to the other?

You can do these uneven terrain exercises for short periods of time at first until you are ready to brave a longer exploration. Start with 10-15 minutes and slowly progress. Remember to be gentle with yourself – a return to the natural shape and fitness level of your feet will take a while.

To accelerate the process of beefing up your feet and making them look like the bodybuilders they are designed to be, read Katy’s ‘‘Every woman’s guide to foot pain relief’‘? You can grab it on Amazon or borrow it from my lending library at the studio if you are local.

p.s. Most lava rock walks were done in Vibram 5 fingers, Adipure and New Balance Minimus. Some less fortunate walks were done in Sockwa shoes – we were not quite up for the challenge of sharp rock vs Sockwa.


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A new way to use your chair

Most people sit on chairs, and never think that they can be a useful tool to get healthy.

A lof of health complaints can be blamed on a chair – anything from hip and low back pain, to problems with digestion and breathing, concentration and productivity.

The 90/90 position that chairs, couches and cars put us in cause chronic tension and shortening in all anatomical lines of the body, but the back line takes the biggest beating – from your plantar fascia, through the calves, hamstrings, low back – to the upper back, neck and temples, your body tightens, oxygen delivery worsens, tissues suffer and stiffen and when you get up from your chair or go and try to work out, your low back, hips, knees and feet may start to scream.

To make it worse, many people wear shoes that cause additional stiffening of the back line – any positive heel, a few mm to a few inches, can make matters worse. If you are into sports, sitting is fatal to performance, as it worsens your ability to store elastic energy, making jumping, and even sprinting and running, poor. Any bending forward movements that require hinging at the hip, are affected and movement patterns become dysfunctional and painful, leading to injury and long breaks from training.

How about other complaints like constipation, indigestion, pelvic pain, incontinence, breathing difficulties or inability to concentrate? Sitting may be involved here as well.

How about the ladies, who want to have a nice round shape to their glutes? Impossible if you are sitting on them all day. In my Neurokinetic Therapy ™ work, I often find the glutes unable to perform, and the calves extremely stiff and unable to yield to a stretch.

To undo some of the damage of sitting, I am offering you two super simple versions of the ”double calf stretch”. You can do it anywhere and make your chair a weapon of health instead of a weapon of destruction.

Double calf stretch for beginners

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Stand in front of a chair. Place your feet at hip width. Point your feet straight forward with the outside edges of your feet straight. That means that the outside of your foot will be parallel to the edge of your yoga mat. Straighten your knees. Start to slowly bend forward at the hips, making sure your low back stays neutral. Only go as far as you can move your tailbone up without flexing your low back. Support your hands on the chair. You will feel a stretch in your calves, the backs of your knees, your hamstrings or your glutes – everyone feels a different stretch. Hold for a minute and repeat 2-3 times.

For an extra challenge: check with the tension in your quads by relaxing your knee caps.  You should be able to drop them loose during the stretch. Next, externally rotate your femurs so that the backs of your knees are pointing straight back. This may lift your arches.  How about that?

Double calf stretch for the advanced user

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Use a mirror to make sure that you can do the above version of the stretch so well that your tailbone is parallel to the floor. If you can do that it’s time to add a level of excitement to the stretch. This time you will step on a rolled up towel or half dome and place the balls of your feet on top and the outside edges of your feet straight at hip width. This will ensure a deeper stretch. Again, keep the knees straight as you bend forward at the hips, keeping the low back neutral. Hold for a minute and repeat 2-3 times.

For an extra challenge: check with the tension in your quads by relaxing your knee caps.  You should be able to drop them loose during the stretch. Next, externally rotate your femurs so that the backs of your knees are pointing straight back. This may lift your arches and place more weight on the outside of the feet.  You are welcome!

Move well and see you soon!

Galya