Structured Movement

In my practice of treating biomechanical and postural issues, I often see problems associated with underlying imbalances. Ankle, knee, hip or back restrictions or malalignments can be indicators of disability and compensation. Often, there is a need for specific stretching or exercise to mobilize and strengthen stiff or weak structures.

It sometimes seems like the body has a mind of its own, separate from your consciousness. With this mind, it recognizes when movement is hard or painful and finds a more economical, less painful way of doing it.

This is what compensation is all about. The body does not ask permission; it just does it. The way to stop these compensations from becoming permanent disabilities is to recognize them early and take corrective action.

Balance is extremely important, and as we age, we tend to become more timid and cautious about it. The fear of falling and hurting ourselves can reduce our confidence and lower our self-esteem. This may present as a social inhibitor, possibly causing anxiety and depression. A common scenario is an active person going through an illness or injury and losing their conditioning.

It does not happen overnight and can occur at any age, making you feel like things are only getting worse, especially if you don’t have a supportive and stimulating environment. It takes very little to get on a positive track. Encouragement from a spouse, partner or friend, someone to walk and talk with. Laughter, breath and movement are the main ingredients for better health.

What is Structured Movement?

Structured movement is any type of repetitive stretching or exercise that involves your core as well as your limbs. A major principle of this type of movement is Dynamic neuromuscular stabilization or DNS. The concept is that any malfunctioning muscle or group that requires compensation gets it from allied muscles for strength and structures (joints and bone alignment) for position. Since your center of gravity resides in the core, you have more control over compensation if the core is strong and healthy.

If you go to the gym regularly, you can take advantage of Pilates, Yoga or minimal-impact Aerobics. Hopefully, you may have a walking track in your community so that you can do your laps or stretch out and power walk at any time of year. Whether it’s in a group, with an instructor or a home practice, once you ‘get into it’, the exhilaration of breath and movement will be encouraging.

I frequently recommend Yoga, for it has become more accessible over the years. As a therapeutic modality, it benefits the mind as well as the body. Practice can be “Yang” (strength and balance) or “Yin” (stretch and breath) oriented. Or a combination of both.

Your metabolism will eventually find the blend that works for you. Just don’t let anyone try to convince you that there is a “correct “way to do this. Each path is individual, and you will have to discover it at your own speed and interest.

I tell all my clients that ‘you have to train to grow old’. We were designed to move, and if we are to grow old gracefully, then we must try to move gracefully too.

Posted in , , on July 24, 2023