The 3’s – Slower, Smaller, Softer

In my restorative movement classes, it typically takes folks 3 – 5 classes to start to get a sense of the rhythm of the movement. We often use music to help people get a sense of the relaxed, slow pace. But inevitably, there are always folks who are sure that they will get faster results by moving faster, bigger, and with more intensity, no matter what I say.

Culturally we have been trained to believe that if we have some, more is better.

If some is good, more must be better, right?

In our culture, we are so accustomed to messages that tell us that bigger, taller, and faster is better. We need more of this, that, and the other. A quarter-pound hamburger is good. Surely the half-pound must be better. We supersize everything from our food to our houses, in a futile attempt to satisfy our emotional needs and wants.

We dream of the life we would have with more money and things. But we must realize it is only a dream. Have you noticed that the more you get the more you think you want? For most of us, acquisitiveness is a never-ending cycle. When we get something, the pleasure only lasts for a moment or two. And then we move on to the next thing.

The western culture’s message of faster, bigger, and harder can create problems for our health because it can lead to increased risk of injury, greater stress on our bodies, and decreased ability to focus on proper posture and movement technique. By contrast, restorative movement practices encourage slower, smaller, and softer movements, which can help to reduce the risk of injury, improve body awareness and control, and promote relaxation and overall well-being.

All restorative movement practices have some common characteristics. For me, one of the most interesting things is that pretty much all of the techniques encourage participants to move more slowly, in a smaller range of motion, and with less intensity.

Slower

There are many benefits of exercising slowly. Some of these benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of injury. When you exercise slowly, you give your body time to adapt to the movement. This can help to reduce the risk of injuries such as muscle strains and ligament tears.
  • Improved muscle control. Slow, controlled movements help you to develop better control over your muscles. Muscles are controlled by feedback loops between the brain and the body. Improves the signals between the body and the brain. This can be helpful for activities such as sports and dancing.
  • Increased flexibility. Slow, gentle stretching can help to increase your range of motion and improve your flexibility.
  • Reduced stress. Slow, mindful movement can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help to improve your sleep quality.
  • Improved mood. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Slow exercise can be a great way to improve your mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • Increased energy levels. Movement can help to increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue.
  • Improved sleep quality. Exercise can help you to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • Weight loss or maintenance. Slow, steady exercise can help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases. Staying active has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.

Exercising more slowly can have numerous benefits, such as reducing the risk of injury and allowing for better focus on form and technique. It can also help to build strength and endurance over time. Additionally, moving more slowly can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, making it a great choice for restorative movement practices.

Smaller

Exercising in a smaller range of motion can also have many benefits. It can be gentler on the joints and tissues, reducing the risk of injury. It is also a great way to focus on specific areas of the body and build strength and control in those areas. Finally, moving in a smaller range of motion allows for a greater degree of precision and can help to improve overall body awareness and control.

There are a few potential benefits of exercising in a small range of motion.

One benefit is that it can help to reduce the risk of injury. When you move through a full range of motion, you put more stress on your joints and muscles. This can increase your risk of injuries such as muscle strains and ligament tears. Exercising in a small range of motion can help to reduce this stress and reduce your risk of injury.

Another benefit of exercising in a small range of motion is that it can help you to focus on specific muscle groups. When you move through a full range of motion, you are using multiple muscle groups at the same time. This can make it difficult to isolate and target specific muscle groups. Exercising in a small range of motion can help you to focus on the muscle groups that you want to work.

Finally, exercising in a small range of motion can be a good option for people who are new to exercise or who have limited mobility due to injury or pain. If you are new to exercise, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts over time. Exercising in a small range of motion can help you to ease into exercise and reduce the risk of injury. If you have limited mobility, exercising in a small range of motion can help you to stay active and improve your fitness level.

Softer

Exercising with less intensity can be beneficial for those who are recovering from an injury or illness, or for those who are new to exercise. It can help to reduce the risk of injury and allow for a more gradual and sustainable progression. Exercising with less intensity is a great way to focus on form and technique, which can help to build a strong foundation for more intense exercise in the future. Finally, exercising with less intensity reduces stress and promotes relaxation, which is important for overall health and well-being.

Lower-intensity exercise is any activity that gets your heart rate up but doesn’t leave you feeling breathless or exhausted. It can include activities like walking, swimming, yoga, and Pilates.

Lower-intensity exercise has many benefits, including:

  • Improved heart health. Gentle exercise can help to lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • Reduced risk of stroke. Lower-intensity exercise can help to reduce your risk of stroke by improving your blood flow and reducing your risk of blood clots.
  • Improved mental health. Light exercise can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help to improve your mood and sleep quality.
  • Weight loss or maintenance. Lower-intensity exercise can help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Increased energy levels. Gentle exercise can help to increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue.
  • Improved balance and coordination. Moderate levels of exercise can help to improve your balance and coordination. This can be helpful for preventing falls, especially as you get older.
  • Increased flexibility. Lower-intensity exercise can help to increase your flexibility. This can be helpful for reducing pain and improving your range of motion.
  • Strengthened bones. Low impact exercise can help to strengthen your bones. This can help to prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak bones.

If you are looking for a way to improve your health and well-being, lower-intensity exercise is a great option. It is easy to do, it is low-impact, and it has many benefits.

All 3 of the S’s are an important part of any chronic pain management program. Restorative movement embraces these principles in a structured way and is an important part of any wellness program.

The only things for which I am certain that more is always better are the intangibles: more love, more life, more wisdom, more truth, and more faith. The fact is that more stuff can never take the place of these things. More stuff will never satisfy the innate human need to be of service, to be loving and loved, to make a difference, and to know ourselves.

More is not always better. Sometimes more is just more. Let us reflect on the areas of our lives in which more is really more and focus our energy and attention on those things which will truly improve the quality of our liv

Pam

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Pamela J Thomas

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