So June is upon us and our hanging challenge begins. It’s winter here in Australia and everyone is hunching their shoulders, contracting their muscles every way to stay warm as it descends on us pretty quickly after such a long warm summer.
Today is day two, but it’s never too late to join in! The goal is to hang for a cumulative time of 5min a day for 30days. Why? To improve spine and shoulder health by decompressing vertebrae, strengthening grip and letting gravity do the work of opening up your shoulders and hips.
As our name suggests, at Fitbynature we feel the need to move more and to implement it into our daily lives. We’re not a fan of the pure fitness approach of ‘training it’; we prefer the ‘move it’ approach any day of the week. And that goes most for hanging, especially from our arms.
Hanging should be brought back into fitness and daily movement fashion. I wonder if we implement hanging work throughout our lives, from young age and into old age and without taking too large of a break what would be the results over the now lost ‘overhead reach’ range and shoulder injury rates. I suspect we would have little need to ‘stretch our shoulders’ any further. Of course shoulder integrity, elbow and wrist/hand/finger health can benefit tremendously from daily hanging as well.
By simply allowing gravity to ‘do its thing’ in the passive hanging work or ‘fighting it’ in the active hanging work – we can send a very intense adaptation producing signal into all our structures. Like standing is for walking, hanging sits as a prerequisite for so many movements like climbing and pulling. A deficiency in hanging work will become evident at a certain stage – some get stuck early unable to develop even a single chin up (a very common female problem).
Already in to day two of the challenge, I’m finding opportunities for hanging, rather than feeling I am limited because I’ve no chin up bar. Trees, kids park equipment, door frames and skirting boards, fencing. We do also have a chin-up / pull-up bar set up in our house, encouraging hanging every walk through. If you can’t do the same, set up anchor points in and near your home – a closed door on two tea towels (taking care they’re secure on that closed door), from your ceiling (or your office one), in your garage, a nearby park not too far to incorporate into your daily healthy spine needs. By having it readily available, your children, loved ones or fellow office workers may join in. And you’ll all realise you don’t need to go to the gym to do fo your daily hanging, your daily spinal health check (remembering each vertebrae of your spine each has different nerves from different organs)!
I am hoping by asking you to join in this challenge that you too will see the amazing benefits (we’re already feeling them in day two!) but also that we need to see hanging appear in our daily lives – spread out and practiced shortly but often, and shift so much of our movement into a paradigm of – ‘I am not training’ but ‘I am moving’ – all the time.
First things first – install some anchor points. Do it now. And start your hanging challenge. Do that now too.