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...
When it comes to walking, most of us have a strong preference between walking outdoors, indoors, or on a treadmill. We tend to think these activities are interchangeable from a health perspective, but are they? The surfaces that we walk on change the experience of our body and the muscles that we use.
Walking overground should be powered by the backs of our legs with our torso vertical. In order to propel us forward, our muscles generate a pushing action behind us to push the ground away. On the other hand, a treadmill forces our body to do exactly the opposite, relying on a walking pattern driven by the muscles in the front of the hip and thigh to catch yourself because the “ground” is coming toward you. Therefore, treadmill walking is not the same as walking overground.
So Why Does This Matter?
For most of us, the muscles of the fronts of our hips are already shortened due to time spent sitting every day. Treadmill use encourages further shortening and overuse of...
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...
More than two-thirds of pregnant women report low back pain and up to one-fifth report pelvic pain during pregnancy. Reports of pain tend to increase later in pregnancy and interfere with daily activities, sleep, and work. About 20% of women who experience low back or pelvic pain during pregnancy report persistent pain for up to 3 years following pregnancy.
Chronic pain is complicated and much research in recent years has revolved around the term “pain catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing is a process of becoming fixated on pain, magnifying the effects of it, feeling helpless, and expecting negative outcomes associated with pain.
Research shows that those who catastrophize are more likely to develop persistent chronic pain and disability. Women who demonstrated pain catastrophizing during their pregnancy were found to be less likely to have been active throughout their pregnancy and more likely to develop persistent pain after.
The recommendation of daily physical activity...
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...
Did you know that 25% of your bones and muscles are located below the ankle?
Our feet were designed to be versatile with an infinite number of movements due to the number of joints and intrinsic foot muscles, yet most of us hardly spend time thinking about our feet.
They are the foundation of our body, however the care and maintenance of the muscles of our feet is almost unheard of. We tend to cram our feet into whatever shoe we like the looks of, with no regard to how that shoe might be impacting the health of our feet (and by proxy our overall health).
Today’s epidemic of foot damage including bunions, hammer toes, collapsed arches, foot pain, and secondary effects of diabetes including neuropathy, poor circulation, and even amputation are all considered par for the course. We blame genetics, not our lifestyles. What if the answer was as simple as mobilizing our feet and changing our footwear? There is a solution, but not the passive solutions many of us have...
When is the last time you really paid attention to how you're moving?
For most of us, the answer is likely not very much time at all... until there is a problem. We take our movement for granted until we have pain or weakness to remind us that it takes effort to use our body to get around.
We've fallen into the bad habit of moving mindlessly throughout our day.
But... what if one of the keys to optimal health is to bring back thoughtfulness and reflection when it comes to how you move throughout your day?
You don't have to wait until your quality of life has taken a hit to become a student of your movement. And in fact, to prevent your physical health from going downhill, you should adopt a learning mindset ASAP.
Curious as to both why and how you should do this? Read on.
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! This is probably much more boring than any of us want to admit.
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, generally lifestyle choices, change this process and may start to cause problems with healthy bone formation.
Osteoporosis doesn't impact all bones equally, which...
How much time do you spend thinking about how you move throughout the day? If you're not getting the health results you want, your movement is likely a huge factor!
Movement really comes down to a matter of convenience... Today, moving more to accomplish daily tasks is viewed as an inconvenience. We now have access to devices serving the sole purpose of making our lives easier, from electronic kitchen appliances, to phones, to vehicles. These devices externalize the work of our muscles, effectively outsourcing the work of our body. “Upgrading” to their product results in doing less work throughout our day. This is promoted by advertisers as sign of status, progress, and luxury. A device that results in less work is the ultimate end goal and this message is thrown at us from every direction!
However, these "conveniences" come with a major down side...
Humans were intended to move. Our movement impacts not only our physical health, but our mental health and overall...