Monday, March 3, 2008

Ageless Mobility: More Training for the Joints

I got home from a great day of teaching, after a week off, and found a message that Steve Wolfe would be off snowshoeing again with Bill Morse at the Horse Hill Nature Preserve so I grabbed my gear and headed out immediately to meet these two for a workout in the woods. It was indeed a good day for snowshoe running and we did about 4 miles. When I got home I was happy to open a new package that arrived from

Now you must think I am partly ADD with all the different things I try to get my running form down because here I am with something new to try. I had read that Z-Health may be derived some from Scott Sonnon's Mobility exercises. I may not be correct on this, because there is only a limited amount of information that I have found. So I ordered Scott Sonnon's "Ageless Mobility" DVD to give the two systems some comparison and because I am very curious about what it takes to improve my functioning as an athlete knowing that I have some very serious limitations.

I don't think of myself as old, but my body has been telling me for years that it is not handling exercise the way that it should, so getting something that has "age" in the title seems odd to me on one level. I still think I have the outlook, goals, and enthusiasm of a 20 year old. It is just that, well, things don't seem to work right that often! Next January I will hit 50 years old, it would be great to not only be in the best shape of the past 10-20 years when I do, but to run pain-free and with the stride of someone much younger. If I could, I believe the time goals I would like to reach would be much more easily attainable.

This evening I plopped the DVD in the player and gave it a shot. The program claims that it is a "genetically-programmed sequence of movements, lubricating each joint, one after another, until the entire body becomes fully flushed with nutrition". It says that, "Once each joint is well oiled and ready to move, then soft, flowing yoga movements, easily learned, release the body of chains of tension. This specific process helps prevent daily aches and pain." It sounded good and a bit different than the Z-Health drills that seem to target the joints. This seemed to emphasize the movements, muscles, and connective tissues around the joints.

This is a very well-done DVD and the quality and instructions were easy to follow and well explained. While the Z-Health program started at the feet and worked up this starts at the head and works down. I immediately found the neck mobility drills more intense and it felt like they worked at a much deeper level. Scott Sonnon teaches you how to move and it is easy to get in the correct positions but it is not easy to perform. I do not "work" or feel any tiredness while doing Z-Heath, but this worked muscles and required you to push and keep pushing as long as you could do it correctly and the breathing, which is so important, was always emphasized.

Many of the movements were similar to yoga style movements, but the explanations and instructions left me feeling like I was doing things properly as it literally felt like I was wringing out my body. The movements for the torso: shoulders, back, and hips burned a bit but I felt comfort in the fact that according to the directions I was doing thing correctly and this was how it was supposed to feel. Indeed they felt "good" too, like I was moving "stuck" tissue into proper patterns.

The DVD was a workout, at almost an hour, I think. Whether it just worked me hard, or the combination of teaching, snowshoeing, and stretching left me feeling suddenly tired, but I went from being wired and energetic like I had felt all day to suddenly being calm and tired at the end of the DVD. I plopped down into bed and took a nice long relaxing nap as soon as it was over!

I did like the workout. It was not working on the joints in the same way as Z-Health although many exercises were similar in movement. This seemed to work the tissue around the joints more than the Z-Health which seems to more on the movement of the joint itself, but whatever the similarities and my understanding of both systems I am definitely a beginner in understanding either.

I am hoping I feel just as great from the work tomorrow as I do now and feel it may become another tool in my arsenal. I try to do Z-Health daily as it is quick and easy. This took more time and effort so I may try it once or twice a week. It was recommended as a weekly workout that you can do up to once a day if you choose. If you struggle trying to understand yoga and want something a little more structured and easy to follow that doesn't turn you in to a human pretzel then even from my one viewing I would highly recommend this DVD. I know it won't sit on my "useless" DVD shelf like many other yoga or Pilate's DVDs I have tried do.

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