Monday, December 21, 2009
It's an undeniable fact of life for many of us.
We sit.... and we sit a LOT.
Whether it's in front of the computer, the steering wheel, the TV set, the boardroom table, or the dining table, life's become increasingly sedentary for far too many individuals in the "modern" world.
With long commutes, with computer-based jobs, with the TV culture, the effects on our bodies are almost too slow to perceive until they're ingrained and it's almost too late.
As I was watching my son play outside at the park, I got into a conversation with another parent about my mixed feelings about Squealie going to grade school. Watching him move so well on the playground and develop balance, proprioceptive awareness, and other neurological skills made me happy with his progress and concerned about the long hours of enforced sitting that he'd have to endure in school. As schools have less time for recess, no resources for physical education / gym classes, & fewer sports programs, I can't help but be a little uneasy.
Looking at the adult population that I work with clinically and consult for internationally, one of the biggest things that I see with pain seems to be the result of long-term kinetic confusion.
Let me explain it to you...
Looking at the joint-by-joint view of closed chain movement that FMS founder Gray Cook talks about, the foot is the root of our movement and what relates the body to the ground for leverage. Thus the foot needs to create a stable platform of linkage to the ground to allow the rest of the kinetic chain to create effective, powerful movement.
Next up the chain, the ankle needs to be mobile, which in turn allows the knee to be stable and the hip to be mobile.
So remember, in an ideally functioning kinetic chain per Gray Cook, we've got:
* Foot - stable
* Ankle - mobile
* Knee - stable
* Hip - mobile
* Lumbar spine (lower back) - stable
* Thoracic spine (mid-upper back) - mobile
* Lower C-spine - stable
* Axis & atlas vertebrae - mobile
So you can see that each successive joint or joint "team" has the opposite function of the neighboring joints. Thus, problems arise when these joints or joint teams get locked into functioning in the opposite manner in which they were intended.
Let me make it absolutely clear that I NEVER said that these are the ONLY ways in which these joints & joint teams are meant to function. However, when muscles are trained to move or hold joints reflexively in a certain fashion, we need to pay attention to whether or not the joints are meant to function OPTIMALLY in that fashion.
So let's look at what happens in sedentary culture.
Your rear end becomes the primary point of contact for your body to the ground (via a chair). So those hips which were meant to be mobile and driven by the glutes turn into your primary point of stability. The glutes spend hours on stretch and the hip flexors shorten.
Moving up the "sedentary chain", your lumbar spine starts becoming more & more mobile as you reach for things and move around while maintaining your seated position.
The T-spine stiffens up to maintain some semblance of posture, and the next thing you know, you're suffering from lower back, shoulder, & neck pain... and your butt now thinks it's your foot.
Wanna un-do this kinetic confusion? Get out there & do some Swings!!!
Wanna do even more? Check out my Kettlebell Warrior DVD series!