A lot of people start an exercise program and subsequently get injured, strain something, or just experience some degree of chronic discomfort that makes them question the endeavor altogether.

And that’s too bad, because exercise enhances life on so many levels.

“First move well, then move often” is a phrase coined by physical therapist and author Gray Cook. His point is there’s a progression to consider at any age: movement, then exercise, then athletics.

Exercise represents something we do as a means to an end. Some do it because they love how it makes them feel, they enjoy challenging themselves. Many do it to “get fit.”  But, you had to crawl before you could walk and that premise still applies to you now.

Reengaging in the sport of your youth, jumping into the pickleball craze or signing up for a race as a means to get some exercise and “get fit” is risky.  (That risk increases exponentially if you spend hours of your day sitting.)  Remember grade school where you could sit (squirm) at your desk all morning and then run around like crazy in gym or recess with no negative consequences? Maybe then high school or college athletics where soreness may have entered the picture but recovery was speedy? Yeah – not so much anymore.

Aging, a culture built around comfort and convenience, and lots of time sitting leaves most of us lacking proper fundamental movement in our joints and strength in our legs and core. From that place, your path to feeling better and improving your fitness does not safely begin with any form of intense exercise. That’s putting intensity on top of dysfunction. Ouch.

Mobility is our natural state. As a living, breathing system we need it and every cell thrives on it. Restoring mobility in your body can alleviate lots of aches and pains, and then free you up to do a whole lot more.

So first move well, again. Movement is medicine that will restore range of motion and fluid movement of your muscles. And then you can safely increase the intensity and have some fun.

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