To experience change you've got to step out of your comfort zone and break out of your routine. We are creatures of habit. And that includes our postures. What we do physically on a daily basis defines what becomes of our bodies.
A number of the people I see suffer from chronic tightness that can lead to pain or simply lack of range of motion. What do they need to do to alleviate this, or see improved flexibility? Move! However, we cannot just move willy nilly, or repeatedly do the same workout in order to burn calories and stay in shape. Our bodies were designed to move in a number of directions, and to stay balanced and limber, we need to ensure all of our workouts lead us through every direction possible.
The spine needs to move in flexion (rounding), extension (arching), lateral flexion (side bending) and rotation (twisting). The joints too need to move in every direction they are able to. Joe Pilates said: "A man is as young as his spinal column". If we are unable to move our spine and our bodies, at the young age of 30 in every direction it should be able to move in, we are old for our age. Look carefully at the pictures of Joe working out on his Wunda Chair. Notice the various planes of motion he takes his body through.
Think of the average desk job person's working day: 8 - 10 hours of sitting, most likely in front of a computer, head forward looking at the screen, shoulders stooped as arms bent at the elbows to place hands on keyboard. Hips and knees bent. Spine rounded forwarded. What muscles hold up this person's body? Which muscles are inhibited from engaging in this posture?
And what of the active person who hits the gym to run on the treadmill for an hour and lift weights, or join the Spin class for maximum calory burn? Are they moving their bodies in every direction? Are they supporting their spine with stomach pulled in? Are they doing an extension exercise for every flexion one? Are they even stretching sufficiently to restore proper muscle length after such a workout?
It is not enough to just move! We must move our bodies mindfully and in a balanced way.True strength does not come from how much we can bench press or how long we can run. It comes from having a body that can handle as much pull as push, as much muscle length as muscle contraction and force.
So remember, if you want to experience change in your bodies in 2014, you're going to have to get a little uncomfortable (maybe a lot) and devote as much time to stretching as you are to strengthening. And don't repeatedly strengthen the same muscle groups over and over. That leads to imbalance and tightness which can lead to injury. Remember: for every movement in one direction, do one in the opposite. For every push, a pull.