Let’s face it…we live in a society of convenience. We have drive thrus, microwaves, texting, internet, etc. If we can do it with less effort, 9 times out of 10, we will. The same applies to our activity throughout the day. When is the last time that you squatted down? As in fully squatted down to see how much your knees can bend? Or touched your toes? Or reached as high as you can above your head. Unfortunately, the majority of us aren’t doing these motions on a daily basis and like the old adage says…..if you don’t use it, you lose it.
I was stretching out one of our male patients the other day and noticed that he has a lot of flexibility in his legs. I commented on how he is one of the most flexible male patients that we have and he started to explain why. As part of his religion, 5 times a day he does some really active moves while praying. His family also doesn’t use chairs to sit in for meals at home. Moving and sitting on the floor has helped to keep his legs very flexible and mobile.
I had read the book ‘Blue Zones’ awhile ago and highly recommend it. The book focuses on areas of the world that have the most people that live over 100 years old. One of the habits that they had in common was more movement and less reliance on convenience. A handful of cultures don’t use chairs to sit on and instead use cushions. I see a lot of middle aged folks have a hard time sitting on the floor and getting back up without some effort. In cultures that sit on cushions, it’s not uncommon for the elderly to have no issues doing that at all.
Think about what you do during the day? Can you start to incorporate more movement and bending and stretching? While getting a pan from the bottom cupboard, instead of just bending over, squat down. Your back and legs will thank you!
– Dr. Cait