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Do you remember the first time you got out of bed and felt an ache here, a pain there?  How about the first time you got down on the floor and noticed you needed a strategy to get back up? Our modern lifestyle revolves around too much sitting and too much stress, especially with what’s currently unfolding around the world, and has created problems for people of all ages.

But as we move past 50, the physical problems caused by aging and lifestyle get more serious and impact our energy levels, our ability to move with comfort, and our ability to remain social and active.

If you’re feeling the effects of inactivity, age and stress, you’re not alone. And you can do something about it.

Our Relationship with our Chairs

Today we live in a world designed for sitting. But if we look back, our hunter-gatherer forefathers had to move to survive. Then we became farmers, and toiling the land, stood and bent, pushed, pulled and twisted to ensure we had food to eat.  Today, modern man has become a “thinker,” living in built environments and living lifestyles that discourage movement and promote sitting – behind desks, on the couch, in our cars.

The dangers of prolonged sitting – heart ailments, diabetes and other diseases, weight gain, back pain and more – are alarming. Especially since many of us are sitting for more than 10 hours every day. Studies show that the best way to counteract these effects is to move regularly, every day.

In mid-life, women have more on their plates than ever. We are business owners, navigators of our children’s journeys through school assignments, college applications, finding a job and relationships. We are caregivers to aging parents and active in the community and volunteering. It’s an empowering time of life, but it also creates a challenge as to how we find time to focus on ourselves and our functional fitness.  Make no mistake, all the things we juggle every day – whether from a chair or not – can be a strain on our bodies. With such a full plate, now more than ever we need our bodies to support us.

So what to do? The solution is actually rather simple: functional movement.

What is Functional Movement?

Simply put, functional movement is our ability to do whatever the day serves up with less pain and more confidence. Functional movements (think standing, reaching, twisting, walking, etc) form the foundations of our functional fitness and help maintain and restore mobility, flexibility and balance, improving the alignment of the body.  Think of the maxim “use it or lose it.”  It’s what makes our functional movement ability so important, especially as we age.

Says Who?

The Mayo Clinic, to start. But if you want to read a first-hand account of how improved functional movement changed a life, this one hits all the points. Liz Grantham is a 52-year-old single mom, entrepreneur and founder of TheOptimal.me. A few years ago, Liz was in trouble. Her intensely overscheduled days – running a deadline-heavy marketing company serving Fortune 50 companies – put her on a collision course with adrenal fatigue (Yuppie Flu) and chronic pain. Sitting in front of a computer with no stretch breaks, shallow stress breathing, and a general lack of self-care eventually caught up with Liz, and she had to do something fast to reclaim a quality of life.

Not one to seek out any exercise, Liz followed a recommendation to attend Jannie Classen’s integrated functional movement class out of desperation. That 50-minute class changed her life forever. “Immediately, I felt better than I had in years. And as I committed to the classes, I stopped having to pop ibuprofen, I was walking taller, and more energized,” Liz recalled. During a particularly stressful trip, Liz was in a hotel room wishing she had Jannie available to guide her through a class. “And that’s when I knew what I had to do, not just for me, but for everyone like me.” Liz developed a plan to share the benefits of integrated movement routines with everyone. At any time, from anywhere.

And that’s how TheOptimal.me was born.

So, What is The Optimal.Me?

theoptimalme functional movement

TheOptimal.me is an extensive online collection of Integrated Movement Routines (IMRs) of 5, 15 and 30-minute durations plus lots of insights on nutrition and self-care.

IMRs engage your WHOLE body, including your brain, and work all your muscles, tendons, and joints in every routine. The movement patterns of IMRs mimic the activities we do in regular life, think walking up the stairs, reaching diagonally when we play tennis or golf, or lifting heavy bags of groceries out of the trunk. While what you do may change as you grow older, integrated movement routines will help you preserve and improve the mobility and stability and flexibility you need to stay active, independent and able to do whatever you love with those you love into the future.

Remember, unlike other forms of exercise which are isolated and work individual body parts with a goal of a flat tummy or tight butt, for example, functional movement routines are all about building a strong, functional balanced body and mind. The goal: make life a playground, not an obstacle course!

Fitness that Fits your Life

The Optimal.me platform is easy to access from devices anytime, anywhere. You can access any class at your convenience and in the privacy of your own home. No special equipment is required (though you can add weights and resistance bands for an additional challenge). There are varying tempos and specific restorative routines, so you can find something that matches your mood and needs. Not a fan of the deafening music that soundtracks many fitness classes? Liz, a music industry veteran, commissioned all the music you hear in the videos especially for TheOptimal.me.

There are exercises and adaptations for all fitness levels. IMRs are progressive, so you can improve or challenge yourself at your own pace. This is low impact work, but don’t mistake that for ineffective: you’ll sweat (maybe even swear) and definitely see changes.

The changes you feel are most significant. You’ll feel more stable, flexible, mobile, and strong. Balanced and focused. Empowered.

Visit TheOptimal.me and begin focusing on your functional movement now. It will serve you well today and into the future.

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