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.
Nature designed a beautiful and fool-proof way for newborn infants to develop into strong and capable children and then adults. A newborn human baby goes from completely helpless to walking in the first year of life because of this beautiful process. During the first year of life, this process involves 10 sequential yet overlapping phases of physical development which I discussed here. When this process happens as nature intended it, we get healthy, strong, and happy toddlers.
There are however 10 things that can hijack your baby's physical development which can mean your baby is not as healthy, happy, or strong as they could be. When this development is hijacked, your child might be more susceptible to injury, obesity, and chronic pain throughout life.
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:
We've all heard the saying "move it or lose it" but what do you do with that information and why is it the key to lifelong health?
Many people think move it or lose it means exercise regularly to maintain fitness. And while that is true, our health would benefit if we look at it much more closely. Our body is very specific and particular in how it responds to our environment. The human body is a stimulus response organism. That means your body responds to each and every stimulus it is exposed to. If we want to maintain our health and function, we need to move each and every part of our body through different and varied stimulus on a regular basis in order to maintain that function or not lose it.
To maintain ankle function we might want to take our ankle through the many different motions and demands it is designed to do. This could look like:
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.
As humans, there are certain things we need for survival (food, water, shelter) and there are other things we need to thrive and be healthy. One very important thing we all need if we are to maintain good health and be happy is community.
Community is a unified group of individuals, brought together by common location, history, characteristics, circumstance, interests, or goals.
Humans are social beings and we need to feel love and connection to other human beings. A community give us support, encouragement, love, and a sense of belonging. This gives us the very important messages that:
Community is the antidote to isolation, loneliness, and low social status, all of which have been shown to lower a person's sense of well-bring, intellectual achievement, immune function, and overall health.
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.
Yes, you read the title of this blog article correctly. As miserable as chronic pain can be physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and in every other way, I believe there are some very important things you can be thankful for when you're in chronic pain.
When you stop fighting chronic pain and make peace with it, listen to it, and use it for the reason it's there, everything gets better. If you are in chronic pain, as painful as it can be, stop for a minute and be thankful that your body is talking to you, your body has the ability to heal itself, and you are in charge of that process.
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.
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.