It isn’t always easy to keep moving – illness, injury, stress and accidents all take their toll over the years. Sometimes we assume that this is just part of the process of getting older. Some of us fight back with all our might but keep hitting injury barriers, and others of us just decide to give up gracefully, gradually losing more and more physical ability.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Let’s start with how we think about the painful area. Our “bad knee” or “gammy hip” is often the body part that we put under the most pressure. We can become frustrated and angry with that body part, and feel that it is letting us down, but if we look more closely at our movement and postural habits, it is quite common to see that the painful area has been astoundingly tolerant of the repetitive, continuous loading that has been heaped upon it. However, our joints, tendons and muscles are not designed to manage abnormal stress over long periods of time.
Just take a look at people walking down the street – how many of them have level shoulders and hips as they walk? Many of them lurch from side to side, or load their hips and spines with an asymmetrical swagger. These movement habits are so prevalent that we think they are normal.
Gravity likes to find a straight line to the ground, and the more bends and kinks you have in your body, the more pressure it creates on the joints, ligaments and muscles. It is a bit like pools and eddies in a river, where the water becomes caught and prevented from flowing freely downstream.
Every time gravity becomes caught in these “kinks”, the forces which should be shared in your body become focused on one smaller area. This area is usually the one which eventually breaks down.
Yet we think that these aches and pains come out of nowhere.
How about those knees?
Take a look at the pictures below – which one would you be? No prizes for guessing that the picture on the left shows a movement that will create greater stress on the knee and hip.
The irony is that the worse our pain gets, the worse we move, and the more pain we have.
Is there any good news?
Yes, indeed. Pain is often strongly associated in our minds with disease, or a specific diagnosis, but we now know that when people learn to use themselves more effectively, and rediscover qualities like balance and muscle coordination, they can make remarkable differences to themselves.
The trick is to take the pressure off.
Click the green boxes above for some everyday tips to get you started. You can also watch our videos for tips and inspiration on how to move beautifully.