Alignment 101: Alignment Tips for Foot Health

Happy, healthy feet are the key to healthy movement. As we've said before, your feet are the foundation of your body. You wouldn’t want a foundation of a house that's not aligned, so you don't want the same from the foundation of your body.

Again, when it comes to alignment we want to stress that the ultimate goal is not perfectionThe goal is to recognize that how you move plays a huge role in how your body functions. If you're striving to change your movement, explore your movement habits using alignment points.
 
Better foot alignment will optimize your walking, stabilize your core, and improve your balance. Maintaining correct foot alignment requires mobility of the joints and strength of the muscles of your feet. The more mobile your foot and ankle, the better they absorb reaction force of walking. This reduces the reaction force that goes through your hips and knees, leaving your joints happy and healthy. In the end, walking with rigid feet demands...
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Quick Test: Are Your Hips Actually Weight-Bearing?

In order for your hips to be building bone density through the day, they need to be supporting the weight of your pelvis and torso in a certain alignment. 


A common pattern we see with resting standing positions is standing with the pelvis pushed slightly forward (as in the first picture). It's subtle but has major implications for bone health of the hips (not to mention the long term impact of this position on foot health, core strength, and balance).

Shifting the pelvis back so your body weight is carried over the heels (second picture) and maintaining this position throughout the day allows for optimal bone health. However, getting to this position if this is not your usual requires taking a closer look at the muscle groups that attach to the pelvis. 

A quick and simple test to help you determine where you carry your center of mass: make a plumb line from string with something weighted at the bottom. Position yourself facing sideways toward a mirror and find the boniest...

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The Whole Picture of Chronic Pain Isn't What You Think

As the chronic pain epidemic continues to pour over into the opioid epidemic, new research continues to break down the complexity of chronic pain. Just a few short years ago, chronic pain was viewed completely from a biomechanical perspective. When the medical community realized that treating only the injury was not only not working, but the epidemic of chronic pain continued to worsen they realized they needed to take a step back and look at the whole person. What has been discovered has been an eye-opening look at how chronic pain involves factors beyond what is happening within body tissue. Now, we take a broader look at the whole person and understand chronic pain has a multitude of origins.

The Actual Risk Factors for Chronic Pain

Over time, physicians and other professionals realized the amount of tissue damage being seen on an MRI and the amount of pain a person was experiencing just weren't matching up. Beyond that, those who underwent surgical procedures were showing...

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Try This Quick Test for Balance

A quick test for balance: how long are you able to stand on one leg without arm support? 

To set up: keep a chair or something you can hold if needed nearby and stand in front of a mirror with your feet hip width apart, shoes and socks off. Place your hands on your hips, shift your weight to one side and pick your opposite foot off the floor. How long can you hold this position?

An adult around age 30 should be able to comfortably hold this position for 30 seconds. In adults over age 65, an inability to hold this for at least 5 seconds indicates a greater risk of falls. Were you surprised by your results? 

We often get asked why we spend so much time practicing single leg standing in therapy. This skill is important because this is the position we spend the most amount of time in while walking! In order to take a step forward, you have to stand on one leg to allow the other leg to swing forward. If you are having difficulty with single leg standing, it is likely your walking...

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When Body Alignment Matters: Function v. Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States, with an annual cost estimated to be about $100 billion. These costs are associated with healthcare expenses, lost income, and lost productivity. A majority of adults experience acute pain at least once in their lives with about 28% later developing chronic pain.

With the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, there's been considerable emphasis on understanding the sources of chronic pain. Many mistakenly believe that tissue damage is directly correlated with a person’s risk of developing chronic pain. Statements from medical professionals to their patients which include “Your MRI shows that you have the spine of an 80 year old and you can expect to be in pain for the rest of your life” or “just avoid stairs or squatting entirely if your knees are hurting” just further exacerbate the myths surrounding chronic pain.

There is much confusion regarding body alignment, movement, and pain...

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5 Lessons Learned From Studying My Own Movement

Last month I attended a Move Your DNA weekend workshop at Boomerang Pilates in Toronto hosted by a Nutritious Movement Certified RES. If you aren't familiar, this workshop is for anyone who has read Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, MS to refine the exercises covered in the book.

The book uses biomechanics as a lens to explore how our environment has shaped our movement and vice versa, encouraging the reader to take ownership of their health. We spent the weekend exploring the use of corrective exercise and body alignment work to move toward more natural movement. 

For me, this weekend was a small part of a 2 year long process to become a certified RES, which involves nearly 350 hours of movement training. The program heavily emphasizes understanding of your own movement in order to help others improve theirs... which makes a lot of sense. 

My background is in physical therapy, meaning I spent the better part of the last 10 years extensively studying the human body,...

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Flexibility and Mobility for Healthy Aging

 

Do you wake up feeling stiff every morning?

Does it take an hour or two after waking up for that feeling to go away?

Or does that feeling linger all day?

One of the most common questions we get asked is if this is a natural part of aging. Our clients wonder if this is just inevitable or if there is something that can be done to prevent this. 

We're here to tell you this DOES NOT have to be a natural part of aging, and that yes, there is plenty you can to avoid waking up with that feeling every morning! 

Let's Talk About Flexibility...

Flexibility, also known as range of motion, can be improved and maintained at any age. Our tissues get stiff because we stop using them, not just because of old age

We need to take a closer look though because only working on flexibility is not a great solution either. It's vital to keep a good range of motion of all of our joints as we age, but to function at our best we must also have the strength to control our...

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Want the Secret to Living Your Best Life?

 

Want the secret to living your best life?

We have to admit, this is a bit of a trick question because there truly is no one secret to being your best self. Though the answer to this question is in reality quite simple, it might not be easy.  

A common theme we hear from our clients is that there is some key to living a healthy life that they just haven't found yet. Some deep, dark secret that holds all the answers to living a life of energy, vitality, and abundance.

Chronic disease is becoming more rampant by the day, so we must be missing something, right? Some unknown, mysterious secret that will change our health in an instant if only we could find it.

The true answer is that there is no secret. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach. And certainly no magic bullet. Instead, the answer involves being mindful along the journey toward finding our best self. It’s not an exciting answer, but by admitting this ourselves we can find a...

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What You Need to Know About Osteoporosis

 

One of the most common topics we address with our clients is osteoporosis. Lifestyle changes to build healthier bones should start at any age! There is no right time to start to worry about developing osteoporosis, but with the right movement it doesn't have to be a concern. 

This may or may not come as a surprise, but building bone density starts decades before osteoporosis is a concern. The good news is it's never too late to start building bone density even if you've already been diagnosed with osteoporosis.

How Bone Growth Works

Fun fact: Bone cells take about 10 years to completely turn over, so every 10 years your skeleton looks completely different!

Bone, just like any other tissue in the body, continuously undergoes a process of new cell growth and old cell breakdown. Different factors, mostly lifestyle choices, change this process and may start to cause problems with healthy bone formation.

Osteoporosis doesn't impact all bones equally, which...

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Hate Exercise? Try Movement Instead for Healthy Aging.

 

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

With our society becoming more unhealthy as a whole each year, movement professionals find ourselves in a position to reframe the discussion around health, wellness, and movement. 

We all understand the benefits of exercise for healthy aging, yet adhering to an exercise routine tends to be a completely different story. The most important conversation we have with new clients is discussing their physical activity history. This gives us a clear picture on how set our clients up for success in their health and wellness goals.

And one of the most common reasons we hear for not sticking to an exercise routine is lack of time or interest. The guilt and shame associated with not going to the gym creates a further aversion to exercise, becoming a vicious cycle. 

But what if we told you there is a way to age well that...

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