Hygiene is defined as “Practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease.” For example, we all spend a few minutes every day on our oral hygiene to maintain oral health when we brush our teeth. Although not typically considered, maintaining our physical health can be accomplished in the same way! Dedicating a little time every day to our Movement Hygiene will provide an equivalent opportunity to maintain health, prevent disease, and redefine performance with work, life and play!
While there are in infinite number of ways to build a Daily Movement Practice, in general, the emphasis should be placed on addressing (i.e. improving) or accommodating (i.e. working around) our specific needs. For example, a movement hygiene activity could be structured to INCREASE a fire fighter’s passive mobility, IMPROVE their active mobility, or REINFORCE the active mobility they currently have by using a variety of squat, lunge, hinge, push and/or pull patterns with a range of demands.
Building a Hygiene Activity
Hygiene activiites should be brief, simple to perform, and relevant to the needs of the performer. Simply because two people share similar demands (i.e. both are firefighters), does not imply they have identical needs. Hygiene sessions can also serve as a warm-up, recovery workout, or stand-alone activity that is completed before or after brushing your teeth. In other words, they can take on many forms despite the overarching aim of maintaining health, wellness and performance.
Sample guidelines with respect to the design of these sessions include:
INCREASE PASSIVE MOBILITY. Performers who have been identified as having passive mobility needs should seek to increase their available joint RoM. If physically unable to adopt specific body positions because they lack the passive mobility, they may not be able to take advantage of their experience, awareness, motivation, fitness, etc.
IMPROVE ACTIVE MOBILITY BY USING AVAILABLE ROM. Performers who have been identified as having active mobility needs should learn how to access the joint RoM that is currently available. If unable to adopt specific body positions because they lack the awareness, coordination, etc. they may not be able to take advantage of their experience, motivation, fitness, etc.
REINFORCE ACTIVE MOBILITY BY VARYING DEMANDS. Performers who have been identified as having sufficient active mobility should seek to reinforce their accessible joint RoM by performing a variety of relevant activities. Having the awareness, motivation and physical ability to move within a range of contexts (e.g. patterns, environments) will improve the extent to which behaviors persist over time.