News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Where to find stability and balance

The body is a very integrated machine, down to the framework of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. When all of these are in harmonious alignment, they provide the body with stability, strength, injury resilience and balance.

This system is worth understanding better. It is fundamental to day-to-day mobility, and athletic prowess. If balance and stability or injury prevention is a concern, look at how the biomechanic machine is aligned or misaligned to gain insight on improvements.

The body is a compensatory phenomenon. If you have a sore knee, the muscles up and down the chain stiffen up to provide a sort of splinting around the injury. A person can live on the brink of catastrophic injury with these compensations for a long time. A muscle held in a long or shortened position will become adapted to it, and the reciprocal muscles will lose tone to adapt to this new alignment.

A forward lean creates tight back muscles, short hip flexors, and rounded shoulders. Balance is compromised and the core muscles can’t hold the midsection tight. When the body is held in a sitting position the diaphragm is squished and breathing is suboptimal. A weak foot leads to collapsing knee stability, painful squats, weak hips, and eventually back pain will ensue.

This is where a nuanced look at your posture, muscular tensions, and strength can be helpful. Tight muscles are often tight because of a weakness in other areas. Is the neck tight because of weakness in a shoulder range of motion? Will the core hold up to a step twist and catch of the bodyweight? Make these considerations and critically think about the system as a whole.

Once mobility, core function, and the system are better aligned, you will find the balance and stability you feel like you’ve been lacking. Think head over shoulders; chest open and shoulders rolled back; ribcage upright; flat lumbar spine with hips under your center; knees pointed forward; active foot with arches supporting.

This will be a starting point for all movements. Practice. If you need more help, coaches are a great asset. There are plenty of physical therapists, exercise specialists, chiropractors, and massage therapists around who know their stuff. Above all, think more about how your body is moving and what small changes can add up to a much better being.


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