Athletic Therapy, Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Equestrian, Motor Learning, Posture, Weight Loss, Wellness

If it ain’t broke.. The right way to move

Is there a correct way to move?

This is a question that has plagued therapists, trainers, and clients since the age of time.

Actually.. probably not that long.

The evolution of health and movement is one to be admired- in that, we’ve gone from quadruped beings, to walking, running, bipedal masterpieces, to what we are now.

We’re at an interesting point in movement science. We’ve somewhat regressed in our movement ability. While yes, we are still bipedal, upright beings- we no longer spend much of our time moving around in a variety of ways.

Now we move from point a-b-c-d in condensed timeframes, spending majority of our time between 3 positions (or variations of..): standing, seated, and laying down.

The author of Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari, points out that the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions not only may have ended our movement ability, but also may have birthed the beginnings of the various chronic illnesses and pain that affects us today.

Modern Day practitioners have been preaching alignment for decades already, and certainly our posture and ability to move has a huge impact on our overall wellbeing.. but is there such a thing as the “perfect” posture or alignment? Is there one optimal way to move?

The truth is yes, but also.. no.

There is certainly a most efficient way to move- in that, we will put minimal stressors on our structure and expend the least amount of energy to create that movement. There is a general textbook answer to this optimal alignment.

As an aside- it’s common to hear practitioners saying that one of your legs is longer then the other, or your pelvis is out of alignment.. when often the truth is some asymmetries are NORMAL to a certain degree.

We all have one shoulder that will be slightly depressed based on our hand dominance. We all have slight differences in how our rib cage sits, because of our anatomy (the left side has less lung in it to account for the heart- causing a shift between left and right), and where the rib cage goes the hips follow. Our body works in a chain like system- one link compensates for the next.. and while many compensations cause other problems, not all asymmetries are bad or abnormal. This will also change based on the mental health and perception an individual holds on pain, stress, and their systemic health. The debates on these fuel many research articles and books already. Stay tuned for more discussion on those topics and how movement relates to them.

When it really comes down to it, our movement is as unique as we are- and what is the best way to move for one person may not always mirror the best way to move for another person. We’re designed to be adaptable beings, and our postures should be just as adaptable.

Wait.. haven’t you been preaching posture and biomechanics your whole career?

Yes.. and while there may be differences across our spectrum of movement- majority of us inherit similar postural dysfunctions.. it’s very rare to find someone who moves well, even though there is no set checklist for what exactly moving well means.

Moving poorly in relation to your body can create a vicious cycle of degeneration, causing pain, causing less movement, causing more negative health outcomes. You can get enough movement, but if you don’t move well- you can actually do harm to your body which results in less movement.

For that reason *usually the first step with clients is to assess and correct how they move. From there we build a foundation of efficient movement, and build their movement habits on top of that foundation.

While I can’t say there is one right way to move, I can say that it is very rare to find someone with obviously inefficient movement without some sort of history of pain. The thing about pain is that it may not even present as physical pain.. it may be present in the form of gastrointestinal issues, or undue mental states. Our structure represents our internal framework too- and that can be a chicken or the egg scenario.

Many movement based practitioners will offer within their consult with you a movement screen. If you’re looking for an assist with your health, this is one of the things you should look to your professional to do. Cookie-cutter exercise programs, apps, and group fitness classes are convenient and cost effective- but the grain of salt there is if you get injured or develop pain because you’re movement wasn’t properly screened before starting a program- they cost you more in the long term.

We routinely see clients at their wits end come into our care. They’ve tried everything and nothing works- they are even hesitant to try anything else. They can’t move enough because of pain, or- they’ve never been taught healthy habits around their lifestyle (including movement and nutritional practices). This is what plagues our healthcare system today, and the message I keep putting out there to clients and peers is that none of this is a difficult fix- it just requires a shift from expecting a quick, cheap fix, to some quality time spent investing in our own health and getting educated guidance.

If you have questions about your movement today- send us an email and we’d be happy to help. Consults are always free.

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Wellness

5 Reasons Why Integrative Movement is Different

1. Accessibility

We pride ourselves in providing a simple, affordable solution to health and lifestyle services. We also offer services out of four satellite locations covering South Winnipeg, the Pembina Valley, Charleswood, and Selkirk region. All our locations are partnerships with other likeminded health facilities. From full functioning gyms to yoga studios – we do the groundwork to develop a health focused community feel wherever we go.

2. Investment

How many of us have bought into a health program, rehab, or gym membership only to under utilize it and later feel like we’ve just wasted the money? Our job is to support you in whatever your health goals require. Whether it’s developing healthy habits in the gym or at home, recovering from an injury, or pushing yourself to a new level of health and fitness, we work hard to provide highly skilled and knowledgable support. As a bonus, new members at our Selkirk and Charleswood locations automatically get 6 weeks of coaching alongside their memberships. No longer will you be stuck not knowing what to do with your gym membership! Your health is an investment, and we believe that navigating those investments is best with accessible, individualized support.

3. Individuality

It’s all about YOU- At IM we are different then your average rehabilitation facility or personal training sales pitch. We take the time to figure out what makes you tick. From consult to regular sessions, you can expect to spend 45min-1hr with us in either dedicated one on one therapy, consult, or training sessions or in a small group of likeminded individuals working at a common goal. Keeping things personal allows us to make sure you’re getting all the resources YOU need to reach your full health potential.

4. Diverse Experience

We are a team of Kinesiologists and Athletic Therapists with years of education and a growing experience base. Each of us enters our practice with our own personalities, history, and interests. For that reason, we pride ourselves in working as a team to meet our clients where they are at- and when appropriate work as a team with other professionals you deem valuable to your healthcare team.

5. We get it.

Life happens. Injuries are tough. Pain messes with our heads. Taking the steps towards lifestyle change seems impossible some days. We have been there, and we understand. Even on the days where you think it’s never going to change, the pain will never leave, or you’ll never get your old energy back.. we’ve got you. We won’t give up even when you don’t know where you stand. As the therapists and coaches we are, we hold out hope even when all hope seems lost. We’re all in the same boat, us humans, and we approach your care on your side every single day.

Want to learn more about how we can fit seamlessly into your journey towards optimal movement and health? Book your FREE consult here or drop by any of our locations to learn more. Looking forward to meeting you!

Athletic Therapy, Chronic Pain, Wellness

5 Reasons Why Integrative Movement is Different

1. Accessibility

We pride ourselves in providing a simple, affordable solution to health and lifestyle services. We also offer services out of four satellite locations covering South Winnipeg, the Pembina Valley, Charleswood, and Selkirk region. All our locations are partnerships with other likeminded health facilities. From full functioning gyms to yoga studios – we do the groundwork to develop a health focused community feel wherever we go. We also offer online services and training for those at a distance or on a budget! 

2. Investment

How many of us have bought into a health program, rehab, or gym membership only to under utilize it and later feel like we’ve just wasted the money? Our job is to support you in whatever your health goals require. Whether it’s developing healthy habits in the gym or at home, recovering from an injury, or pushing yourself to a new level of health and fitness, we work hard to provide highly skilled and knowledgable support. As a bonus, new members at our Selkirk and Charleswood locations automatically get 6 weeks of coaching alongside their memberships. No longer will you be stuck not knowing what to do with your gym membership! Your health is an investment, and we believe that navigating those investments is best with accessible, individualized support.

3. Individuality

It’s all about YOU- At IM we are different then your average rehabilitation facility or personal training sales pitch. We take the time to figure out what makes you tick. From consult to regular sessions, you can expect to spend 45min-1hr with us in either dedicated one on one therapy, consult, or training sessions or in a small group of likeminded individuals working at a common goal. Keeping things personal allows us to make sure you’re getting all the resources YOU need to reach your full health potential.

4. Diverse Experience

We are a team of Kinesiologists and Athletic Therapists with years of education and a growing experience base. Each of us enters our practice with our own personalities, history, and interests. For that reason, we pride ourselves in working as a team to meet our clients where they are at- and when appropriate work as a team with other professionals you deem valuable to your healthcare team.

5. We get it.

Life happens. Injuries are tough. Pain messes with our heads. Taking the steps towards lifestyle change seems impossible some days. We have been there, and we understand. Even on the days where you think it’s never going to change, the pain will never leave, or you’ll never get your old energy back.. we’ve got you. We won’t give up even when you don’t know where you stand. As the therapists and coaches we are, we hold out hope even when all hope seems lost. We’re all in the same boat, us humans, and we approach your care on your side every single day.

Want to learn more about how we can fit seamlessly into your journey towards optimal movement and health? Book your FREE consult here or drop by any of our locations to learn more. Looking forward to meeting you!

Biomechanics, Chronic Pain, Conditioning, Motor Learning, Posture

The exercise that is slowly hurting you..

We’ve all done them (or been forced to do them) somewhere along the line. Whether it was during fitness testing in phys ed class, by a trainer, in a bootcamp or from a coercive magazine article. What nobody told us was that this exercise might actually be harming you and putting you at risk for back problems.

What exercise am I talking about? The infamous sit-up.

Let’s be clear- I’m not talking about a crunch. A crunch and a sit-up are very different when it comes to the specifics. The sit-up I’m talking about is either the kind where you’re knees are bent and you’re curling up towards your knees with your arms behind your back- or your legs are straight and you are bending your torso to get up from the ground- sometimes with your feet locked in or stood on by a gym teacher, trainer, or gym buddy.

We’re told that these are the path to our glorious 6-pack. Magazines, fitness groupies, and any “professional” that doesn’t have a year or two of education shout this “fact” (myth) from the rooftops of gyms all over the world. But, it is just that.. a myth.

The first reason this exercise WILL NOT grant your wish of an Arnold worthy torso: Sit-Ups don’t actually work the core or abs.

WHAT! I know. Shocking.

Sit-ups, especially the kind where you lock your feet in and have straight legs, actually work the hip flexors. When you think about it- this makes sense. All you’re doing is bending at your hips…

Even the sit-ups where you have your knees bent only work the core for a very short range of motion.. after that, it’s back to the hips. You know that aformentioned crunch exercise? Where all you do is lift your chest and shoulders up and then come back down the the ground? That’s the range of your abdominal muscles (specifically the rectus abdominus group- the muscle you see glistening in the form of a 6-pack on all sports illustrated models). Past that little raise off the ground- it’s your hip flexors doing the work.

core

Second reason sit-ups won’t give you abs- there is no such thing as toning one part of your body. Getting that 6-pack look comes down to many factors, and certainly strong core muscles is one. The truth is, we all have abs- some more visable then others. Aesthetically, it comes down to your percentage of body fat, water retention, and lastly muscle mass (and even genetics) as to how obvious or view-able that 6-pack is. The HEALTHY body fat percentage for females is no lower then 18%. Guys can get down to 12% in a healthy scenario. When you see models or athletes with that 6-pack look- especially in a photo-shoot scenario- there’s a lot of other factors going on. Diet, for one. Photo-shopping for second. Notoriously fitness models dehydrate themselves and eat a very strict diet leading up to competitions or shoots- for that added lean, muscled look. They do not upkeep that standard for a long period, if they are healthy. It is for aesthetics ONLY.

I’m a huge advocate for core training and strength- but you will never find me pushing my clients to get a 6-pack. They already have one. We all do.

Now, why and how are sit-ups actually harming us?

Because they combine excessive hip flexor work with a curve through the spine.. they have two big risk factors. The hip flexors, specifically the psoas major, attach onto the lumbar spine. If they are tight- they can pull on that spine creating a shearing force in the discs and vertebrae. This causes degeneration over time and puts you at risk for injury and chronic pain. Secondly- if the spine is consistently curved, not only is there already a shearing force in the spinal column, discs are being compressed which can lead to degeneration as well. Add this to hip flexors pulling from the other side- you get a recipe for bad things.

If you already have a history of low back injury or pain- sit ups are probably not something you want to play around with. If you’re healthy and no known issue- doing sit-ups may not kill you, but they’re definitely not doing what you think they’re doing.. and there is better ways to get actual core benefit.

Because the rectus abdominus only has that small range of motion, doing crunches- or specifically the McGill Curl-Up exercise are much better ways to work your abs if that’s your goal. Your abs and spine will thank you for this!

So next time you hear someone preaching about how great sit-ups are.. autocorrect in your head that they are really talking about your hip-flexors, not your abs, and that nobody really needs tighter hip flexors! Especially us equestrians. Our hips are usually tight enough as it is. Train smart!