As a Physiotherapist and Pilates teacher it has been my privilege to teach people therapeutic exercises for over 30 years. I have come to know that doing any activity which involves movement is better than not moving, but it definitely is the case that we get more ‘bang for our buck’ if we are Moving Well.
What do I mean by this? Moving well is when we perform an exercise with the joints in the ideal alignment and activate the right muscles at the right time in the right way; this in turn reduces our risk of injury and wear and tear by distributing forces more equally between all the different structures involved; muscles, ligament, tendon, cartilage, discs etc.
Teaching my online classes this week I was reminded of the Bananarama song ‘it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it’ and I truly believe this to be true. Moving with Precision and Control is at the heart of every Pilates movement we make and it is this attention to detail which sets pilates above its competitors in my opinion.
This is what I refer to as our Pilates Insurance Policy and this is where my expertise in teaching corrective exercise comes in. Over the years I have observed thousands of people moving and developed the language to communicate the subtleties of moving well to anyone interested in improving How they move.
Painful knees, hips and backs can all get in the way of moving about freely hence why prevention is my modus operandi. It is vital in my opinion to look after our bodies and keep moving not least since research shows that the speed at which we walk is ‘a simple and accessible predictor of overall health in the older adult’. Studenski et al
This brings me to share Sylvia's story (a made up name and she gave her permission to share this story). Sylvia came to see me after having suffered years of intermittent low back pain. Following surgery for severe sciatic pain, although a relative success, she was left with some persistent weakness in her left leg and ongoing episodes of low back pain.
What quickly became obvious was that this client had a ‘habit’ of tucking her pelvis under. When we discussed it, she was aware of doing this and informed me that this was a movement she did in order to ‘protect herself’. This was not anything she had been taught to do and so to get technical this pelvic tuck actually caused the lower lumbar spine to be in slight flexion, which lumbar discs like the least. Not only that, the tuck reduces the range of hip extension available when walking. This resulted in a slightly unusual gait pattern which I observed and she said ‘felt restricted and tiring’ to her, but she didn't know how to change it for the better.
Sylvia and I worked together and she was highly motivated to change her movement habits. She is thrilled with the results and now she tells me that people she knows from walking her dog are actually commenting on how well she is moving as she walks about her village. Not only that now walking feels effortless and takes a whole lot less energy than it did before.
These ‘faulty’ movements which people adopt, usually subconsciously during episodes of pain, become a ‘habit’ so that even when the pain subsides they continue to move in a ‘faulty’ way. In my opinion this is one of the reasons why pain persists long after an injury has healed leading to chronic pain and disability for some people.
So let me help you to move well, move more, and who knows maybe live longer.