When did we stop listening to our bodies?

Every human has an internal wisdom which guides and directs us. Our belief systems are like computer programs. When we are old enough to hear and see, we begin to program ourselves. We believe anything our role models tell us, even if what they tell us goes against our own feelings or bodily impulses. For example, if the child is hungry and tells the caregiver, and the caregiver says, “How could you be hungry, you just ate,” the child’s computer programming will take in that information and register that the child’s bodily impulses are incorrect. This is one way we lose our mind/body connection. We begin to live in our heads and totally reject contradictory messages communicated by our physical bodies, which, paradoxically, happens to be the most innately wise part of our entire being. Our body wisdom is shaped by our experiences and our bodies are the vehicles we use to travel the path of life.

Our wisdom tells us if we are doing the right things for the right reasons. Is this a pain we should work through or does it indicate to modify or stop? If we listen and act accordingly, we will know much more about our health. We tend to concentrate on specific athletic endeavors as opposed to a variety of activities that create a balanced body. This comes from following fitness fads, competitions, or body dysmorphic disorders.

The body begins to compensate for various reasons including, over tight muscles, weak muscles, over rotation, limb length changes, etc. Continual compensation leads to dysfunction and more compensation. Anatomical dysfunctions can interfere with the body’s ability to perform both physical and mental tasks. When there are postural changes, the whole kinetic chain is interrupted and the whole skeletal system is affected.
These misalignments also affect the performance of other body systems, including the cardiovascular, digestive and respiratory systems.

When developing program design both clients and trainers need to understand a systematic approach using a four stage progression model which will ensure proper body mechanics and correct kinetic chain firing.
Stage one evaluates stability and the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position without compensation. This is achieved by synergistic actions of the components of the joints and the neuromuscular system without compromising joint mobility.
Stage two evaluates mobility and the range of uninhibited movement around a joint. This is achieved by the synergistic actions of the components of the joint and the neuromuscular system without compromising joint stability. There are 5 fundamental movement patterns which include: bend and lift, push, pull, rotation, and one leg movements.
Stage three incorporates loading using traditional programming to achieve muscular strength and endurance. This phase should not be implemented until phase one and two are achieved.
Stage four addresses skill-related components of fitness which help improve the functionality of performance and include: agility, balance, reaction time, coordination, speed, and power.

Dianne McCaughey, PhD
FAI Advisory Board Member


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