January 21, 2024

Motion Is Lotion & Rest Is Rust: Why Movement Is Medicine For Joints And Muscles

 
Just before taking off on our two-week holiday break, I was bending over and getting something out of our dryer, like I’ve done a million times before. I must have been using awkward form because I tweaked a muscle in in my lower back. I’m a pretty tough cookie, but I gotta say, the pain took the wind out of my normally perky sails. It was painful!

After being certain it was a muscle strain versus a spine disc issue (Phew!), I was able to gently stretch, massage, and ice the injured muscle little by little every day, all day, over the break. 

Back strains can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to heal, but with my 4x-a-week Mojo HIIT classes, my muscles are used to adapting and recovering quickly, so I was back to myself and teaching in just two weeks with zero pain. Because of the resulting scar tissue from the injury, I am still a little tight in that area, but I continue to stretch daily to get it back to 100%. 

The reason I am sharing this (very) tedious story is that the average person’s reaction to a painful muscle or joint discomfort is to load up on Ibuprofen, rest, and wait for it to heal on its own. Don’t do it! This type of thinking is yet another prime example of how we age ourselves. 

Whatever your injury or ailment – arthritis, knee weaknesses, or muscle strains – waiting for your injury to heal and loosen up in time is like leaving a machine broken. 

In reality, you need a magical potion to bring it back to life…And that potion is the gift of motion – gentle, targeted movements that help unlock our recovery and get back to your youthful, energized self. 

If you’re in pain, exercising may seem counterintuitive (an unappealing) Here’s why motion is lotion to any injury…

1. Rest Can Lead to Rust:

Think of muscles and tendons like springs. Inactivity makes them stiff and weak, just like a spring left unused for too long. Gentle movement, like stretching and light exercise, keeps the “lotion” flowing, lubricating the joints and promoting flexibility. 

2. Inflammation Needs Circulation:

When we get injured, our body sends in inflammation to heal the tissues. But just like stagnant water breeds mosquitoes, stagnant inflammation can worsen the pain. Gentle movement helps pump out the inflammatory gunk and brings in fresh, healing nutrients.

3. Confidence Comes from Competence:

Sitting on the sidelines can make us feel helpless and out of control. But when we start moving again, even in small ways, we regain a sense of confidence and control over our body. This mental boost can be just as important as the physical benefits for a speedy recovery.

4. Motion is Medicine:

Heart-pumping movement releases endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers. It also improves blood flow, and brings oxygen and nutrients to the injured area to accelerate healing. 

Our bodies are designed to move. With the right care and guidance, anyone can overcome stiffness, soreness, and even injuries, and get back to doing what you love, pain-free…But you gotta do the work. 

Mayo Clinic: Exercising with Arthritis

Feeling tired and achy? Keep moving! Lack of exercise has been attributed as one of the leading causes of disease and inflammation. Doctors agree that low-impact aerobic exercise will give you results and so much more

  • Strengthens the muscles around your knees
  • Helps weight control – Every pound gained puts approximately 3 to 10 pounds of pressure on your knees. 
  • Maintain bone strength 
  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • boost self-esteem

Here are some tips for getting started:

    • Listen to your body: Don’t push through pain, but don’t avoid all movement either. Find a comfortable balance.
    • Start slow and gentle: Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or yoga are great starting points.
    • Seek professional guidance: A physical therapist can help you modify an exercise regimen to help you recover safely and effectively.
    • Don’t forget the rest and nourishment: Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and manage stress to create a favorable environment for healing.

You are not a machine waiting to be fixed. You are a resilient being capable of incredible healing. Embrace the power of motion, listen to your body, and watch as your stiffness and soreness melt away – replaced by strength, flexibility, and the joy of movement.

Had to share…A word from Jayne Funk, Lehigh Nebraska 
(Btw, this gorgeous view is her back yard)

One of our most resilient virtual friends, Jayne Funk, is from Lehigh, Nebraska. She is a nurse and a grandmother many times over. She is a passionate 3 or 4x a week, low impactLIVEstream friend. A few years ago, Mojo helped her through her knee replacement surgery. She was kind enough to share a few words about her Mojo virtual journey…

In rural USA, there are not a lot of options as far as live classes to choose from. I own millions of DVDs from Leslie Sansone, Jessica Smith, Body Pump, etc but nothing spoke to me. What makes workouts sustainable for me is the music. I can do anything if the music is good. I’d been searching for a while before I stumbled across Mojo Fitness workouts on FB. I signed up for the free week and it only took one session before I joined and I’ve never looked back. I modify moves that work for me and just enjoy the music. Most days that hour flies by. Your members motivate me, especially members my age. I love watching the interactions between ladies and I do wish I could have that. Just the energy of the class keeps me going. Cindy, Laura, Haidee, Gema and the rest of the crew make me feel like I’m really there…

And you ARE with us, my friend! Looking forward to getting your energy, in person, again soon! 

You will never be younger than you are at his moment, but you do have control over how healthy, young and vibrant you live your life. 

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