May 25, 2018

How Often Do You Change Your Movement Patterns?

Summer is here, it’s time to play!

When we watch kids play, we see them fall and bounce back up, climb things and swing on swing sets and tree branches. Run, cut, jump, swing repeat. Many of us are not in a place where we could step right in behind the kids and do all that they do, but perhaps we can put a little play back into our day?

How Do You Move?

UW Health Sports Medicine Fitness Center staff suggest taking a few moments to think about the movements that you make and ask yourself a few questions:

How often do I vary my movement patterns?

If you work out in a fitness facility or have a workout program, when is the last time you revamped your program? Time flows past quickly, has it been 6 months plus since you changed your exercises? Do you always walk the same route, sit in the same chairs, always do the same stretches in the same pattern?

Does your program have you working in all different directions of movement?

Typical exercise programs involve a lot of forward motion, including walking, biking, treadmills, elliptical machines and strength training equipment like row, chest press and leg press.

Do you move up and down, backwards, sideways, over and under things and twist?

Does the movement you do daily add to your freedom of movement or add to movement restriction? Do you work on faster and slower movements?

Do you feel like you are attaining reasonable movement and health goals?

Would a change in the way you move or the amount you move support your well-being? Do you move better then you did 6 months or a year ago?

Most adults are not physically able to keep up with a pack of grade school kids, but we can expand our physical movement diet. If you are a member of UW Health's Research Park Fitness Center, talk to staff about changing up your exercise program. If you have a movement coach, talk with your coach about a goal and a progression to reach that goal. You can also try an exercise class and have our knowledgeable instructors give you weekly variety and appropriate challenge.

Add New Movement to your Daily Activities

You can also challenge yourself to add a new movement to your daily activities and practice it for a few weeks or month and see how you make progress.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Doorway Touches

  • Every time you walk through a doorway reach out or up and touch a different spot on the door frame.

  • Reach up and touch the top of the door with right hand, left hand or both hands.

  • Tap the door by the left knee, right ankle. Touch the right door frame with the left hand. See how they each challenge your body differently.

  • Getting Up

  • Practice getting up and down from the floor. Start by a sturdy chair so you can use it for assistance.

  • Try different ways of getting up. Work on minimizing how much you use your hands.

  • See how it is different in your body to lead with the right side versus the left side.

  • Climbing Stairs

  • Climb up or down the stairs leading with the non-preferred lead leg

  • Climb up or down the stairs sideways, either with sidestep or cross over step, or backwards

  • Use stairs or different heights of a safe ottoman or step stool to work on sit to stand

  • Step Up Your Walk

  • Next time you walk with a friend, spend a few minutes altering your walking patterns, one at a time walking backwards or sideways, or circle around your friend

  • Turn your walk into a parkour walk. Step up/down on curb, tap your foot on a picnic table bench or a rock (alternate feet), walk up and down a hill, walk on the slope of hill (horizontally on the slope) or add some old-fashioned calisthenics.

  • Pick up an appropriate size rock, carry it 10 - 20 steps and put it back.

  • Find a pole or swing set, pretend to climb it, using your arms to pull you up (even if your feet never leave the ground!)

  • Find Balance

  • When standing in line at a store, try working on your balance by standing on one leg

  • Use a 2x4 on the floor to walk on as a balance beam

  • Use a belt, rope or 2x4 on the floor to step forwards /backwards or sideways over

  • Roll up a towel (and wrap tape around it to hold it) and practice balancing on it

  • Mix It Up

  • When you get up from a chair get up and down 5 times

  • Push a shopping cart with one arm

  • Try doing an activity opposite handed (brush your teeth, sweep, etc.)

  • Do 5 push-ups on a counter top - both arms or do a single arm push up

Have some fun and choose to move!

UW Health Services

Fitness Center

Sports Medicine

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