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Over the last couple of years Ive had a host of problems with my joints. Problems caused by tightness, weakness and trigger points... often in those muscles that most people don't know exist until they get problems with them, e.g. serratus anterior, rotator cuffs, hip adductors etc.

This endless cycle of problems prevents me from getting into a proper gym routine or trying out other hobbies (I'd love to take up martial arts but simply cannot)

I believe that the main reason for all this is the fact that, apart from when I go the gym, my life is a very sedentary / desk-based one.

This has resulted in a lot of trips to the physio, countless hours browsing forums / YouTube (to find rehab exercises) and what seems like an endless amount of foam rolling and rehab exercises.

I'm wondering if there is some sort of hobby / activity that I can take up that will fix my problem, because I honestly feel like there is no end to it. As soon as I fix one problem another one takes its place.

Might yoga be an idea? That seems like the most obvious choice, but I read online that even yogis have the same sort of problems that I've had (e.g. rotator cuff problems) and also I shouldn't think yoga would help with trigger points

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There is a crazy amount of ‘information’ on the internet about different physical syndromes and rehab techniques. Likewise, physical therapy is big business.

Instead, I think you could do gentle exercise that strengthens your body indirectly. Walking is good—particularly walking on uneven terrain (e.g. in a forest). Swimming is also good. Bodyweight squats and push-ups build some general strength, and may be a good place to start strength training if you are out of shape. Some carrying is also good. Instead of time effective but intense strength training programs that have you doing, for example, 3 sets × 5 reps, I think you should first try to get ‘farm strength’. That means walking, carrying, lifting, and lot of it—but not very intense.

You should also try to ‘listen to your body’. Yoga may be good for this. However, I think you can achieve similar things on your own. When doing exercises, you can do them in a controlled and calm manner focusing on the muscles. Throughout the day, you can move the limbs through their range of motion, searching for any tightness. You can also focus on the breath and make sure to breathe deeply.

I think a problem many of us have is that we have become somewhat disconnected from our bodies. And I think the solution is maybe not an intellectual one. After all, people have lived happily for 1000s of years without the knowledge we have today. Instead, maybe you should somewhat adapt the mindset of a child. What is this marvellous muscle? What can it do, and how does that feel? Practicing the basic movement patterns such as the squat (the hinge, etc.) could be a part of this. How does it feel to squat today? Can I stay a bit longer in the bottom position?

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    Love your answer, Andy. – POD Jun 28 at 10:28
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Yes, yoga can help. The main reason for all your muscle issues is, for sure, sedentary way of life & stress.

I would recommend you to start with gentle morning routine to strengthen your muscles. For instance, the routine may look like this:

  • joint warm-up
  • Surya Namaskar (12 cycles). Please listen to your body while performing and don't forget about breathing.
  • inner thighs workout (3 sets): a) 20 wide squats b) 40 side leg raises c) 20 deep side lunges d) 20 leg extensions e) 20 side leg extension f) 40 side leg raises (lying position)

You may also try backward-facing reverse pushup (12 times) after each cycle. Place your hands behind you on a bench or chair instead of the floor.

Practice: 3 days Rest: 1 day Repeat

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Yoga, daily warm-ups/stretching, and careful strength training focused on full ranges of motion have been my most beneficial solo practices for me to prevent, notice, and fix minor mobility issues like tightness or weakness. Self myofascial release has been helpful in specific scenarios but not as consistently as those three. Of course external experts (physios, masseuses) are occasionally helpful but some of it has to be discovering and maintaining one's own body.

All three of these practices are most useful because they ask the practitioner to use their body properly in some context: putting arms overhead, lunging, bending forward or to the side. If something doesn't work as it should, then the practice tells you to fix it and provides one possible start to doing so. Personally, the most beneficial and problem-detecting strength exercises I've found have been squats, deadlifts, upper-body pulling exercises, and things which require the whole body to work properly in a variety of ways, such as Turkish get-ups.

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I have always had problem with space of movement as well. I don't know how severely limiting your issues are. For me relatively straightforward movements were quite easy but for example things like yoga are very hard to do. It triggers so many movement stops and pain points it takes a lot of motivational effort. Of course the other answers are correct and the whole point of doing such things like yoga is finding those points and working towards solving the issues. But for me that has always been a very frustrating experience and reading your text I get the feeling there is a lot of bodily frustration as well on your side.

I needed and wanted some form of activity, that is easy to do, gets me going and is fun, so I could get back my motivation back for the more work oriented exercises. I spent many years looking for that and found it this winter. It may sound and look weird but its this boxing ball on a headband (https://www.google.com/search?q=headband+boxing). Since you wrote you wanted to get into martial arts, maybe it does the same for you. Its light exercise, more coordination and movement than anything else. I find it incredible fun, I can do it in a 15min break a few times a day. Headphones on and just working up a bit of a sweat and hitting stuff. There are a ton of movement variations and it helps to listen to the whole body from foot to fist. Sometimes I do it standing on one leg. I think its great or core and balance improvements.

Hope you get the same positive exercise feeling as me from that. Just don't overdo it. At first, I was so amazed I boxed for hours a day. After a few weeks I had to take a break because my joints complained.

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  • That does look quite fun! will look into it thanks :) – RR88 Jul 2 at 17:08

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