Habit 1. Drink More Water
Besides helping us stay alive, adequate hydration ensures that our connective tissue is healthy, allowing us to move in a variety of ways. How much water should you drink? While 6-8 glasses is the recommended norm, it turns out that this number is completely arbitrary. Eight glasses per day might be a good start if you’re not even getting that, but we would like to provide you with a more scientific approach that accounts for your individual size.
If you want to make the most of your body and live a pain-free life, hydration is non-negotiable. The homework we give to every single client after a Fascial Stretch Therapy session is to stay hydrated. This ensures they are making the most of the wonderful body work they have received and sets them up for pain-free living. We really can’t stress enough how important it is to get your body hydrated and to keep it that way. If you live in a state of chronic dehydration (Lord have mercy…), it messes with your fascia and will likely result in some sort of pain.
Habit 2. Stretch Your Fascia.
Your fascia (the interconnected connective tissue surrounding your entire body including your brain, organs, and muscles) reacts to all stress - physical, mental and emotional - by tightening and stiffening. If your fascia is too tight, it can restrict your body’s ability to function and move properly.
Ways you can stretch your fascia include:
Self-release techniques (e.g. foam rolling properly) Here’s an example
Habit 3. Sit Less
Sitting down for hours at a time does a number on your posture and the function of your joints. We’ve come to learn that sitting compresses your spine while simultaneously shutting off the motor control of your intrinsic core. Generally, it results in the loss of ankle, hip and thoracic mobility which can cause knee, back and shoulder/neck pain.
Ways to restore your posture from sitting include:
Getting up and moving frequently (e.g. taking a break every 30 minutes)
Investing in a stand-up desk
Sitting on the edge of your chair with mindful posture instead of slouching
Receiving regular body work like massage or Fascial Stretch Therapy
Paying attention to your body
Habit 4. Learn the Basic Movements (so you can use correct form and technique throughout the day)
From sitting, to gardening, to moving boxes, or even carrying groceries—using correct form and technique throughout the day will not only help you feel and move better, but also prevent injuries. If you desire to move well and live pain-free— you must learn how to sit, walk, hinge, squat and stabilize your body with a neutral spine. Taking the time to be aware of your breath and using proper form when moving (and even sitting) can help you feel better and prevent injuries.
Habit 5. Learn How To Breathe
You take 22,000 plus breaths per day without even realizing it. Breathing is our only movement pattern at rest or sleep. So what happens if your breathing is dysfunctional (which I guarantee it is)? Well, what would happen if you squatted 22,000 times per day and that movement was dysfunctional? Probably a lot of compensation to get the job done. You get this, right?
Many people don’t realize that the way we breathe has a significant effect on posture and mobility. Many of us have unknowingly (due to stress, illness, injury, etc.) adopted a chest-oriented breathing pattern that pulls our rib cage forward and up, compromising the function of the diaphragm. If your diaphragm is dysfunctional then pain is not far away.
If you don’t own your breath, your body will compensate by recruiting the chest, neck and upper back muscles to act as prime movers when they are supposed to simply be accessory muscles to the breath. This is one of the causes of slumped posture that makes the body less efficient for these muscles to perform their primary roles (like pushing, pulling and allowing you to be super strong). If you learn to breathe you can master any movement and say bye-bye to pain.