stretch

Photo of Will Nelson

Some are born lucky. Others are born rich or marry into money. Still others create endless streams of opportunity. And perhaps when we can’t answer yes to the aforementioned, we can easily feel entitled.

But in other ways, the playing field remains level. Certain attributes of the human condition we have control over, starting with the meaning we assign to the events of our life. And yes, positive events lead us to assign more pleasant meanings.

There is enormous manipulation, pursued in the name of profit, to get us thinking about our bodies with a “cattle mentality.” Once we buy into what we “should look like” or otherwise physically function, a host of pills, potions, and remedies are available – close as the nearest Walgreens. And this can be difficult to sort out – the fact from the fiction, the reality from the make-believe.

That said,the body itself reflects a damn good design. Amazing, really.This is due to certain built-in instincts our bodies possess as a way to survive and deal with crisis (lack of food, water, etc.), but also to thrive. Possibly the most thrive-based instinct we have compels us to stretch, stay loose, and basically keep the body mobilized in a relatively pain-free manner.

Now, a lot can affect this ability – injuries, lifestyle, obesity, etc., but we’ve all got a trump card in this particular card game. The body is amazingly self-regulating and self-maintaining. The evidence becomes clear if you simply move your body in a random manner for about a minute or so. You will notice a universal and profound sense of your body taking over. This is different than the traditional movements associated with standing, sitting, walking, driving, texting, etc. Magically your body, not you, initiates safe and effective movements designed to loosen you up and return you to homeostasis. You don’t have to think, just show up.

We only have so much energy to expend each day before we must rest and recover. The more efficiently we expend that energy, the longer it lasts, and frankly, the more effective we are. The body wants to keep itself properly aligned relative to gravity because the body recognizes that moving efficiently in relation to gravity,which is basically any time you’re not lying down, saves energy.

How wonderful if we all had time and motivation to spend an hour at the gym, doing yoga, or what have you. Yet, the plain and wonderful fact of our survival teaches that standing and moving about in a random, non-habitual,manner for about a minute or so activates an instinct as powerful in you as any world-class athlete. This opportunity exists for all of us.

This calls to mind the adage that “less is more.” Just try a few times to stand up, move your body to and fro, shake it a bit back and forth, and raise your arms and legs up and down. Shrug off the stress of the moment. Witness for yourself the magic of your human instinct to stretch and stay loose that is completely unaffected by your economic and/or social status – or anything else. You are human.The instinct to stretch is part of the human condition and quickly becomes automatic once you attempt to access it a few times. People routinely report that getting up and moving about in a random manner loosens them up in ways they never thought possible.

Yes, an hour at the gym, doing a yoga class, or walking around the block after dinner all are wonderful, all helpful. But don’t see them as an all or nothing proposition – your only option for effective self care. Understand that you have an instinct to stretch, and if simply accessed once or twice a day, these movements will make a huge difference. You will feel looser and more comfortable. You can even sit for longer periods without the associated stiffness and loss of range of motion. And if you can get to the gym or a yoga class, or walk the dog, by otherwise doing a little random movement, these activities will prove even more beneficial.

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Image: Photo of Will Nelson provided by Will Nelson.
Will Nelson

Will Nelson

Will Nelson is a Buford resident and his company, Vitalogy.com teaches office workers successful strategies for mind and body. He can be reached at 678-900-0270 or [email protected]