R11 – Remove Aches & Pains

Man Knee Pain

Stop Being a Pain

This has to be the most disregarded and overlooked LONGEVITY aspect EVER!!!

Before I reveal what it is, I pose a question to you…would you like to ache or be in agony every time you moved in just a few years’ time?

Would you like to struggle walking upstairs, tying your shoelaces, or even simply getting out of bed in the morning, at some point in your 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s?

Well, if you don’t look after your infrastructure then this will be you!

Your Critical Infrastructure

I define your infrastructure as your skeletal structure, abdominal muscles, ligaments, and joints.

These are so key to our mobility and without mobility, we are grumpy miserable buggers! Never mind not being able to do all the things you want to ever again.

We only get one body, so please treat it well. I’ve seen people treat a shitty new build Barratt Box house better than their bodies!

Ask yourself what’s the benefit of having a great mind plus highly functioning organs, if your body’s structure doesn’t work, giving you lots of pain every time you want to move!

This is what amazes me about a lot of the longevity stuff around, it misses this key point.

Stretch It Out

Number one on the list has to be stretching. This is key to keeping your body as you age flexible and stopping it from going stiff, yet so often overlooked! Which quite simply, is pure madness.

Like all things in my “R.I.O. for Longevity Guides”, the motivation for doing them and writing about them, is for you and me to live longer, however, what I find is that you get massive instant gratification as well!

It’s like sex, why has nature made that feel so good for us, well it’s as nature wants us to do it and do it lots, so we produce lots more mini versions of ourselves, to continue populating this planet!

Straight after stretching, I have these amazing waves of release, I can feel the tension leaving my body and it feels amazing! After my daily lying down on my back for 10 – 20 minutes with a book under my head, I can again feel the tension leave my lower back, plus you now get this great upright stance/forward head posture, which in turn makes you feel amazing & remove aches pains!

Though I appreciate this can’t be done yourself, I really enjoy having a massage, during it, you can feel the knots/tension being worked out of your body. Then afterward when you sit in your car to drive home, you feel so relaxed, with quite literally the weight of the world lifted from your shoulder blades!

Bend it Like Beckham…How’s Your Structure Today?

1.     Do any of your joints hurt? If so which ones?

2.     How long have the said joints hurt for?

3.     Do you have any stiff muscles?

4.     Which muscles are these and how long have you noticed this for?

5.     Do you slouch when standing?

6.     Do you slouch when sitting at your desk or driving your car?

7.     How would you rate your posture out of 10?

8.     How supportive would you rate your bed out of 10?

9.     Do you stretch, and if so, how often?

10. What muscles do you stretch?

11. Do you have regular massages? If so, what muscles do you focus on?

12. Do you lie down on the floor for 10 to 20 minutes with a book under your head regularly?

13. Do you eat food high in collagen or take collagen supplements regularly?

Stop Aches & Pain in the Future!

Ironically one of the best things you can do to reduce pain in your joints, even if you already have gotten to this point, is moving! For most people reading this, you hopefully haven’t gotten to this stage and the advice still sticks, just move. Movement provides your joints with more lubrication, so joints can move more smoothly.

I’ve covered movement in R10 – Remove Laziness as movement is so key to us humans living long, fulfilling, and most importantly healthy lives, so please just move and move regularly!

“R.I.O. for Longevity” is all about prevention rather than cure, so continuing my guides theme, here are some of the things I do (which means you can as well, plus they are cheap and easy to do!) to stop me from being a walking wreck in my 90s…

I don’t run for long distances as just like food, we have a limit to how much our bodies can take (for the time being until genome and stem cell therapy become readily available to all). By pounding your knees, hips, and ankles continuously, they are going to break down eventually. In the same way that you rub a piece of wood with sandpaper, eventually, it will wear out.

That being said, by having a great diet, running with great form, wearing excellent footwear, and choosing your running surface carefully, you will greatly improve your joints for decades to come.

Keeping this theme while moving away from long-distance running/endurance, if you choose low-impact activities and you don’t weigh a lot, this will also reduce the stress and strain on your joints, its basic gravity, allowing you to move freely for longer.

As I’ve said multiple times, this stuff is super simple in terms of health psychology, it just needs a little nudge in the right direction, which is these R.I.O for Longevity Guides (and my) job!

Stop Inflaming…

You’ve probably (I hope so) noticed by now, that inflammation seems to be a recurring theme with this whole living longer thing! Well, guess what…keeping inflammation under control now will stop you from aching and being super stiff as you age (as good as the latter may be for an erection in your 90s, your knees certainly won’t be thanking you!).

I remember as a child my father regularly eating vile-smelling sardines, stinking the kitchen out, then lecturing me about how good these are for your joints! Obviously, at the time I was just annoyed about the smell and completely ignored him, like a lot of teenage boys do to their parents at that age, however, the bugger was bloody right!

The omega 3 in sardines and other fish sources such as salmon, mackerel, etc plus avocados, nuts, and supplements, reduce inflammation in our joints as well as your blood, while also being amazing brain food!

Whilst on the topic of nutrients/supplements, collagen is an absolute wonder for your body! Most people who are familiar with collagen most likely will have heard about it from the benefits it provides to your skin. However, you will be more thankful for what it does to your joints than looking sparkling at 90!

Collagen is a glue (protein) that holds our body together. From around 20 years old, it decreases at the rate of around 1% per annum, so yes when you are 90 you have 70% less of the stuff! Not good.

However, we can replenish collagen through our diet as our bodies can make it from protein, vitamin C, and copper. Great sources of collagen include chicken, bone broth, fish, egg whites, and the form I take it in daily, grass-fed bone broth mixed with wild-caught fish powder.

By boosting our collagen, we are providing our cartilage with the resources to slow down the rate at which it thins, think of cartilage as a lubricant that allows our bones to move smoothly over and along the connecting bone e.g. your knees.

Stop Being a Stiffy

You may laugh at this, but I genuinely believe if the UK government provided a quarterly massage (or even annually) to people, then the NHS bill would be greatly reduced however they don’t, so here we go…

I have been having sports massages for almost a decade, it started off as just once a month. It wasn’t long before I realised this would be a key part of my longevity habits and needed to up my game. I then started having them every fortnight about 5 years ago, I realised this still wasn’t enough, so for the last year, I have been having a 1.5 hour sports massage weekly. Yes, I travel back home to Monmouthshire every week with a 3-hour round trip just to have a massage!

I am actively now looking for another massage therapist, as I will up this to twice a week as the great Marie (who I have been visiting for over a decade now), has no spare capacity, she even turned down a rugby international I sent her way recently, whereas most people would kill for high profile clients like this.

Every day that you are on the planet, you are exposing yourself to more factors that can cause muscle pain and stiffness. So, think to yourself, what happens if I let these cumulatively build up over not just years but decades? Think of it just like your “back pain” account, if you store up lots of tension and don’t expend it, then you will have a big store of muscle tension and neck pain, but unlike a large bank account, this one is not desirable.

Luckily sports massages/deep tissue massages are one of the best ways to release this severe pain, pressure, and stiffness. By having them regularly you are keeping on top of this build-up. If you don’t, the restriction in muscle movement will start to cause secondary effects, like restricting joint movement and in turn, the corresponding overcompensating on the opposing movement/side of your body. An escalating downward spiral…

However, this is not the only reason why I have regular deep tissue massages, by bringing this amount of blood to the muscles and surface of the skin, you bring oxygen and valuable nutrients to the skin, further increasing the quality of your skin, making you look super young when you are not!

Even more important than looking super young (when you are not!) is that you are removing toxins stored up in the muscles, the fact that the toxin guides are by far the longest modules in my model, “R.I.O. for Longevity” by some margin, speaks volumes about the effect of toxins on the body.

It reduces that “i” word…inflammation! Anything that reduces chronic pain and inflammation is a winner in my eyes…

I say this in a completely non-sexual manner, however, I believe for us humans, the physical therapy touch provided by massages is also amazing for us through the soothing and psychological benefits. Though I don’t want to go into this here, as it’s not what these physical therapist guides are about, they should however not be overlooked, especially for those lonely and their resultant wellbeing.

If that wasn’t enough for the hardest of hard nose sceptics, then it feels amazing having a sports massage, you are fully relaxed which is super amazing for stress levels and lowering them, the treatment feels good, and then finally when you come away you feel beautifully relaxed and calm.

Stop Being a Tight Arse

This is one of my favourite daily routines and it’s so, so important for you to do, while the great thing is that it can be done in under 5 minutes, yes that’s right, one of the most important daily things you could do for your body can be done in just a few minutes. Perfect!

As this is so important, I make sure I do this first thing in the morning as part of my longevity routine for a number of reasons. First, it’s done. Yes done, no excuses, no distractions. Banked for the day.

Second, it’s a great way to start the day feeling loose and energised.

A few little tips when you do stretch is please don’t bounce, as this can cause more damage than good, and ideally stretching proper alignment when the muscles are slightly warm (as opposed to cold).

Stretching has so many benefits I will try to keep this quick, they are as follows:

1.     Most people think of stretching as a way to minimise the risk of injury and they are quite right, it’s excellent for this and if we want to live “stronger for longer”, then avoiding injury is key to that!

2.     Release of tension headaches, I find when I’ve done a really good hamstring stretch, I can feel the pent-up tension in my lower back, just disappear, which feels amazing! Such a relief.

3.     Muscles for a lot of people, store bottled-up stress and emotions (this is why deep tissue massages are amazing!), resulting in your muscles becoming tighter. However, the more you stretch the less tense your pelvic floor muscles become.

4.     Increased blood supply which means, a better you! With your lovely blood comes oxygen and nutrients that supply the muscles with exactly what they need!

5.     Flexibility is the main reason I stretch, as I like the ease and freedom of movement. The more you stretch, the more flexible you become and therefore less stiff and it gets easier the more you do it!

6.     Tranquillity, by taking a few moments out of your day to focus on just stretching and not worry or think about day-to-day issues, you provide your mind with a mental break, feeling a lot calmer and relaxed.

7. This leads me on to my final point, jaw pain poor posture. If you have stiff and tight muscles, you can’t stand up straight correctly as you have short tight muscles literally pulling you back. You can release these tensions by using muscles efficiently, developing body awareness, and stretching.

Why Lying Down Will Improve Your Posture…

One of the things that have helped me to maintain good posture and to relieve any tension in my lower back, has been to lie down on my back on a firm floor preferably carpeted, with a book under my head and legs out straight. I had been doing this for years when someone suggested this is the Alexander Technique, however that practice has the knees raised up, though it is similar.

I do this with the legs stretched out, throughout my session, I will change the position of my legs from close together/parallel to wide apart and move my feet inwards to varying degrees, in order to change the release of tension from my lower back.

I do this for 10 – 20 minutes, 5 to 6 days a week however to get you into the habit, begin with just 1 to 2 minutes. One minute is better than none and in time, you will build a habit, then soon like me, you will feel the amazing benefits it has for your bad posture and the release of tension in your lower back, so you will happily build this up to 10 or 15 minutes before long.

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If you enjoyed this and think it will help improve your life, get more energy and live longer, then you will love my book STOP!! Killing Yourself…The Beginners Guide to Living Longer which is available on Amazon below.

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