A Thought On Movement, Injury and Betterment
Written by Coach Taylor – an oddly proportioned adult in constant battle with a multitude of mobility issues from years of poor sitting, standing, walking, running, etc.
Injuries, tight muscles and even the odd strained ligament are simply a part of life. We sit down for too long, sleep or stand up the wrong way; next thing we know something doesn’t feel right. In many cases, these situations are arguably unavoidable, or at the least unknowable. For this article’s sake, let’s call these unfavorable occurrences “tipping points”. Now, all that being said…
There are a multitude of factors that lead up to these tipping points, many of which we can control by being actively aware of how we move, why we move and how to maintain a level of general preparedness in the most basic static positions such as sitting and standing; and the same goes for the most basic movements. By basic movements, I’m not talking about push-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc… I am talking about acts or movements such as sitting, standing, walking, running, bending, pulling, pushing and even how we walk up and down stairs.
Throughout our every day lives we are for the most part either turned-off or on automatic with these activities; we simply have other things to worry about or do. At a young age we master the ability to play, walk, run, etc. with near perfect movement mechanics and do so essentially through trial and error. Couple that with the optimal mobility and body composition that comes with toddlers and adolescence, and we figure that we’re good for life… But boy are we wrong! As we grow up, our bodies develop out of the standardized form into our own unique combinations of limb lengths, spinal structures, muscle/ligament formations. Plus, let’s add an ever decreasing awareness of engagement in why/how we move and a decline in our general activity due to the work/life needs of teenage or adulthood and… boom! We have become prime candidates for injury occurrence and it’s only now a matter of time before an act or event ‘tips’ the scale.
So It’s All Over Then…
Now, I’m not saying we’re a disaster waiting to happen or that we should spend an inordinate amount of time focusing of how we move to the point where our lives and happiness start to deteriorate. But what I am saying is let’s be more engaged and less automatic in our every day lives. Let’s take ownership over our bodies and the positions we put ourselves in and let’s, for the sake of the more spiritual and philosophical side, take pride in our movement and not just what we’re wearing when we move.
- Be More Engaged
Be more engaged in the every day activities that we do and understand how to apply proper mechanics to improve our overall well-being and minimize the reasonable potential for injury
i.e. instead of reading a blog today on shoes, celebrities or god forbid what they call the “news”… search “how to sit in a chair” or “how to walk” and read a couple well informed articles or even blogs and start actively applying them to real life.
Active strength + coordination + muscle recruitment = engagement
- Take Ownership
99.9% of us don’t have perfect mobility and those that are close likely work on it in some fashion regularly (stretching, yoga, etc.). Thus, we all have some muscular issues or discomforts to work through. So, WORK ON THEM! It’s very likely that reoccurring injuries or discomforts are being caused not by tipping point action but by the way we repeatedly move elsewhere throughout the day, day in and day out.
We put ourselves in these positions; we are our own cause for discomfort; and it is on us to make a change to our lifestyles and movement patterns if we are to overcome that.
Example: I keep hurting back… How do you sit, sleep and pick things up?
Example: My hips are always tight… How do you sit, stand and walk/run?
Example: I always get shoulder pain from XYZ… How do you drive, type and pull open doors?
- Take Pride In Movement
Let’s please stop using these repeat injuries, discomforts and mobility issues as excuses and as the primary reason to seek professional help. Instead, let’s start thinking of movement as a point of pride and seeking professional help with the purpose of maintenance and continuous improvement.
A 1-hour massage, 45 minute physio treatment and 30 minute chiropractic adjustment every two weeks is not going to fix repeatedly poor movement habits. And neither are ice baths, heat baths or complaining about the issues.
Yes, all of these treatments are going to feel great and have their purpose but they are not changing you outside the treatment room. So unless you want this to be your weekly schedule for the rest of your life, let’s get to work. There are much more enjoyable things in life rather that lying on a table 2-3 hours a week.
Where Do We Go From Here…
- Find the source of the problem (not the tipping point) and seek good, QUALIFIED, professional help to diagnose and recommend an improvement plan for the trouble area(s) that will help you maintain a better body and better quality of life. Chiropractors, physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, etc. are there to diagnose and help start you in the right direction and help along the way. But repeating the same actions and expecting different results in your every day life is what Albert Einstein defined as “insanity”.
- Corrections should come before prescriptions. By this I mean don’t rely on some magic drugs or quick stretches to fix the movement patterns you’ve developed over the course of your life. It takes time and effort to make a lasting change. So, put the work in and move safely above all else; particularly when moving fatigued or on automatic.
- Change the way you sit, stand, walk, run, jump, sleep, get out of bed, walk up the stairs, pick things up, etc. and the way you think about these actions. Do some research, ask a professional and make a change; then re-apply the universal principles of movement to other facets of life. You will not be disappointed!
This is of course the opinion of one individual and meant more to inspire change than present and defend a scholarly article or in-depth research on the subject matter.
The point is to inspire better movement and engagement throughout our active lives.
At Crossfit Corydon…
At CFC, as in many crossfit and functional fitness oriented gyms and facilities, we work on this every day. CFC follows a 4-6 week progressive movement and mobility cycle, programmed by our coaching team that pairs with our work and warm ups. We target a different area or mobility issue each week and encourage taking the additional time before and after classes to stick around and use our space!
Sounds like a great place to start.
Email us for details on our next on-ramp (4 week intro program) or to schedule a ‘No-Sweat’ consultation with a coach to talk about your fitness goals.