Two weeks ago I took a weekend course hosted by the awesome Perry Nickelston. The course was by far the most fun I have had learning, I laughed a lot but was also educated on how owning ground movement is so important. When we’re on the ground we feel safe, gravity isn’t there to bring us down, we have no reason to feel vulnerable to the possibility of hurting ourselves by falling over. Yet in this carefree state if we cannot own basic movement patterns, then how can we possibly own them on two feet? I’ll let you in on a small secret… the majority of us do not! So what do we do? We compensate of course. Now there was shed loads of brain candy on this course and I would urge anyone interested in movement to take it, however what stuck with me most from this wonderful experience was this, as we grow older our ability to go to the floor and get back up becomes highly compromised. Sounds riveting I know, we were learning how your big toe can cause pain in your opposite shoulder, how your eyes alter movement patterns…. yet the idea of getting down to the floor becoming harder as you get older (something that I was already well aware of) was the thing I remember the most. I’m a simple man and this is a simple concept, but something that is very, very often overlooked. I hope you too can find the joy in it’s simplicity.
Be Prepared for Your Boxing Match
In modern society we can easily go decades without ever placing our entire body on the ground, we get out of bed, go sit watch TV, go to work sit at a desk come home and sit and watch more TV before going to bed. As we get older we find it hard to get up and down off the ground so therefore are even less likely to make total contact with it, however what age group are most likely to trip and fall? Imagine this, someone tells you that without warning you will be thrown in to a boxing match and you ask the person ‘well can I at least train for it?’ and they reply ‘no of course not you’re too old to be learning to box!’ Well I am telling you you’re never too old to learn how to box and you’re sure as hell never too old to learn how to go to the ground and get back up.
Why is going to the Ground so Important?
A study by Brazilian researchers (Brito et al, 2012) monitoring 2000 people over the age of 50 for six years scored participants out of 10 on their ability to sit to the floor and then get back up, if a participant scored a 4 or below they were 6.5 times more likely to die in the next six years! Now Perry (the gentlemen taking the course) was very jovial the entire weekend but this one statement was the only truly serious one I can remember him making and rightly so, he said ‘most therapists turn and say to me I can’t have my 80 year old clients getting up and down off the floor, to which he always replies they’re the ones who need to most!’ Now think about this, how many elderly people do you know that had a fall and never recovered from it? Our powers of regeneration as we age are less so, there is no denying that, but then ask yourself, previous to that fall when was the last time that person had been on the ground?
The Stand to Ground Test
The test used in the experiment is simple enough. Each participant started with a score of 10 and every time they place a hand or a knee to the ground before sitting on their bum they lost 1 point, and the same applied for getting up, for example if they needed two hands to get down to the floor then two hands to get back up their final score would be a 6. Now if you’re going to try this I don’t want people face planting to get a low score, be sensible and do whatever comes naturally. If you score below 4 try for the next ten days to simply and safely get down to the floor, sit on your bum and back up again ten times per day, then retake the challenge and see if you can beat your previous score.
How to Progress
If you’re already at a 4 or above then there are some kick ass standing to ground movements you can do to improve your rotation patterns that really get the heart rate pumping, nervous system working and core muscles firing. Place your right hand just above your right knee,and simply go to the ground, lie on your back and get back up, let your brain figure out ways to get down and back up. After a while your nervous system will learn the most efficient way for you and voila you’ve just created a new motor program. You can mix this up, experiment, place your hand on the opposite knee or on your bottom, find what you’re capable of and what you struggle with and practice, this quite literally could be adding years to your life as well as integrating muscles that may have been long down regulated or under used.
What if you are still Struggling?
If you’re still finding it hard to improve your score then get in touch, we can work through what might be restricting you and give you some fantastic ground based correctives to improve your movement and your brains relationship to your body.
If you’re suffering in pain or wish to improve your movement / running technique then contact Ben Fedrick Injury Therapy today using the following details:
Brito LBB, Ricardo DR, Araujo DSMS, et al. Ability to sit and rise from the floor as a predictor of all-cause mortality. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention, 2012