Last week we talked about how our senses stop registering a reaction to the pressures that can be caused by common movement habits. Meaning that even if the hamstrings and spine are actually a bit stressed by long term sitting they do not necessarily set off any alarm bells - at least not until there is a high enough level of friction that we are forced to respond. But there is another factor too, our bodies adjust the length of tissues to correspond to what we are regularly asking of them. Yes..... if you don't move it, you can lose it (but if you try sometimes, to re-align, you'll get what you need.......apologies to the Rolling Stones).
What we are doing with our bodies most of the time is going to be the deciding factor when it comes to the length of our tissues. In relationship to mobility, this means that if you sit in a chair for much of the day you will gradually develop short hamstrings (amongst other things). Put on a pair of shoes with any size heel and that will be a contributing factor too. You are telling your body - "hey, this is all the back of leg length I need" - and your body responds by adjusting the length of the tissues (for owners of Move Your DNA, look up Sarcomeres and find out even more. I might write a blog on Sarcomeres next year, I just need to gauge how much detail people really do want. Ian and Lucy tell me, "not that much".)
The work that we do concentrates on several key factors to restoring range of movement. Our Gait Basics exercises (as the minimum, there are lots more to play with too) remind our tissues what length you would like them to be by gradually loading your body in healthier ranges. Remember, these exercises are not something we would need in an ideal movement world (one more closely aligned to the optimal function of our machines). We are topping up our movement diet with daily vitamins.
We also work to alleviate the tensions that can contribute to unhealthy movement habits as we focus on moving more every day. This allows our nervous system to feel that these new ways of moving are both possible and even beneficial, as we look to unwind the habits of compensation that contributed to us limiting our movements in the first place.
HOMEWORK WEEK 7 - SERIES 4, 2015
You can work with your entire Gait Basics, Week 1 handout sequence each day now. Each week I add a bonus exercises to play with.
- Foot Alignment
- Calf Stretch
- Foot Stretch
- Double Calf Stretch
- Knee Cap Lift and Lower
- Monster Walk
Bonus Extras (you can fit these exercises into your day as time permits, remember it doesn't need to be a formal practice):
- Hand Stretch (This is the calf stretch for your upper body!)
- Standing Arm Swing (or start bringing it into your daily walks)
- Stomach Release
- Rhomboid Push Up
Lie back with arms overhead. Keep both hips and shoulders on the floor. Bend into the shape of a "C". If bending to the right, cross the left ankle over the top of the right ankle (avoid if you have had a hip replacement or if uncomfortable). Repeat on the other side.