Friday, December 14, 2018
Unless something changes dramatically, your body is your one guaranteed relationship for life. And your relationship with your body will have a direct effect on how well you live, and quite frankly, how long you live.
To that end, many of us invest a great deal of effort in improving our relationships with our bodies. Here are three integrated modalities that anyone can participate in to get the maximum return on that investment.
We often conflate pain or difficulty moving with age or injury, but it’s not just the passage of time or what happens to our bodies, it’s also how we spend that time and what we fail to do with our bodies. Our bodies are designed for movement. But when we forget to practice being mobile, or even make a practice of being immobile, we lose the ability to move freely, powerfully, and painlessly through the world.
Activity can be any combination of time in the gym, working with a trainer, hiking a trail, taking a yoga class, lifting weights, or doing body-weight training. The requirement is that you move the body in a challenging way.
Activities that are properly designed and performed should not lead to injury, so we’re not talking about recovering from damage here. But any demand – physical, mental, emotional – requires time, place, and intention to rest and recover. Whether you’re a performance athlete or the average citizen experiencing average stresses on the body, brain, and mind, you’ll want to incorporate practices like mindfulness or mediation, leisure time spent in nature, and good sleep and rest cycles to be refreshed and ready for the next challenge.
It’s tempting to think of massage therapy as a relaxing “reward” for performing a demanding activity, or only part of the recovery process. But somatic therapy, which includes massage, guided stretching, and movement therapy, can not only help you relax and recover, but can also increase your body’s performance. Your therapist can work with you to design a plan based on the demands you’re putting on your body, symptoms of strain, stress, or tension, and the goals you’ve set for what your body will do for you as you move through the world.
Like Activity and Recovery, Therapy should be a consistent part of your routine to reach your highest potential.
Not only are these three modalities key to being in a better relationship with your body, they also have one other thing in common; they activate the nervous system. And your nervous system, as I explain in this article in Thrive Global Magazine, is one of your “Secret Weapons” to slow the aging process. Utilizing all three modalities together really can keep you healthier, happier, and even younger – in your body and your mind.
- Philip Penrose CST Licensed Massage Therapist