The Body Personified – Happy New Year 2017!
Feeling rejuvenated for the New Year? Got those resolutions in place? Congratulations.
2016 was a trying year and one they say will go down in History as ‘yeah, that year …’ so bye bye 2016 and Hello to a whole new start.
Now is the time to shake off the Holiday ‘oh just one more’, get up from the sofa and switch off the remote. Clear up the Christmas decorations and start the new diary. We know it’s cold outside, and times the sun ain’t shining, but nothing like the present to shape up for the future …
Thanks to Sam Jupp, our Sports Massage Specialist for her contribution to the blog. You can read more about Sam on our website. We highly recommend you spoil yourself with a Sports massage, and why not spoil a loved one too?
The Body of the Blog
Postural Importance – start the new year with confident posture:
“The shape of our body is a graphic expression of how we think and feel. It reflects our history, for our structure is moulded by our individual experience of life. Our basic body shape, as well as the separate parts of our frame, reveals a great deal about our psychology.
We come into the world with aspects of our gene pools shaped by our forefathers, but how we then develop is tempered by a variety of other influences; our upbringing, our physical and psychological nourishment in term of ideas we take in, how and where we live, our emotional attitudes, occupations and physical activities.”
Lidell, L. (2000) The Book of Massage: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Eastern and Western Techniques. Simon and Schuster.
Typically, when talking about posture we consider the shape of the body whilst an individual is standing, however, standing is not a static position – a person does not stand completely still even if trying to do so. Instead, “postural sway”, a continual shifting of the body’s Centre of Gravity, pulls on opposing pairs of muscle groups irregularly, causing alternating activity and rest. This helps reduce fatigue and assists in venous and lymphatic return. For example, guardsmen are instructed actively to induce postural sway by regularly adjusting their body weight from the front to the back of their feet to maintain circulation and prevent fainting.
What shapes posture?
- Pressure sensors in the soles of the feet and proprioceptors in the ankle joints detect the proportion of weight distributed between left and right and between the balls and heels of the feet.
- The apparatus of the ears can detect any change in equilibrium, even before it occurs, and send messages to the brain.
- The eyes detect a level horizon and feedback to the brain causes postural adjustment to try to keep the eyes parallel with that horizon.
- Neurological structures in muscle and tendon tissue detect changes in muscle tensions and the rate of that change.
If posture is efficient (“good posture”), it requires little energy to maintain and causes few long-term stresses on the body. If posture becomes inefficient, (“‘poor posture”), active muscle work becomes necessary to redistribute body mass and hold it there. This is an energy-consuming process; energy which is not then available for other purposes. It also subjects the joints of the body to abnormal stresses and dysfunction. The further the centre of gravity deviates from the ideal, the more energy is consumed by the body. As a result, it is often postural imbalance, which is responsible for low energy states and subsequent ‘ill health’. In other words, poor posture will adversely affect how the body functions and, over time, this alteration in function will produce further postural or structural changes.
We all recognise the fact that our emotions influence our posture – visualise how your posture changes when you feel confident or happy as opposed to depressed, anxious or fatigued. But does the relationship work the other way around? In other words, does our posture influence our emotions? Poor posture requires more energy expenditure by the musculoskeletal system, leaving less available for body maintenance and repair. The resultant long-term or repeated ‘ill health’ may have an effect on emotional well-being producing a spiral of poor health and negative emotional state. ‘Psychosomatic’ is a term often used to suggest that a person’s ill health is ‘all in the mind’, frequently implying that they could ‘snap out of it’ and make themselves feel better if only they had the desire to do so. Yet there are measurable, physiological effects which may be both the cause and effect of positive and negative emotions confirming that the body is a unity of mind, body and spirit. Therefore, think positive and your body will follow and vice versa.
Five ways to …
5 Ways to get flexible:
- Stretch before exercise! Stretching is so important to prepare your muscles for exercise.
- Foam roll! Foam rolling is a great way to get rid of tension and encourage rehabilitation.
- Try a new class! Yoga and pilates are great ways to start a healthy new year.
- Keep moving! Getting up from your desk every half an hour to stretch, mobilise and reset your posture.
- Go get a massage! Flushing away toxins and encouraging nutrients is the key to healthy muscles.
The Stretching Corner
Sitting at desks all day means that our lower back can feel stiff and uncomfortable. Here is a stretch that can be done in the morning, during the day and after work:
- Stand about 1 ½ feet from a door frame
- Cross the leg furthest from the doorframe behind the other
- Placing your hands shoulder width apart, wrap your fingers around the doorframe and grip
- Lean back and twist so you feel a stretch down the side and into the lower back
Food for Thought
Christ Penter, our fabulous Chiropracter has some excellent thoughts to inspire you at the beginning of the year.
With the New Year upon us, no doubt a few of us have sat down and written a whole list of New Year resolution, goals to achieve both big and small, short term and long term. These are all very well as they tend to motivate us to push forward, however, sometimes we get frustrated when we realise that some of those resolutions are almost impossible to reach in the next year. I want to remind you, dear reader, of a study that was done a whilst ago where a question was asked to those patients suffering from terminal cancer – if you could live your life over again, what would you do? Only two things came up.
Firstly health and secondly relationships.
These are keys to a happy life, good health and good relationships be it with your parents, your spouse, your siblings, kids, friends etc. So, take some time out and think about these two things. What can you do to improve your health and relationships? And then do it. Health can be things like eating correctly (and Vitamin D for the winter) as well as walking/ exercising more regularly. Relationships can be calling someone and chatting, strengthening current relationships and building new relationships. Ponder on these things for a while, and have a great 2017.