Shouldering my Shoulders

The shoulders are a fascinating complex! We certainly take them for granted and expect them to do as we wish: driving, carrying groceries, picking up kids, typing, grabbing food from the shelf, reaching from something in the back of the car, drinking a glass of wine, washing our hair, weight lifting [any form of exercise for that matter] and the list goes on.

When we get a twinge in the shoulder we tend to cOoKiE cUt the issue blaming it on a particular muscle and giving it a specific mobilization, treatment, and/or exercise. “I will stretch the pec minor because that’s the problem”. That’s great! I do it too. In fact, I do it a lot because it can absolutely help! I would just like to add one more piece of vital information about the shoulders. Natural, whole body movement is a necessity and requirement to “reset”, “restore” and ultimately provide “lifelong health” to our shoulders.

The brilliant ancient movement of walking is the answer Yes, by walking everyday your shoulders will feel the love. It takes more than a few days! You need patience and persistence. The contralateral movement of the arms set the perfect amount of balance between lengthening and strengthening the tissues around the shoulders. Repeated again in a different way: The natural swing of the arms allows the use of your shoulders as designed in perfect harmony.

“But I hate walking!” I can relate. You wouldn’t catch me dead in high school walking. I was a runner and I would do anything but walk: rollerblade, skate, run, bus, hop, skip, skateboard. Actually, I didn’t start really ‘walking’ until my 30’s because I didn’t believe it served me any purpose. If only I could go back in time… I would make sure to incorporate walking as part of my daily activities not only for my own better body movement including my shoulders but also to help with sport recovery. It truly is incredible!

Note: There is a caveat regarding walking. It means you do it with the appropriate shoes (no high heels), nothing in the hands or arms (no leashes, no loved ones hands, no waterbottles or iPods), no bouncing up and down, no race walking. It is simply your arms swinging normally, as in ‘au naturel’ with no frills. One day you can walk 10 minutes and another day 80 minutes. You can do 5 X 5 minutes or 5 hours straight (although I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t done the lead up). Also think about varying the environment for the feet and body (hills, flats, grass, sand, pavement, track, rocks, etc). Have fun!