John Elder

John Elder

John Elder is the Vice President of Corporate Operations for Egoscue, Inc. and former Clinic Owner of Egoscue Nashville.

John is the main content contributor for the Egoscue blog. A client since 1995, he was an instant believer in the Method and felt relief after his first visit at Egoscue Headquarters in Del Mar, California. It is because of Egoscue that John was able to realize his dream of playing Division I baseball while at Yale University. John has traveled internationally with Egoscue and handles many of the Midwest and East Coast speaking engagements for Egoscue, Inc. His clientele includes the young and old, working professionals, stay-at-home moms, professional athletes, weekend warriors, politicians, and the everyday “Joe.”

I've Fallen and I CAN Get Up

28 February 2017, 12:00 am

"I've fallen...and I can't get up!"

There's no doubt in my mind that you remember that commercial. If you're like me, that famous line brings back vivid memories, and I'm guessing we've all seen that commercial more times than we can count. It very often felt as though that commercial was playing on a loop during our favorite show. We would see the images (typically in black-and-white, despite the rest of the commercial being in full-color) of an elderly person laying on the ground, helpless, unable to stand to their feet, crying out for help. And only if they were wearing the special medical device around their neck were they saved. Those other poor black-and-white souls were left to fend for themselves, helpless until a loved-one spontaneously dropped by their house.

While many of us tuned out or changed the channel to avoid listening to that commercial yet again, for others, falling and not being able to get back up is a very real situation. For one such person I met last week, we'll call her "Barbara," falling and being stuck on the ground is a daily worry, and it has been for decades.

Barbara feared tripping on an uneven sidewalk in the city. She feared falling while gardening on a gorgeous spring day. She feared getting tangled up in the neighbor's dog's leash while out for an evening walk. She was living in fear of her own body! She was absolutely caught up in her limiting belief that she needed to minimize her activities in an effort to make it through her day unscathed.

Going for a walk? Not a good idea. 

Taking a bike ride to the local bakery? She couldn't remember the last time that happened.

Going skiing for the first time in years? Not a chance.

In her current condition, skiing was absolutely out of the question, and biking and walking were barely possibilities. And those were just a few of the activities that she was told not to do. 

However, we at Egoscue believe that the body has an amazing ability to heal itself. If we place proper, functional stimuli on the body through simple exercises designed to restore the overall posture, not only can the body improve, but it can THRIVE.

To show you just how quickly the body can change, take a look at Barbara's before and after photos:

Not only were these photos taken as part of the same session, they were taken a mere 12 minutes apart! Barbara saw incredible postural changes in a very short amount of time.

Gone was her bilateral knee pain.

Gone was her shoulder pain.

And, most importantly, gone was her fear of getting up off the floor.

Actually, she was able to practice getting up from the ground multiple times during her appointment. We took her right to her main fear and gave her the chance to prove to herself that she could do it, physically and mentally. 

In just a few minutes, Barbara's life was completely changed. She was so ecstatic, so elated, that she began crying. Thoughts of walking, gardening, and skiing came flooding back in. A life without limits now not only seemed possible, but she was believing it is possible. 

And that same life is possible for you as well. You don't have to live in pain. Your current diagnose or condition is NOT a death-sentence. Remember that pain is the body's indicator that something isn't happening that should be happening. True, functional work isn't taking place in your joint(s) and/or muscle(s), and other joints and muscles are compensating. When you get the body functioning properly, pain goes away, and your limitations disappear as well! It really is that simple.

I'm happy to report that for Barbara, she now knows that when she falls down, she CAN get back up again!

Now it's your turn--Don't wait! If you have specific questions, contact us today! If you're ready to dive in and work with a clinic, we have them all over the world! If you aren't close by a clinic, we work with clients all over the world via Skype and FaceTime. Somehow, someway, you have to find a way to get your life back, just like Barbara did!

QUESTION: What has been your limiting belief about your body?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Sciatica: What a Pain in the Butt!

14 February 2017, 12:00 am

The pain, the searing, and the burning. The electric shockwaves that run down your butt and legs. The inability to get comfortable.

Sound familiar? I'm sure it does for many of you reading this today. Those are the symptoms of Sciatic nerve pain. Sciatica takes on many shapes and sizes, but one thing is certain: It hurts!

Sciatic nerve pain can be incredibly painful. I've dealt with it. My wife has dealt with it. Multiple friends and family members have dealt with it. Unfortunately, sciatica is one of those pains that you just can't "push" through. But you also can't "rest" it away, either. You have to work it away but within the framework of what your body is willing and able to give you.

If you want to know why you have sciatica, we have to start with the pelvis. While many of you have pain on the back side of the pelvis (low back, gluteal muscles, tops of the hamstring), we at Egoscue believe that rarely is the site of the pain the source of the pain. We know that the sciatic nerve and the pelvis are in close proximity of each other, and one could make the arguement that is an exception to that rule. But, even though the sciatic nerve and glute muscles are close to one another, neither is the true cause of the pain.

At its root, sciatica is caused by a misaligned pelvis. Your sciatic nerve runs through what is called the sciatic notch, and as the pelvis tilts down (anterior/bellybutton toward the ground) or up (posterior/bellybutton toward the chin), the designed position of the pelvis is lost. As the pelvis moves farther away from the design blueprint the sciatic nerve becomes compromised. Think of it like a kink in a garden hose. Notice the U-shaped cutout in the pelvis? That's the sciatic notch.

Just the other day, I discussed this very issue of sciatica and its root cause on the Egoscue Method Facebook Page. And, to top it all off, I gave you three exercises to help balance out your pelvis (and the upper body as well) and eliminate your sciatica pain! If you missed it, take 20 minutes and watch this episode of Egoscue LIVE! And then join me every Thursday at 2:00 EST for a new episode! (Click the picture below to watch the video!)

If you're looking for specific help to tackle your postural deviations, contact us today! Or, find the clinic that is closest to you. If you don't have a clinic in your area, you can work with us via Skype or FaceTime! You have no excuse to not eliminate your chronic pain.

QUESTION: How has sciatica impacted your life?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Paddling Out to Surf

7 February 2017, 12:00 am

I’ve never surfed, but I’d love to learn how to do it one day.

To me, it's a combination of so many different things: athleticism, balance, strength, beauty, control, power, grace, nature. When I watch surfers, I find myself in awe of what they are capable of doing. Even the bad ones are good, and I know that if I were to try, I would find myself way below the “bad ones”, at least initially.

I was talking with another Egoscue therapist the other day who is going through a very stressful time in her life. We were talking about all that was happening when she said, “You know…it’s kind of like surfing. You have to paddle out through the waves to reap the reward.”

Sheesh...Isn’t that SO true?

Life isn’t always easy.

This journey that we’re on isn’t always smooth. 

Life is full of ups and downs.

There is no doubt in my mind that you’ve faced rough times. As you have paddled through life, you have faced your fair share of waves crashing over you. For many of us, it feels as thought it's a never-ending cycle of waves.

I’ve been there, and, to put it mildly, it’s not pleasant. I'm sure that the vast majority of you reading this article have felt the waves of chronic pain crashing over you at some point in your life. Some days you feel horrible. Other days you feel not as horrible. Trust me, I know those feeling. I've dealt with chronic pain.

When you’re in the thick of it, when chronic pain is a minute-by-minute thought in your mind, your rough stretch seems unending, your pain insurmountable. The waves continually crash, you’re getting pounded, pushed farther and farther under the water, and you’re struggling just to catch your breath. 

And time and again as you’re paddling out, you see the wave coming your way and you think, “If I can just make it past this wave, it’ll be smooth sailing the other side!” But often times the reality of the situation is that as you crest that wave, you quickly realize there are three others behind it. Your struggle continues. And it is very real.

But, I’m here to tell you that your struggles can end. They're not insurmountable. Chronic pain won’t win. Today I want you to hear -- really hear -- that you’re enough. Today I want you to hear -- really hear -- your body is enough. 

Paddle on. Press through. Because only when you get on the back side of the wave can you turn around and see just how far you have come. And, only then will you be able to reap the reward for all of your hard work. Only then will it be smooth sailing.

But you have to keep paddling. 

If you feel like your battle with chronic pain is never ending, contact us today. We can offer help at one of our clinics all over the world, or we can help you from the comfort of your own home or office. Either way, help is right around the corner.

QUESTION: When have you felt the waves continually crashing down on you?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Our Posture Has Gone "Rogue"

31 January 2017, 12:00 am

Today's blog post is by Carrie Barlau, a therapist in our South San Diego clinic.

I'm a big fan of science fiction. Perhaps the love began when I was a young kid and my grandmother took me and my sister to see the "first" Star Wars movie at the theater. Like most other adults in the theater, she too whispered the scrolling text to us at the beginning so we didn't miss anything.

The droids were a HUGE part of what made that movie so great. C-3PO spoke with great diction, his mannerisms and posture mimicked humans as they were at the time; fairly functional beings with the knee, hip, and shoulder joints horizontally and vertically aligned, and the head sitting directly over the shoulders. Check out his posture compared to the human design blueprint. Not bad, right?

Fast forward four decades to the Star Wars movie released in December of 2016. I absolutely LOVED this episode and thought it was one of the best of the series. But when I saw the new K-2SO droid my first thought was, What is up with his posture? K-2SO's head comes out of the body where the sternum should be, there's a huge curve in the upper back, the shoulders are rounded and drooping forward, and the hips are tilted under. Compared to the human blueprint, this droid has a very dysfunctional posture, and it can cause more than just aches and pains in the body. The psychological effects of this position can change one’s mood, generating more negative thoughts. How can one project confidence and strength with the body in such a slumped position? The answer is...it can't.

This present-day droid has a classic Condition III posture (as described in Pete Egoscue's book, The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion). Back in the 70's when the first movie came out, this posture was relatively unusual. Why is that? Cell phones had just been invented and weren't widely used. There was no such thing as social media, and email wasn't even popular until the mid-90s. Kids played outside all day until it got dark. We walked or biked to school or the grocery store. We got up to change the channel on the television. We tended our own yard and house work. In almost every area of life, we moved more. Unfortunately, as technology has improved, our activity level has decreased, and our bodies are paying the price. Simple movements that our bodies are designed to make are no longer required and are becoming nearly impossible for many of you.

Sadly, the Condition III posture has become very common in this day and age, and we see it in our clinics on a daily basis. Perhaps that is why the new droid was designed the way it was--it mimics humans as they appear today. Yes, it's true...art is imitating life. There is no hope for improving this droid's posture, but as humans we have the ability to change ours. Don't accept this posture as the new norm, fight it by allowing your body to move the way it was designed, and then keep moving!

If you're ready to change your posture and get back in motion, contact us today!

QUESTION: How else do you see art imitating life in society today?

A note from John...

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Warm Up Before Yoga (And Cool Down After)

17 January 2017, 12:00 am

This article originally appeared on Sonima.com.

 

 

 

Calling all yogis! If you're a practitioner of yoga, then today's post is for YOU! Has the thought of warming up for yoga class (or cooling down afterward) ever crossed your mind?

When we practice yoga, we bring all of our habitual patterns with us. The practice has inherent neutralizing effects, but sometimes, whether because of extreme tightness, hyper-mobility, stress, or otherwise—our practice gets muddled by our current state. There are many ways to center the body and mind before practice including meditation, breathing practices, as well as moderate exercises to prepare the body. In this video, alignment expert Pete Egoscue, with the help of Sonima founder and long time Ashtanga Yoga practitioner, Sonia Jones, offers a pre- and post-yoga workout routine to help solidify the powerful effects of the practice.

QUESTION: What do you do to warm up for and/or cool down from yoga?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

It's Gotta Be the Shoes!

10 January 2017, 12:00 am

"It's gotta be the shoes!" -- Mars Blackmon

Does anyone remember the old Nike commercial where Mars Blackmon (a.k.a. Spike Lee) was asking basketball legend Michael Jordon about how and why he is so good? Blackmon was asking Jordon about everything--from his dunks to his haircut to his long shorts--before finally being convinced that it was his shoes that made all the difference.

While Jordon denied that any of those things actually made a difference, there was no changing Blackmon's mind, and Nike's next great marketing slogan was born. For me personally, Nike (and more specifically, Jordan) created a desire within me to get a pair of Jordan shoes for basketball season. And, guess what? I GOT THEM!

Well...let me rephrase that.

I guess I should say that I had them.

I had a pair of Air Jordan high-tops...until my three older sisters found out. They threw such a fit that their little brother got a pair of $125 shoes just for the basketball season that my parents returned them to the store! If I'm being honest, I believe their frustration stemmed from the fact that I was the only one in the family to get a Big Wheel (a Dukes of Hazzard one, at that) despite their incessant requests for one, so there was no way that I was getting Air Jordan sneakers as well. Truth be told, they are actually still angry (seriously...STILL angry) about that Big Wheel...but I digress...

Yes, at the eleventh hour, my Air Jordans where snatched from my hands. So close...yet so far!

That brings me to today's post about shoes. While I obviously don't believe that Michael Jordan's shoes made him the player that he was, I do believe that shoes make a huge difference in our overall function and ability to move.

When it comes to what you put on your feet, the Egoscue philosophy is simple: less is best. Ideally, we want you (and your foot) to be able to move as functionally as possible, as much as possible. Obviously, we recommend taking movement breaks throughout your day as much as you can. In addition, we are huge fans of getting your body functional before you go and do your regular workouts. But we also want you to stay as functional as possible throughout your workouts (and as you go throughout your day).

How can we accomplish that? There are different ways to do it, including doing your Egoscue menu, but one simple change you can make is to start wearing a shoe that allows as much functional movement as possible at the feet--the functional base of support for the rest of your body.

Your foot is designed to move, and shoes should allow that movement to happen. Shoes that take away from that ability aren't doing you or your body any favors. Sure, there may be a time and a place to wear shoes that don't allow a lot of movement (yes, it's ok to wear high-heels from time to time, ladies), but generally speaking, the less shoe, the better.

As your foot is allowed to move as it's designed, you are creating a functional "domino-effect" of improved and increased movement up the rest of the bodily chain. Basically, if your foot is moving better, so will your ankle, knee, hip, spine, etc. The improved function and mobility doesn't simply stop at the foot. It continues the path up the body, impacting you from toe to head.

"Barefoot shoes"--a term given to shoes that allow for the foot to move as designed--have been around for years now. Dating back to the early 2000s, we have had a plethora of minimalist shoes from which to choose. Nike, New Balance, Fila, Adidas, Merrell, the list goes on an on, have all had minimalist options. There are so many choices now, that the job of finding the "right" one for you can feel like a daunting task.

That's exactly why I wanted to weigh in on this issue. I actually talked about minimalist shoes on a Facebook Live broadcast, and the response was great. Clearly, several of you who tuned in to that video were in the market for minimalist shoes! The feedback and responses I have received from that talk has been incredible. I'm glad I covered this topic!

When you watch the Facebook video (if you haven't already), you'll hear that I mention the Vibram FiveFingers as being the best barefoot shoe on the market. The VFF shoe is, hands down, the most "barefoot" of all the minimalist shoes that I have worn. However, some folks don't like the way they look, and they won't wear them for that reason alone. If you don't care how you look, then get a pair of the VFFs, however, if you are looking for something a little more fashionably acceptable, take a look at the following list. Keep in mind, that Egoscue has no ongoing relationship with any of these folks, and I don't get a dime from them (Although I would never turn down free shoes if any of these companies would like to send them to me to wear and review on the blog! Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!):

1. VivoBarefoot -- Choose any style they offer. You can't go wrong with the VivoBarefoot shoes.

2. Lems Shoes -- Again, choose any style. I have a pair of the Primal shoes. They are incredibly light and flexible. It feels like I am wearing slippers.

3. New Balance Minimus -- These are my favorite running/race shoes. Some of the newer versions are a bit stiffer than the originals, but they are still great shoes.

4. Nike Free -- This is a good introductory shoe for those who are trying to transition to barefoot shoes. I have a pair that I wear currently.

5. Merrell Trail Glove -- Personally, this is my least favorite of the minimalist shoes I have used but some folks rave about them.

So, there you go! Those are my Top-5 Barefoot Shoes that I have personally worn. Do you have a favorite pair that isn't on the list? If so, don't keep it a secret! Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I'll check them out!

QUESTION: What is YOUR favorite pair of barefoot shoes?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

2017: What Will You Choose?

3 January 2017, 12:00 am

As the clock struck midnight this past weekend, many of us celebrated by popping open a bottle of champagne, singing "Auld Lang Syne," and kissing our significant other (or at least for some of you the person deemed most-significant at midnight!).

Many of us celebrated by waking up on January 1st after falling asleep on the couch well before the clock struck 12:00AM and watching the Times Square ball drop on our DVR.

Whichever way you celebrated, 2017 is upon us, and you have a clean slate. Now is your chance to start clean, to start over.

But I need to let you know that you don't have to start clean. You don't have to start over. It's true -- you do have a choice in the matter. You can choose to make 2017 the year you take action and live pain free, or you can choose to stay in your current condition, accept your health history as your health destiny, and keep on living a life full of pain and limitations.

Either way, the choice is yours.

Yes, that's right. Read that last sentence again if you need to.

YOU get to choose.

It's been said that life doesn't happen to us, it happens for us. It's a glass-half-full-glass-half-empty sort of thing. When we're faced with trying times, we can either choose to let them happen to us, or we can change our perspective and decide that there is a reason for which that particular thing is happening.

We either wallow in our sorrow with a woe-is-me attitude, or we stand up, stand strong, and decide that we have been given an opportunity to grow and improve. When faced with trials, it's an opportunity to learn from our experience. It's a chance to take control of the reigns and realize that we play a vital role in how our story ends.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pete Egoscue's story, he was presented with a choice, just like you are. After being injured in the Vietnam War, he was recovering in the hospital and overheard two doctors conversing about a soldier in the bed next to him. In the course of the conversation, one doctor turned to the other doctor and said something to the effect of, "You know...all of these soldiers in here have a choice: They either get better, or they die."

For Pete, that was his light-bulb moment. That was when he realized he could either continue down the path of pain and frustration, or he could choose to find a different way, a better way.

Obviously, it's clear which path he chose. He refused to accept the status quo. He refused to believe that his condition was permanent. And he absolutely refused to believe that his pain was all in his head, which is what he was being told after countless tests determined that "nothing was wrong" with his body. 

Sound familiar? I'm sure many of you can relate. If that sounds like your story, I want you to realize that you have a choice! You have options. But...you have to choose. You have to decide. Let's agree to make 2017 the year you decide. If you're looking for help, we have multiple options. You can see us in-clinic, we can connect on Skype or FaceTime, we offer Online Therapy, and Pete has authored several books. Basically, we have you surrounded! There are no excuses for you not getting help!

The choice is yours.

QUESTION: What will you choose?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2016

27 December 2016, 12:00 am

I can't believe 2016 is coming to an end! Doesn't it seem like we were just ringing this year in?

I want to give you, our clients, a HUGE THANK YOU for your continued support of The Egoscue Method. Without you, there would be no Method (and we certainly wouldn't have clinics all over the world).

Personally, I wanted to thank you for reading, and then sharing, these posts with your friends and family. Because you shared our articles, whether sent through email or shared on Facebook or Twitter, hundreds of thousands of folks were reached and introduced to Egoscue.

In case you missed any of our top article this year, I wanted to share them with you today! Below, you'll find the Top-5 articles written this year on The Egoscue Method blog. I hope you enjoy them, and we look forward to interacting with you even more in 2017!

5. Eliminate the Pear Shape

My wife and I were walking along the harbor in San Francisco a few years ago when two ladies ran by. They were jogging, talking, and laughing, and you could tell they were great friends. This run wasn't anything new for them, and it seemed that they both were enjoying themselves. I think anyone would look at them and agree that they were both in shape. However, one of them had pear-shaped hips. I turned toward my wife and said, "That lady on the left runs every day, but no matter how far or fast she runs, she can't lose her hips. She can't get rid of her pear shape. She wakes up, looks in the mirror every morning and sighs, saying, 'Well...I guess I better go run again' but she can't figure out why her body never changes." READ MORE...

 

 

4. Don't Be an Optimist: The Stockdale Paradox

Up until recently, I had no idea who Admiral Jim Stockdale was and had never heard of the Stockdale Paradox before. But now that I have heard of Admiral Stockdale and his Paradox, I can’t stop thinking about it. More importantly, I can’t stop thinking about you and how it applies to your current situation. READ MORE...

 

 

3. 3 Simple Exercises to Eliminate Knee Pain

About 1 in 4 Americans suffers from knee pain, according to a 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Rather than ignore that wincing discomfort until it’s unbearable, see if you can ease the ouch with these three simple strengthening exercises from Sonima’s pain and anatomy advisor, Pete Egoscue. You may be surprised to find that the pain you feel in your knee is due to weakness and instability in other areas of the body. The exercises demonstrated in this video—sitting knee pillow squeezes, supine foot circles and point flexes, and sitting abductor press—build strength and mobility in the lower body, particularly the ankles, calves, and thighs, to better support the joints’ movements and thereby eliminate knee pain. READ MORE...

 

 

2. Becoming Pain Free - A New Web Series

I know that MANY of you are struggling with pain, and you feel there's no end in sight. If you're like many of our clients, the pain is starting to creep in to more and more aspects of your daily life. Not only has the pain impacted you physically, but it's starting to have an impact on you mentally and emotionally as well. Believe me, I know from first-hand experience how debilitating chronic pain can be. My struggle with back pain in the mid-90s wasn't just a physical battle for me. My pain was always at the forefront of my mind. It was all I could think about, and it all-but-consumed me mentally and emotionally. The question of Will I EVER be the same? was asked far too often. READ MORE...

 

 

1. Bunions: The Window to Your Hips

Ok, friends, let's talk about everyone's favorite topic: Feet.

I'm sure many of you think feet are totally disgusting. They smell bad (at least if you have three boys in your house like I do!), they look bad, and often times, they feel bad. Ever heard someone say, "my dogs are barkin'!" when referring to their foot pain? There's a reason why they make that analogy. I believe it's because barking dogs are loud, annoying, and the only thing you can concentrate on when it's happening.

Foot pain is no different.

Today I want to talk about a specific foot symptom--bunions. Those of you who have bunions know the pain I'm talking about. It's "loud." It's "annoying." And, it's "the only thing you can concentrate on." READ MORE...

 

Again, THANK YOU for supporting The Egoscue Method and this blog. I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store for all of us!

QUESTION: What was YOUR favorite blog post of 2016?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Warm-Up for Walking

21 December 2016, 12:00 am

This article originally appeared on Sonima.com and was written by Pete Egoscue

 

 

When you engage in any form of exercise you want your body to be as balanced as possible. When your body is in balance it can move evenly and symmetrically. Symmetrical movement ensures that your weight is distributed evenly and makes it less likely that you’ll become injured or plagued by pain. Balanced movement also makes you more efficient when you walk, meaning your energy is used optimally to get you from point A to point B, and you’ll reap the most physical benefits from your efforts.

While you may think your body is already in balance, the truth is that anyone who spends most of their time sitting at a desk or in a car is going to have some physical imbalances. This 15-minute warm-up is designed to put your body in a neutral position by targeting common areas of weakness and tightness that lead to asymmetrical movement. Spending just a few minutes creating openness and mobility in key areas such as the ankles, feet, and hips will allow you to make the most of your walk and enjoy yourself even more while you’re out there.

QUESTION: What's your favorite way to warm up before your walk?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

I figured with this week's post we'd have a little fun! I mean, it IS Christmas time! And, as the song says, It's the most wonderful time of the year!

If you're a parent like me, every night as you're heading to bed, the panic hits you: We forgot to move our Elf on the Shelf!

If you're unfamiliar with the Elf on the Shelf, the Elf is said to be one of Santa's helpers. And every year, the Elf arrives at your house to help Santa manage his Naughty and Nice list. Every night, the Elf returns to the North Pole and gives his daily report to the Big Man. He always returns to the house before the kids awake, but he always seems to cause some mischief while he's at it. In our house, our Elf, Charles Butterscotch, has been known to string a zip-line across the living room, roll down the stairs while inside a toilet paper roll, perform snow angles in Rice Crispy cereal after pouring it on the kitchen counter, and even "poop" a Hershey's kiss.

He's quite the trouble maker (as are most elves)!

But recently, I saw something that made me smile. One of our clients posted a picture of his Elf actually doing something good, something beneficial. Yes, this Elf was doing Static Back and using a Rubik's Cube as his "Egoscue block." How cool is THAT?

Of course, it got me thinking. I started to wonder: What other e-cises could my Elf on the Shelf do? So, without further ado, here's what I came up with! And, just so we're clear, YOU can do these e-cises alongside YOUR Elf on the Shelf! By doing the following e-cises, your Christmas, and your Elf's nightly travels to and from the North Pole, will be pain free and much more enjoyable!

STATIC BACK

5:00

 

1.  Lie on your back with your legs up over a block or chair  so your hips and knees are at 90 degrees.
2.  Place your arms out to the sides at 45 degrees from your body with palms up.
3.  Relax your upper back and notice if your low back flattens to the floor evenly from left to right.
4.  Hold this position as directed.

 

STATIC BACK PULLOVERS

3 SETS OF 10

1.  Lie on your back with your legs up over a large block or chair, knees bent at 90 degrees
2.  Relax your legs, lower back and stomach
3.  Reach arms straight up above your chest, elbows locked and hands clasped together
4.  Now lower your hands down to the floor above your head
   • Do not contract your abdominal muscles, keep the stomach and lower back relaxed
   • Do not let your arms bend at the elbow, keep them straight throughout the e-cise (Our Elf is doing them wrong!)
   • If you are unable to lower your hands all the way to the floor behind you, go only as low as you are able while maintaining the straight arm position
5.  Return to the starting position and repeat as directed.

 

ASSISTED RUNNER'S STRETCH

1:00 PER SIDE

1. Kneel down in front of a chair or table you can use to stabilize and support yourself.
2. Place the back of your left heel to the front of the right knee.
   •Be sure that you are up on the toes of your right foot, with bottom of the foot pointing behind you.
   •Keep the left foot, right knee and right foot in line with each other
3. Keeping your hands on the chair stand up and begin bending over while rolling your hips back to place an arch into your lower back.
   •The heel of your right foot should now be on the ground.
4. Tighten your thighs (quads) while relaxing your upper body.
   •Keep your weight on the inside of each foot and keep your lower back arched.
5. Hold as directed on your menu.
6. Switch sides and repeat.

 

KNEELING GROIN STRETCH

1:00 PER SIDE

1.  From a kneeling position, place one foot out in front of you with your knee bent
2.  Interlace your hands and place them on your front knee
3.  Lunge forward
   • Keep the knee of the forward leg directly above your ankle
   • Push into your hands to move your chest away from your knee.
   • Your front leg should be supporting you as you are lunging forward
   • You should feel the stretch on the opposite/back leg
4.  Hold as directed on your menu
5.  Switch sides and repeat

 

STANDING OVERHEAD EXTENSION

1:00

1.  Stand with your feet pointing straight and hip width apart.
2.  Interlace your fingers together and reach your arms overhead, pressing your hands to the ceiling with palms up.
3.  Look up toward your hands and keep your arms straight, do not bend at the elbow.
   • Do not lean back.
   • Try to keep your arms directly overhead, not forward of your head, bring your shoulders down.
   • Relax your stomach muscles.
4.  Hold as directed on your menu.

So...after finishing this menu of exercises, what is different to you? Do you feel more balanced? Do you feel less pain? Do you have better range of motion? Well guess what? Although he might not say it, your Elf feels better too!

QUESTION: Which of those e-cises was your favorite?

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