For all the newcomers heading into fitness and wellness programs, it is a daunting task to know what is right for your body type and personality. Do you want to be active in a team sport or do you simply want to live a healthy, active lifestyle just to be able to lead a more functional and productive life? You want to start a training program and you want to train in a physically intelligent manner avoiding injuries. Your goal is to improve your health, become faster or more powerful in your sport or simply to lead the best life you can.
Regardless of why you train, you want to perform better, move without impediment, and generally feel better, no matter what age you are.
The foundation of all fitness and wellness programs is mobility training.
You need to know where your resistance is and how this is affecting and limiting your gross movements and actions. Once you have identified those restrictions through muscle and joint testing it is then easy to gently and specifically, layer by layer, release and unwind the structures that are dysfunctional.
Optimise your movement
Pre-habilitation programs are preparations for any type of physical activity you wish to undertake. We regularly take our cars for annual MOT check-ups or we go to the dentist for bi-annual clean ups and checks, but we rarely screen our body mechanics or our muscle imbalances to spot the body asymmetries that are the prime cause of most mobility issues.
Movement specialists and sports rehab specialists now include analyzing movement and predicting injury risk, determining areas of potential injury, addressing strength imbalances, and improving posture, performance, and health.
If you optimise your movement you will lose the resistance that you didn’t know you had until it was released. Only then will you realize the importance of unrestricted mobility as the goal for every single physical activity that you do. Thanks to the increased knowledge gained in the field of Sports performance, movement specialists know what to look for in terms of poor gait and poor mechanics and how this leads to joint and soft tissue dysfunction even though you may not be experiencing any pain or irritation as of now.
It is only a question of time before discomfort manifests itself.
Quality of movement is key
We know that muscles and soft tissue do not work in isolation.
The “Tensegrity” model of the body (literally tensional integrity) states that our structure is based on the premise that the integrity and continuity of a structure is due to its tensional elements:
Strings, wires, and other sorts of lines connect with each other and sustain continual tension by the hard pieces of the structure. When mis-alignment in the body occurs,
A “Tensegrity” structure can disintegrate into a compressional structure, in which we commonly call the ‘ageing process.’ Every part of every system in our body works in unison and in sync with each other.
This is precisely why you can’t look at or train muscles in isolation. This is also why dysfunction in one remote part of the body can and will lead to dysfunction somewhere entirely remote from the point of resistance.
It is also why we can’t rehabilitate muscles or joints in isolation following an injury. An injury simply never happens in isolation. Research shows that localized muscle pain can actually change EMG activity in a muscle synergist where no pain is present.
This means that the non-painful synergist muscles undergo increased loads following injury in order to compensate for the muscles that have pain.
Humans don’t move enough or at least they don’t move well enough in the normal planes of motion. Most people sit all day, creating muscle imbalances that affect how we move.
We now have to compensate elsewhere to maintain mobility and movement.
Optimising movement to improve your health
Functional fitness and functional flexibility training with active and dynamic full-body movements improve alignment, stability, and mobility. These movements should be designed to mimic what we do in daily life.
Pre-habilitation means injury prevention
Modern movement specialists have a unique set of skills when it comes to injury prevention. Movement is crucial for our health, but it also tells us so much. It can tell us if there is a dysfunction through pain, imbalance, instability, or mobility restrictions. When we look at movement, we can see if further assessment is required to pinpoint a potential problem, potential source of injury, or source of pain.
Movement can hurt us if it is done incorrectly, but correcting the dysfunction can prevent pain and injury from ever occurring.
Are we moving efficiently without major compensations, imbalances, or restrictions? Traditionally pain management programs tend to be reactive. You get hurt, you have pain, and you seek help. But why wait for the injury to occur when you can prevent it from happening? Hands on manual therapy and movement improvement modalities are where we are focused today. Patients and clients get better in less time, experience less pain, become better aware of their body, and are more excited to improve their movement as well as prevent future injuries from happening. Screening your movement and determining if you have any muscle imbalances not only helps you prevent injury from occurring, but it also helps you break through your fitness limitations.
This is a new age of intelligent physical therapy leading to physical intelligence. Clients know what to do when and how to do it and how to rest and rehab themselves after strenuous exercise.
Monitor your movement system
Take your healthcare back into your own hands. Learn how important your musculoskeletal health and the improvement to your mobility is when it comes to your overall quality of health.
At Stretch, our mobility training is combined with Active Assisted Stretching to optimise your flexibility, strength and stability. Find out more here