This at first glance this doesn’t seem like a very interesting topic and a lot of people don’t see this as part of physical conditioning – unless they are injured and/or have sort of obvious restriction in their movements. But when talking about mobility here, I am not just talking about doing some sort of flexibility segment in your fitness program, although that is certainly part of it…
The body has great ability to adapt, and it is this adaptative ability that has both a positive and negative side. There will be a change in posture and/or movement pattern if you ever get an injury or stay in one particular posture for a long period of time. So, if I have a personal definition of mobility, I mean when someone has a balanced posture and completely unrestricted movement patterns in everything they do. And, I must say through my everyday observation, very few people fall into this category – and not just the sedentary, but many top athletes/sportspeople as well.
So if we have restricted movement, it is due to three situations. Either someone has a health problem, or a person stays in one posture for long periods in their day, or a person gains an injury. The body adapts to any of these three situations, works around any restriction that may occur and stays in that altered, unnatural postural or altered movement state – and won’t change back to a normal state unless we work on changing it back. Some of these unnatural movement patterns are very subtle, but they will affect your health and your performance.
Anything that affects your performance means that you will never reach your true potential.
Sitting for long periods of time is a modern phenomenon because our jobs require sitting in front of computers. Hence I have put the picture above to illustrate specific areas of the body that are mostly affected. But I see the beginnings of this altered postural state – forward head tilt, rounded upper back and a stiffness of the lower back even in children. I have spent over 40 years observing the way that people move, and the ongoing problems that will occur as this generation gets older is frightening as we usually only see these stooped postures in the very old!
Another situation I want to point out in this blog is when people get injured and don’t complete a full rehabilitation program, even if there is only a subtle change in their movement patterns, it will not revert back to normal patterns. This is because of the body’s ability to adapt. I have observed some unusual walking gaits and postural alignments in clients over the years and after questioning them about injury history, it is obvious how these occur. And may I point out here this is with nearly everyone who comes to see me for help!
This is only the introduction to a topic I will cover sporadically over the coming weeks but they will appear in the health blog.