Create change through movement!
The manner in which we move our bodies during our daily routine may contribute to muscular imbalances and chronic pain. Pain is often perpetuated because of the postural habits and movement patterns we have established in our bodies over time – sometimes beginning as a result of an injury or sometimes developing slowly as a result of poor posture.
The good news is that we can change these habits to create a better experience with movement. The tricky part about correcting faulty habits, is that we are often not aware of how we are moving. So the first step towards making a change, requires improving body awareness. The second step requires a concentrated effort to move your body with a different pattern. Eventually, the new pattern becomes the new habit!
Let’s take a look at ways to improve some simple movements that most of us do on a daily basis.
How do you bend over when you reach for something on the floor – we do this all the time, right? But next time, notice what is happening at your hips; are you tucking under? What about your knees; are they fully extended? Is your low back rounded too much?
Here’s a better tactic.
Start by bending your knees slightly and hinging at your hips (stick your hips back the way you do when you are starting to sit down). Use the muscles in your legs and hips to move your body. As a bonus, you are keeping your hip, knee and ankle joints healthy by moving them more often.
Do you sit down or lean against something when you are pulling on pants or socks? Don’t! Use this activity to improve your balance or make sure you are keeping it sharp.
Try it this way from now on.
Stay standing and balance on one leg and then the other while pulling on socks or pants. If you are unsteady, try gently tightening your glute muscles on the standing leg. If you still need to hold onto or lean against something so you don’t fall, that’s ok. Just keep practicing and your balance will improve – gradually, you won’t need any extra support.
How do you feel when you go up or down stairs? Or even up or down a curb? Do you feel unsteady or weak? Maybe your knees ache? Do you have to step sideways or rely too much on the railing?
Focus on strength to make it a bit easier (eventually).
Engage your core and glutes to stabilize your body. For going both up and down stairs, your glutes and legs should be generating most of the movement. They extend the hip and propel your body up and they work to control and stabilize your body on the way down. To practice, perform step-ups and step-downs while concentrating on maintaining your pelvis level (both sides the same height) and initiating the movement from the hip.
By changing your movement habits, you can improve your strength and balance and maybe eliminate some pain. Enjoy life more! I would love to hear about movement habits you have changed or are working to change and how your body feels now, so feel free to share below.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about movement training or pain management, give me a call.
* Please note that these suggestions are for those without any significant medical or physical conditions or injuries.