“Movement is the only way for joints to maintain health. If you don't move a joint repeatedly, it breaks down. Cartilage doesn't have a good blood supply — it receives nutrients through movement and physically diffusing fluids in. So if joints don't move, they’re not going to stay healthy.” Dr Andreo Spina, Functional Movement Specialist
Your joints — ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows and wrists, as well as the smaller joints in your hands, feet and spine — rely on movement to run smoothly. Movement slows down degeneration and relieves pain and stiffness. And with access to a full range of motion, you’ll be far more supple and agile on the bike. If you want to be a faster, smoother rider — the health of your joints is paramount.
Sensory motor amnesia — “use it or lose it”
Your body is an efficiency machine that adapts to the positions that you spend the most time in, in order to save energy. If you neglect a movement for a certain period of time, you temporarily lose the ability to access that range of movement, neurologically. Therefore, the more you move the more you are able to move and the less you move, the less you are able to move.
Benefits for performance
- Increases agility. - Creates the optimal structural foundation for strong, powerful muscles. - Improves economy of movement, which translates into faster riding speeds. - Improves body control. - Enhances coordination.
Benefits for recovery
- Protects the joints. - Reduces stiffness. - Ease aches and pains. - Reduces fatigue. - Releases tension. - Reduces risk of injury.
Move each joint slowly and carefully, completely avoiding discomfort or pain. The less force and the slower you make the movements, the more effective they’ll be. I've made you some little videos but it's all pretty intuitive.
- Pay attention. In order for maximum neuroplasticity to occur, your need to bring your full attention to the movements. - Breathe. Take long, slow breaths, in and out through your nose, to shift into the parasympathetic “rest and digest” mode. - Posture. Keep your spine straight to optimise breathing. - Release tension. Let go of any unnecessary tension, especially in the neck, jaw and tongue. - Body awareness. Notice the subtle sensations in your body as it responds to the movements. - Smooth it out. Try to make the movements as smooth as possible. My qi gong teacher told me to imagine scraping around the inside of a pan.