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Moving Your Body: What’s FUNCTION Got To Do With It?

by | Jun 10, 2015 | No Comments

When you are out for a jog, playing tennis or hiking up a mountain, have you ever stopped think about HOW exactly you move your body?  Chances are if you are reading this blog, you have an active lifestyle and you appreciate moving your body whether it be in a workout, sports or recreational activity.

Why is Functional Movement Important?

Getting exercise and movement is an important part of keeping your body healthy and vibrant. You might believe that automatically our bodies work well, after all, you don’t really think much about moving your arms and legs when you are running to catch a bus. Generally however this is not the case. From the time of our birth, we develop strength in some muscles and foster weaknesses in others. Lack of exercise or injuries can further encourage the body’s ability to develop in a less than balanced way. As a result, without learning to move using FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT we never fully use optimal form or proper body mechanics.

Bad posture, weak muscles and negatively reinforced repetitive patterns of movement causes a cascade in our body that limits space for our bones to move freely, and inhibits the muscles attached to the bones resulting in limits in our range of motion as well as muscular imbalances. This in turn can cause injuries, yet ironically the body has been conditioned to accept these poor habits as “THE WAY” to move.

One Yoga Student's Experience

Consider an example of a recent Del Mar yoga student who was unaware of his walking pattern in which his right foot turns out significantly more than his left. As a result of years of walking this way, the cushioning within his right hip has literally been grinded away slowly and the cascade of problems resulted in severe low back pain, as well as imbalances in the shoulders. In working with this student we developed specific exercises to call attention to his walking pattern, starting with awareness at the feet, and focusing on increasing hamstring strength and decreasing hip flexor tightness. He is literally learning how to walk again in a functional way in order to alleviate his low back pain.

Movement is a complex thing: It can involve the entire body which is truly a system of push and pull systems that allow us to to move efficiently. Every time you move your body whether it is in a yoga class, playing sports, going for a walk, sitting at your desk, or even typing on your computer, you should be paying attention to how your muscles are being used to improve your form and function for a healthy body.

Unlock Repetitive Patterns

If you are experiencing pain or have a nagging injury that just seems to never go away, there is a good chance that part of your functional movement system has been locked into a negative repetitive pattern. This might be due to muscle weakness or tightness, or a joint with poor functioning. The good news is that things can change! The first step is to understand your current posture and the habits of how you move your body. Working with a professional that understands functional movement, a series of exercises to establish and maintain new muscle habits can be rapidly designed to get you on the road to rehabilitation and increase your strength and flexibility.

For more information on how to bring Functional Movement into your workout routine as well as daily life, please contact Inhale Yoga & Fitness for a consultation, or attend one of our many iStrengthen&Lengthen classes. We look forward to helping you move well!

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