The Freedom to Move
Practice News and Calendar June 2014
Dear Practice Friends,
This is the third of four installments on the idea of increasing degrees of freedom in our lives in three domains that we work with at Practice:
- Freedom of movement
- Cognitive and emotional freedom
- nutritional freedom
When it comes to human movement, the prevailing rule of thumb for increasing degrees of freedom is “use it or lose it.” By this I mean that if we want our bodies to be supple and strong for decades to come, then it is up to us to move it through it’s full repertoire and ranges of motion, not just those patterns we engage in most frequently. Why? To ward off two of our largest constraints to freedom: Repetitive use and sedentariness.
Repetitive use can be viewed along a spectrum, going from subtle to severe. For the most severe, repetitive use, or over use, is generating a movement pattern under tension with such frequency that it can lead to an injury of the muscle, connective tissue, or joint itself. A classic example of this would be a baseball pitcher and injuries of the rotator cuff. Professionals and amateurs who play racquet and club sports are also prone to overuse injuries because they typically only play with their dominant arm. Other occupations in which over use injuries are common: construction, production lines in factories, musicians, hair stylists, waiters and bartenders, and yes, fitness instructors.
“Not a problem,” you say, “because I work at a desk all day.” Fair enough, but moving back along the spectrum of repetitive use what we find is the collection of movement patterns that we engage in every day through the home and workplace. Most of these have people moving forward with a comfortable gait, and bending forward and reaching forward. How often do you lengthen your stride, or walk backwards or to the side? Do you take stretch breaks during your work day to get up from your desk? How many times a day do you rotate your trunk or extend the middle of your back. How often do you flex and extend your toes to keep them limber (this can have a profound effect on your gait and your balance)?
Sedentariness can be thought of as the most subtle end of the repetitive use spectrum or as a separate category, because it isn’t really movement at all. There is a growing body of research demonstrating the deleterious effects of sitting for long periods of time, above and beyond those direct effects on muscle and connective tissue: shortened hamstrings and hip flexors, rounded backs, slumped shoulders, forward head position, weak abdominals, weak gluteals and weak spinal extensors.
As we habitually repeat these limited movement (or sedentary) patterns thousands of times over the course of each year, the power of that habit serves to constrain the choice for moving differently by strengthening the likelihood that we won’t spontaneously leap into the air like the two dancers in the picture above. As we age, we find that the muscles and the joints that used to do whatever we want no longer respond to our commands as easily. We surrender our freedom to jump and extend and laterally flex and rotate. Some people literally become prisoners in their own bodies.
But there is hope. With practice, you can increase by degrees small or large your freedom of movement. Like with nutritional freedom that I wrote about last month, the first step in increasing our degrees of freedom in moving comes from becoming aware of just how we move or don’t move throughout the day. Find out how much time you spend sitting. Use a pedometer to gauge how many steps you take. Measure your stride. Work with one of our instructors to get a static postural analysis and then test your range of motion trunk and limb movements.
Then start to move differently. Two reasons I love Pilates and yoga: first, they help bring to your awareness many different ways to move your body, and then second, they help you increase your freedom by moving you in all the ways that traditional strength training exercise machine won’t. Pilates and yoga strengthen your balance and your flexibility, they twist you and flex you and extend you and roll you and help you find your center, so that you can continue to feel the joy inherent in moving now and for the rest of your life.
Monthly Class Calendar and 2014 Rates
The Wednesday Group Reformer class at 830am will move to 9am for the summer, starting June 4.
The Thursday Group Reformer class at1130am is discontinued for the summer, starting June 5.
Pilates Matwork is cancelled for Saturday, May 21st.
Welcome to Practice!
A warm welcome goes out to our newest members of the Practice community, who started with us in May:
We are thrilled to have you with us. Welcome aboard!
Instructor Training: Intensive Cadillac to Begin in August
Once a foundation in Matwork and Reformer programming has been established, this course is the next step in enhancing your exercise repertoire. Learn how to challenge clients to help them reach their conditioning goals, while diversifying programming and building workouts with impact on the Cadillac Trapeze Table.
This 25 hour course will be taught over two weekends:
- August 22-24
- September 6-7
Course cost is $890 and support materials are $225. Receive a 10% early bird discount if you register before July 25th!
Click here for a flyer with complete details. If you are interested or have questions, please contact Patrick Przyborowski at email@example.com, or by cell phone at (937) 609-4170. Space is limited to 12 people per course.
World Cup 2014 Begins June 12th!
This is the number one sporting event on the planet and it gets under way starting June 12th. For a complete schedule from FIFA, click here.
The U.S. will play it’s first game against Ghana on June 16.
Coverage in the U.S. will be via ABC (10 games, including the final); ESPN (43 games) and ESPN2 (11 games).
Research: To Age Well, Walk
This is from the NY Times Phys Ed section, penned by Gretchen Reynolds:
“Regular exercise reduces the chance that a frail older person will become physically disabled, according to a relatively large, long-running study”
Research: Vision Training to Boost Performance
From Kate Murphy in the NY Times’ Well section:
“An encouraging new study finds that exercise may slash your risk of heart disease, regardless of your cholesterol numbers or waist size.”
Research: Exercising the Mind to Treat Attention Deficits
Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, writes this very good article in the NY Times about new research that suggests meditation and mental exercises may be better than drugs at helping people cope with attention problems.
Research: Early Fitness Can Improve the Middle-Age Brain
From Gretchen Reynolds at the NY Times Phys Ed section:
“The more physically active you are at age 25, the better your thinking tends to be when you reach middle age, according to a large-scale new study. Encouragingly, the findings also suggest that if you negligently neglected to exercise when young, you can start now and still improve the health of your brain.”