We all want to be flexible. Flexibility is beautiful. Flexibility helps with injury prevention. Flexibility improves performance. People who have flexibility are graceful, fluid, and effortless in their movements.
But what creates flexibility? How can we gain flexibility and maintain flexibility?
This month I am going to highlight the Bear Crawl. The Bear Crawl is an amazing e-cise that almost everyone can do, but many people do it incorrectly.
When done correctly, the Bear Crawl has many benefits and can improve movement, posture, and performance. When done incorrectly, the Bear Crawl can reinforce bad movement patterns, poor posture, and cause pain and injury.
With 206 bones, over 300 joints, and over 600 muscles, the human body is designed to move. Movement is what keeps our bones, joints, and muscles healthy. When a joint stops moving things start to break down and get weaker. Bones lose density. Muscles lose strength and size. Cartilage thins. Bad things happen.
Yes, there are times when immobilization is helpful and a good idea. If you break your arm it's a good idea to get a cast to protect your arm as it heals. If you severely sprain your ankle it can be helpful to wear an ankle brace for a week or two. But most immobilization we experience is not that type, but rather body casts that we don't even think about. Anything that limits joint movement is a body cast and will have negative effects on the body.
Here are examples of things that cast or hold the body in a certain position or limit movement:
You have a newborn baby and want more than anything that he/she grows up to be a healthy and happy child and then adult. In this blog I am going to explain the important phases of gross physical development that are the essential to developing a strong and capable body. Missing or skipping these developmental stages can mean less efficient movement patterns, being more injury prone, and being more likely to develop physical pain throughout life.
To fully develop their physical strength and function needed for life, your baby should go through and master each of theses phases: wiggle & kick; superman & swimming; rock & roll; army crawl; crawling; sitting up; squatting & standing; cruising; walking; running; and jumping.
Our feet are our connection to the earth and when they are not functioning well it has a negative impact throughout our body. I am going to explain how Supine Foot Circles and Point Flexes helps to restore normal foot function and links that together with normal knee and hip function.
What does it mean to be fit? Healthy? Well? Can you be one without the other?
The fitness industry and our culture teach us that fitness is having six-pack-abs, defined triceps, and a good tan.
Fitness by this definition in no way means that being "fit" also means you are healthy. A person can be a very fit marathon runner (Jim Fixx, Alberto Salazar, Micah True), cyclist (Scott Ellis, Leonard Zinn), or fitness pro (Bob Harper) and still be unhealthy and suffer a heart attack.
Health is defined as the absence of disease or being free of injury and illness. Being healthy again doesn't mean one is "well". Plenty of healthy people are not well.
I would further define wellness as being free from limitations, thriving, and enjoying peace of mind.
Listen to Pete Egoscue, founder of the Egoscue Method and Posture Alignment Therapy, and Paul Tudor Jones, billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist, discuss Egoscue's simple solution to chronic pain at the J.P. Morgan Robin Hood Investors Conference.
If you suffer from chronic pain or injuries and would like to restore your posture as Pete Egoscue describes and live a pain free life contact me for a free posture evaluation. Your free posture evaluation can be done in my Portland, Oregon clinic or via Skype or FaceTime from anywhere in the world.
Continuing my series of blog posts about how the body works as a unit and how posture deviations in one area cause reactions throughout the body, today I'm going to focus on the relationship between the upper back and shoulders.
Here are the first three blog posts in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to how the body works as a unit
Part 2: Foot and leg posture
Part 3: Hip and spine posture
The upper back or thoracic spine is intimately related with the shoulder complex including the scapula, clavicle, and humerus and any injury or pain symptom in this area can only be effectively treated by looking at the entire upper body as a unit.
The Downward Dog is one of the oldest, most known, and most practiced yoga poses and for good reason. The Downward Dog when done correctly has many positive effects on posture and function.
The Downward Dog addresses two of the most common imbalances people have: hip disparities and sitting induced chronic flexion.
About Matt Whitehead
I'm an Egoscue University certified Postural Alignment Specialist (PAS) and Advanced Exercise Therapist (AET), certified personal trainer, PatchFitness performer, FiveFingers wearer, trail runner, cyclist, dad, music lover, environmentalist, hiker, and wanna-be slam dunk champion. I will be providing you with the latest posture exercises to help you live, play, and be pain free.