By Laurie Sweig
Here’s a truth for you: Any movement that you are not doing now you will not be able to do in the future. One example is getting down to the floor and back up again. Now, let’s use the definition of comfort zone: A place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress. If that’s the case the question becomes, does the thought of doing this movement, or another movement, create a level of discomfort for you? If it does it’s a great place to start pushing some boundaries.
There is a fear associated with moving outside the comfort zone. Staying within the comfort zone is a great place to be, but sometimes accidents happen that force us out there and we’re not prepared. Situations like that often lead to injury and pain. There’s nothing comfortable about that. If we go back to our example of being on the ground we’ll likely see that the fear of being on the ground is having the ability to stand up again.
One of the activities I absolutely love doing with my clients is having them get down to the floor and back up. This is a huge undertaking for some so we break it down a little at a time. It is a very individual process. Some people can only get down part way so we start with what they can do by using a footstool to kneel on while holding on to something secure.
Gradually, as their bodies become more mobile they get closer and closer to the ground (pillows are a useful tool at this stage). The resistance of gravity makes them stronger for the getting up process. Bit by bit as their bodies adapt the comfort zone boundary moves out.
This progressive method can be used for just about any physical adaptation. It does start with figuring out where your limits are. From there you push them out a little at a time. I have found sitting on the floor has become increasingly comfortable for me. I have noticed that when I get up I always roll to the left. My body is much more agile on that side. To push myself I’m forcing myself to move right. It’s nowhere near as easy (comfortable) to do that but I feel slight improvements happening.
People who train for sporting events are constantly pushing a comfort zone. Still there are always areas of improvement. Moving our bodies in every single direction they were meant to move should be our ongoing goal if we want to be able to move like that for the rest of our lives. Sure, aging makes it more challenging. In some ways I can’t do what I did 10 years ago but because I’m working on other movements I’m now more flexible than I was back then. I can now touch my toes. That has never happened before in my life. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Take some time this week to challenge your physical movement. In addition to stretching the limits of your body you will also be using your brain differently. That’s two benefits with one activity.
Next week we look at pushing the boundaries when it comes to nutrition. Yum.
Something to think about
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal fitness trainer and spinning instructor. She owns and operates The Point for Fitness. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.