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In my family, we do all sorts of different activities and hobbies.
My brother is a painter. He stands on his feet for long periods of time, with his arms out in front of him. He says he constantly deals with kinks in his neck and shoulders, especially on his right side (he’s right handed), and then he’ll definitely get back pain if he’s standing all day. With his painting there’s a lot of focus, tension, and the last thing he wants on his mind, interfering with his creativity, is a kink in the neck or an aching low back.
My mom loves to garden. Whenever I visit her over at her house and she’s gardening, she’s usually down on her hands and knees, crawling around in the dirt, pulling things, twisting. And I know that being in that position can feel like it’s ruining your posture and can put a lot of pressure on your knees, hips and back.
My sister is a home designer and stager. It’s her hobby, but also her business. She stages homes and most of her days consist of moving furniture, hanging artwork, reaching, lifting, carrying. She has told me that a lot of days, it really takes a toll on her back and hips, and she’ll get massive knots in her shoulder blades.
I bet you can somehow relate to this. Maybe you’re an artist, a musician, a quilter, or you love to knit and crochet. Maybe your favorite hobbies intersect with your job, but either way… your body is starting to feel like Quasimodo from the Hunchback of Notre Dame. When your body spends a lot of time in a rounded forward position, working with your hands out in front of you and below, your body starts to become the shape of the letter C. You curve inward and that just hurts.
And with that thought it feels like a piece of you will die.
And I can totally understand that. I asked my brother, the painter, how it would feel for him if he physically couldn’t paint anymore, and he said he would be devastated.
For me, the things I love to do are going for hikes outside, spending time with my horse and horseback riding. These things are therapy for me. It’s in these small moments that I find peace and joy. A small escape from reality. And if I didn’t have the ability to do it anymore it would be heartbreaking.
But, we’re not going to let that happen. I say, if there’s anything within our control that we can do to extend the life of our beloved activities, let’s do it. It’s well worth the moments of intentionality to keep our bodies going and feeling good for as long as possible.
There is a reason that the programs I design - like my Jumpstart 30 program and my Back and Hip Fix program - focus on these things so much. I’m not just trying to help you be in better shape, I want to help you be able to do what you love for years and years to come. That’s the point.
She had been a painter for many, many years, but in the most recent months had developed some nasty hip and low back pain that always seemed to flare up when she started painting. She found me online and started following my videos on Instagram and YouTube. After doing a handful of the instant relief stretches and posture correcting tips, her pain literally disappeared. She was over the moon, because she thought that her days of painting had been numbered.
I’ve heard similar stories from women that sew, that garden, that are musicians, that make jewelry. They find a renewed hope and realize that they will be able to continue to do the things that they love for as long as they want to.
Ok, to wrap up I always like to leave you with one simple action step that you can put into place TODAY.
I gave you a lot of things to implement, but my favorite and the one I want you to try is the cactus arms exercise. Do it 6 times in a row. Inhale as you pull your arms back, exhale as you squeeze them together. Then tell me how it feels. You’re going to love how it feels.
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