Is your body moving at it's best?
Peak performance is best achieved when you are looking at all aspects of your Health, Strength, and Vitality. It’s not only about making sure you rest well, think well and eat well, but also making sure you’re moving well.
How do you know if you're moving well?
Try the following movements...
- Can you turn your head and torso evenly to both sides?
- Can you see to reverse your car by turning just your head? Or do you use your mirrors because your neck/ back is stiff?
- Can you touch, or at least get close to the floor, when bending forward from the hips? How flexible are your hamstring muscles?
- Can you sit comfortably on the floor in a cross-legged position?
- Can you lift your arms evenly above your head?
If you found any of these movements difficult, or uneven, then chances are there is an imbalance in your body indicating that things are not working quite as well as they could be.
What does this mean for you?
There a few options here. The first option being a possibility of having a neuro-biomechanical restriction.
Often, a tight muscle is actually the body’s response to stablise an area by up-regulating neuromotor tone- i.e. your body is keeping it tight for a reason! This is particularly common for shoulder muscles, hip flexor muscles, core and lower back muscles, to name just a few!
So, if your body is keeping a muscle tight for a reason, then WHAT is the REASON? WHY does your body need to continually stabilize that area?
Functional neurological imbalances are often the cause of improper muscle tone and faulty movement patterns. This is often seen as a joint restriction- something not moving in its full range of movement.
If a joint is not moving through its full range of movement, it can create not only tension through the muscles and ligaments, but also tension around the nervous and lymph systems.
Say, for example, that you are running water through a hose. If you kink the hose, the water will stop running- This is more of a hard neurological sign, and not a functional change which we are talking about here. A functional change would be the equivalent of putting a twist through the hose, and changing how the water comes out at the other end. There is still water coming out, but it is different to the way it went in.
If there is tension or congestion around a nerve (and where the nerve is not physically being compressed), it may change the messages running along the nerve. This can result in a muscle being told to fire more, or less- ultimately contributing to fatigue and dysfunction.
Neuro-biomechanical dysfunctions are exactly what Chiropractors are trained to look for. In every initial consultation at Chiro Connect, you will go through a movement and chiropractic neurological screening to find the root cause of movement faults, dysfunction, and pain. This process is also a part of ruling out the potential of a more serious cause.
Chiropractors assess your whole body, not only to help improve the pain of injuries, but to find, and help your body correct, any underlying misalignment that may have allowed that injury to occur.
Better alignment and posture means better and more efficient movement and nervous system function. For fitness and playing sports, better nervous system function can mean better co-ordination, enhanced reaction times, faster speed, increased muscular output of strength and force, more efficient use of body energy, and less chance of incurring injuries.
What can I do on my own?
Move, and move regularly.
The best kind of exercise is that which is functional, and uses that whole body. Walking, running, lifting- these kinds of movements incorporate the muscles you will be using to stabilize your body in every day movements.
If you are new to exercising, or short on time, then the following options may be good for you:
Straighten UP New Zealand- a 3-minute daily world-wide initiative helping you to:
- Improve posture
- Stabilise core muscle groups
- enhance health, and
- Prevent spinal disability.
Following are some easy videos explaining how to improve (on a basic level) your Spinal Stability.
Dr Scott A. Mills, from Plexus Performance care, goes through his top 3 exercises that can create rock solid lumbar stability. The cat/camel as a warm up, as well as quadruped cross crawl, supine bridge and low back protected crunch are demonstrated.
Isolated gym exercises are good for certain criteria, but don't tend to be very functional. Isolated exercises may be missing out on the other muscles around it that are also used for supporting that joint in daily movements.
The Physio Room (next door to Chiro Connect) provides excellent Core Classes in small groups, as well as a functional Physiotherapist looking at your body movements as a whole.
Moving Well also includes making sure you are stretching sufficiently.
This could include yoga, or individual muscle stretches. Stretching, particularly after exercise, is an important way to help maintain flexibility and suppleness of body tissues.
Massage is another way for you to help loosen those tight muscles. Here at Chiro Connect, we use and recommend Wanaka Sports Massage, easily found here within our Brownston Street office.
See our Contact Page for details on how to make an appointment for YOUR functional movement assessment at Chiro Connect.
Utilising an integrative, functional health care approach also helps Kate to provide the best care for our local Wanaka athletes as well. To read more about Chiropractic and Peak Sports Performance, Click Here.