Movement is the cure : a fresh look at pain, dysfunction and performance

I have been involved in sports, fitness and wellness for my whole life,

from playing sports like Gaelic football, hurling and rugby as a child, to martial arts, crossfit, olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, swimming and running to name a few, and eventually as a coach and a gym owner for the last 6 years.

 

Over my years of  coaching, I have really been surprised at the absolute volume of people that are suffering pain and dysfunction on a chronic level. It’s actually quite unbelievable. I would hazard to say that 80% of people I train/trained are suffering daily pain or dysfunction! And that’s being modest.

 

On top of that, the level of injury is really high.

 

Why ?

 

Well, if we look at the lifestyles that the majority of us live, it’s not actually that hard to believe. On average, We spend between 8 and 15 hours per day sitting on our asses !

 

This sitting epidemic is so bad that scientists have actually coined the term “sitting disease” to cover a plethora of disorders including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer,and depression to name a few.

 

The obvious answer to this problem is to simply sit less and move more. Something like switching to a standing desk or doing short bursts of squats and arm/spine rotations throughout the day really could be life changing for many people.

But humans are strange, we don’t like the simple answers. And in today’s world we are particularly fond of looking towards the extravagant and exotic for answers to simple questions.


 

“Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.” ~ James Levine, MD, PhD


 

Why do you train ?

 

This is an important question, and one we should consider deeply. Because ultimately, it will dictate your health and wellness into the future.

 

The truth is that training can be a double edged sword. It has the ability to build you up, or break you down. It is potent medicine!

 

The massive lightbulb moment came for me when I started studying with Gary Ward, the creator of the Anatomy in Motion system. The work Gary has done in building this system is incredible!  And for me, it changed everything  about how I look at training, movement the human body, and the relationship between our physical and mental/emotional selves . Gary effectively took everything I thought I knew and flipped it on its head!  

 

The view AIM takes is that pain and dysfunction come about as a result of bad body mass management. When we sit in a flexed position for 8 -15 hours per day, it is inevitably going to affect our ability to effectively move our spine through full extension and flexion.

We need our spine to flex and extend with every step that we take. If it is stuck in flexion (from sitting all day), our centre of mass is altered. Our nervous system will always try to keep the centre of mass over the centre of gravity (over our feet). With an altered center of mass, the body will always be straining to maintain centre. This leads to overstressed muscles, fascia and connective tissue that is operating near end range, either long and tight or short and tight. These tissues will inevitably become inflamed and cranky, most likely leading to pain and or injuries.

 

The big problem comes when we start to load these tissues with more aggressive motions like weightlifting, sports, long distance hikes etc etc.  tissues that are already operating near end range are forced to work harder and harder to maintain the center of mass over the centre of gravity.

 

Loading up these movement patterns will actually be ingraining this altered centre of mass into the nervous system. Reinforcing it with every rep.

 

The only way to rectify this is to restore lost ranges of motion and return the centre of mass towards its natural centre point.

 

This is where Anatomy in Motion comes in.

 

By using the natural human gait cycle as a framework, we can now understand where every single joint in the body needs to be in each phase of the cycle, we can look at how a person manages their mass. We look at their foot pressures, their postural shapes and their movements to discover where they are limited.

 

The human gait cycle is hardwired into our brain, it has the ability to recognize an optimal position once we guide it in a safe and reassuring way. When we understand a person’s limitations, we can create specific movements around that specific phase of the gait cycle that can safely bring them into those lost ranges of motion and restore a more centralized system that is pain free and able to perform optimally.

 

How we walk is a window into how we move and how we live.

 

-If you don’t walk well, you won’t run well.

-if you don't walk well, you won't lift well.

-if you don't walk well, you will most likely be in pain.

-if you don't walk well, you ARE operating sub optimally.

 

For me this is the golden nugget, the missing link, it has changed everything about my training and my lifestyle. I feel so fortunate to have stumbled on Gary’s work, I honestly feel it is going to change the world.

 

I am a fan of movement. All types of movement. And without a doubt, the worst thing anyone can do is to stop moving.  I feel like I have this tool now that allows me to help people. To enable them to know themselves and their bodies better and to look at their anatomy from a new angle. The human body is a wonder of engineering, and it is hardwired for perfection and optimal performance. We simply need to remind it of what it already knows, encourage it to go back to its natural state.

 

A REWILDING !

 

And the results can be astounding

 

This is my new mission :

 

To help people out of pain,

To help them perform at their best.  

To help them achieve longevity and health.


 

Keep moving,


Jody