You’ve gotten it all your life, from parents, significant others, and especially your chiropractor: stand (or sit) up straight! By now the word is out there on how important body positioning (i.e. posture) can be with regard to your health status. So does poor posture create poor movement? Or is our less than stellar movement quality leading to compensatory postures that will likely lead to pain? We have to look at it from both sides, however virtually every task we complete requires some form of dynamic stability. This means we are rarely require to sit or stand completely still while completing a task. Typing, reading, sleeping, and sitting for relaxation are a few examples, but sitting or standing still for too long is never encouraged. Thus, there is much more to posture than simply pulling your shoulders back and lifting your chin. Maintaining safe and fluid posture does not come easily anymore, as we are all prone to inactivity either at work or during leisure. As technology continues to grow, the need for physical labor and constant movement consistently decrease. Therefore, we must adapt and train our bodies to perform our activities of daily living effectively and effortlessly. Although this requires a certain level of effort and dedication, the payoff is that you have no wasted time due to nagging pains and injuries that stem from improper movement quality.
In adults, the most fundamental movement pattern requiring an active control of postural stability is gait, or how you walk. There is an abundance of research analyzing gait and attempting to correct flawed patterns. Every individual, however, has a unique movement pattern based on their anatomical make-up. This lends a challenge to the research industry in conducting applicable studies that are effective and transferrable between populations. The other entity that is challenged is the treating clinician in his attempt to resolve gait issues, because each case must be paid special attention. This warrants the need for thorough assessment not only of the walking pattern, but also of other movement patterns fundamental to movement. As humans, we all develop in the exact same order. Some begin developing earlier than others, but in general we all need to roll over before we crawl, crawl before walk, and so on. Considering this, occasionally we will need to revert back to these infantile movement patterns in order to correct a current flaw in movement. It’s not that you can’t walk without being able to squat deep down to your heels, but lacking that fundamental movement will only allow your vulnerabilities to emerge in the form of aches, pains, and tightness/stiffness. If you want to be able to bend, squat, lift, and reach successfully and safely, you have to first restore movement quality starting with the basics. It comes back to the old homage that sometimes you have to regress in order to progress.
Here’s a link to Functional Movement Systems™ with a great exercise library full of functional exercises that get you back to basics:
You can even filter each exercise by body part, body position, and movement pattern correction. Although this a fantastic resource for home exercises, always consult with your physician before beginning an exercise program. NEVER blindly jump into an exercise before you know what your goals are and what you are trying to accomplish. Happy moving!