Updated: Jul 17
Ever see a really good mover? When he walks, he glides, when he runs, he's swift. He has a general air of life to him. Think Wayne Gretzky. Hockey fan, or not, it was hard to pry your eyes from him, as he skated like magic on the ice. Turn's out there's more to that unnamable something you're seeing - movement is the currency of health!
Compelling research highlights the importance of gait (walking pattern), as an indicator for declining health, across age groups. When you consider that any movement, like walking, requires the interplay of many of your organs, and systems (bones, heart, lungs, nervous system, muscles, vision, vestibular, etc...) it makes a lot of sense that when you're declining on the inside, your movement patterns decline on the outside.
There is a lot to consider when retraining movement for optimal health, but first you need a starting point. Here are three things to consider and get you started.
1. Alignment: What is Your Posture Saying About You?
Posture is useful, because it tells the story of your body’s movement habits, and efficiency, creating a narrative about how your joints spend their time. Joints have positions of optimal function, in relation to how corresponding muscles, tendons, and ligaments are positioned around them. Poor alignment means decreased range of motion, and less power from muscles, ease of movement, and circulation of fluids, and oxygen.
Several studies have investigated body posture and emotional states. Most notably, posture can affect mood, and memory recall. A mere shift from a slouched to upright posture, can change your mood, so significantly, this activity is being considered as part of treatment for depression.
2. Neuromuscular Activation/Inhibition: Who’s overworked? Who’s Asleep?
For various reasons, muscles can become inhibited, while other muscles overworked. At this stage, life gets complicated for your health care practitioner. Did the inhibition happen because you sat at your desk for too many hours? Or is this the sign of something internal? Maybe it’s both. Just because a muscle is over-activated, doesn’t mean it’s strong. It could be weak and tight, so do you strengthen, or stretch? How to proceed isn’t always straight forward, but furthering your movement story, with the ‘who’, and ‘what’ is essential to maintaining efficient movement.
3. Input/Output and Your Brain
Movement is a habit built by the brain. Your brain receives up to twenty million signals per second from your body’s sensory equipment. The signals are then integrated into a map your brain uses to operate you. Good input means detailed maps, and solid output. However, if your brain receives poor input, it gives poor output, which for the body means poor movement, and sometimes pain.
Build a program for better movement tailored just for you! Contact Christy Erasmus today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Daniel K. White, Tuhina Neogi, Michael C. Nevitt, Christine E. Peloquin, Yanyan Zhu, Robert M. Boudreau, Jane A. Cauley, Luigi Ferrucci, Tamara B. Harris, Susan M. Satterfield, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Elsa S. Strotmeyer, Yuqing Zhang, Trajectories of Gait Speed Predict Mortality in Well-Functioning Older Adults: The Health, Aging and Body Composition Study, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 68, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 456–464, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/gls197
2. Studenski S, Perera S, Patel K, et al. Gait Speed and Survival in Older Adults. JAMA. 2011;305(1):50–58. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1923
3. Studenski S. Gait Speed Reveals Clues to Lifelong Health. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(10):e1913112. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.13112
5. Peper E, Lin I-M, Harvey R, Perez J. How Posture Affects Memory Recall and Mood. Biofeedback. 2017;45(2):36. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=133920852&site=eds-live. Accessed June 22, 2020.