When most of us work out, we’re focused on building strength and achieving other performance goals, like running faster or increasing our flexibility. But these short-term aims should only be part of the equation. A well-rounded fitness approach also includes taking care of our foundation—our muscles and joints—by future-proofing our body.
The concept of future-proofing the body was created by Vinh Pham, DPT, founder of Myodetox, and “simply means taking care of your body to avoid problems in the future,” he explains. Consider how you brush your teeth daily, future-proofing them, to maintain and improve your oral health—the same should be done for your muscles with a regular movement routine, says Dr. Pham.
“Want to avoid cavities and have a great smile? Brush and floss your teeth every day. Want to avoid muscle aches, neck and lower back pain, and be able to exercise efficiently? Spend 10 to 20 minutes a day doing a muscular hygiene routine,” says Dr. Pham.
One of the great and sometimes challenging things about wellness is that the options are endless (sometimes too much). But investing in your well-being and future-proofing your muscles by incorporating dynamic stretching and mobility exercises into your current routine takes no more than 10 to 20 minutes.
The benefits of future-proofing your body
Naturally, taking care of your health, whether it’s your mental health or your physical health, means you’ll be improving your well-being. In the short term, taking care of your muscles and joints will help you move better and more efficiently day to day, reducing your risk of injury and pain. In the long term, you’ll protect your muscles and joints from unnecessary wear and tear, helping to avoid permanent damage, explains Dr. Pham.
Future-proofing your body will also help you refine your body awareness, ensuring that you’re performing everyday movements properly and avoiding poor habits (like slouching or disengaging your core), which will also help you prevent injury and pain.
How to future-proof your body
You don’t need any fancy equipment or workout gear to start future-proofing your body. To reap the benefits, Dr. Pham recommends implementing a daily routine to counter the effects of being more sedentary than in the past.
“As little as five to 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in how well you walk, run, and carry yourself in the yoga studio or gym,” says Dr. Pham. He recommends focusing on the following exercises:
- Neck strengthening moves like controlled head circles and chin tucks
- Mid-back rotations like side-lying spinal twists
- Hinging movements—like bodyweight deadlifts and glute bridges—for the posterior chain (your low back, glutes, and hamstrings)
- Dynamic hip flexor stretches like kneeling lunges
In addition to doing these exercises, Dr. Pham stresses the importance of working with qualified healthcare providers to help guide and progress you through an individualized movement routine.
“In general, working with these types of whole-body movements, and having the right team of healthcare professionals, can help protect you from the negative effects of sitting too long and the overall tension you accumulate from everyday exercises like walking, running, and strength training.”
Dr. Pham’s goal is simple: He wants daily movement routines to be as universal as brushing your teeth. Ready to get started with your own future-proofing regimen? Follow along with this 11-minute mobility routine:
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