Brush Your Teeth, Brush Your Body
Nobody—at least nobody I know—loves brushing their teeth. But nobody complains about it either. We all do it because it’s a habit and we know it’s good for us. And because of our habit, we’re able to preserve our pearly whites for decades longer than they were designed to last.
Now, we need to start doing the same for our body.
To keep our bodies from decaying we need to develop the habit of “brushing our body” with an easy daily mobility routine.
Why A Daily Mobility Routine?
When we don’t follow a daily mobility routine, the damage to our bodies is similar to what happens to our teeth when we don’t brush them. Our joints build up the equivalent of plaque, get stiff and brittle, and start to hurt, often excruciatingly.
So if you have back, shoulder, or knee pain or stiffness or you want to remain active as you age, you should start “brushing your body” as often as you brush your teeth.
Otherwise you body’s going to look and feel like the equivalent of this guy’s teeth:
How to Get Started
If you’ve ever tried teaching a kid to brush their teeth, or you still remember being taught yourself, you know that developing the habit isn’t easy. The same applies for any habit. So to get started with a daily mobility routine, here are some tips:
Pick a Time
Most of us brush our teeth at roughly the same time every day. We should do the same with our daily mobility routine. This will set a cue that will make it harder for us to forget.
No excuses. You’ve managed to find time to brush your teeth your whole life, so you can manage to find time to brush your body. Do it while you watch TV in the evening, before getting in the shower in the morning, or while you’re waiting for your dog to take a shit at the park. You have plenty of times in the day where you can squeeze in a daily mobility routine. Pick one.
Pick a Routine…
We’re so used to brushing our teeth that we can do it mindlessly. The same can be possible with a daily mobility routine. Follow the same mobility routine every day and stick to it until it becomes second nature.
Keep reading to find an expert-recommended routine below.
…But Start Mindfully
Early on you can expect to be as awkward and ineffective with your daily mobility routine as a kid is when they start brushing their teeth.
It takes mindful repetiton to develop the proper movement patterns, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it.
Maybe you’ll even be able to brush your teeth and do your mobility routine at the same time!
If you knew someone who had gone their whole life without brushing your teeth, you’d probably recommend they see a dentist, right?
The same goes for your body.
A physical trainer will help you spot and fix any major issues in your body and ensure you brush your body in the optimal way.
And just to be clear: Not having the time or money to see a trainer doesn’t excuse you from starting today with your daily mobility routine. You wouldn’t tell the person who’s never brushed their teeth before to not bother starting until they’ve seen a dentist, would you?
Sorry, Your Sport Doesn’t Count
Some people I’ve talked to about starting a daily mobility routine tell me something like, “Cool idea, Chris. I already do [insert sport or training here] every day, so I don’t need to. But yeah, lazy people totally should do that.”
No, no, no.
That’s like saying. “Chris, I’m a vegetarian, so I only have to brush my teeth once a week.”
It’s just as important to have a daily mobility routine if you already do some sort of exercise as it is if you don’t. That’s because, unless your sport is yoga, your sport engages in a limited range of motion. A daily mobility routine will help ensure the joints you don’t use as much stay in working order too.
Try This Easy Daily Mobility Routine
Since I don’t even know exactly how to brush my teeth let alone brush my body, I asked an expert, Seattle-based performance coach Luka Hocevar, for and easy daily mobility routine that anyone can follow. He’s it the one who introduced me to the concept of “brushing your body” on episode 275 of Shawn Stevenson’s podcast, The Model Health Show.
Luka sent me the below routine. It’s about 50 seconds long so loop through it until five minutes are up.
Don’t worry if you struggle with some of these movements and don’t look or feel as graceful as Luka. You’ll likely be closer to the kid in the first video brushing her teeth than an expert.
With time you’ll get the hang of it. And your body will feel better than ever.
If you don’t like this routine or start getting bored of it, I have good news. Unlike brushing your teeth, the amount of ways you can brush your body are unlimited.
Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late
It’s hard to believe that just over a hundred years ago only 93% of Americans didn’t brush their teeth.
Hopefully in a hundred years we’ll look back on today and think the same about “brushing our bodies” with a daily mobility routine. At that point maybe we’ll even be posting cute YouTube videos of kids learning how.
But don’t wait until everybody else is doing it and let your body suffer as a result. Be like one of the 7% of early tooth brushers. Changing culture and habits starts one person and one day at a time.