By Kim Hanson PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS
Have you recently found yourself slumping over at your desk? Or noticed your knees buckling inward and the arches of your feet flattening when you pick something up? Just like with unhealthy diets or workout routines, we can get stuck in a rut with faulty movement patterns. Whether it’s poor posture or improper alignment, performing these faulty movement patterns regularly over time can lead to serious pain or injury.
The good news is that you can correct these faulty movement patterns before they get worse. Here are some top tips to move better─and feel better─in 2018.
Take It Back to the Basics: Relearn “Neutral” Positions
Take it back to the basics and relearn the correct neutral positions for sitting, standing, and lying down. These may feel unnatural at first, but will grow to feel more normal over time:
Check In on Your Ability to Move Individual Joints and Muscle Groups
The body is a complex machine, and each part must move well on its own in order to function properly in the wider system. To get each individual part working correctly:
Find out what muscles are weak and strengthen them. You may already know this on your own, or a physical therapist can help to pinpoint weaker areas. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to work on strengthening the primary stabilizer muscles that serve to support the body: the core, the glutes (which help to stabilize the hip and knee), and the lower trapezius (which protects the shoulder). You may find it helpful to work on pelvic tilts and hip hinging in the process.
Stretch tight muscles. Commonly tight muscles often include the pectorals (chest muscles), hamstrings, and hip flexors (muscles that help with hip movement). Stretching these muscles, and more, can help to increase your mobility so you can move move with ease.
No matter what you do in 2018, just make sure you MOVE regularly. By giving your body the movement it craves, you’ll be stronger, more flexible, and less prone to injury.
A functional movement assessment from one of our skilled physical therapists can help determine any faulty movement patterns or address pain or injury. Call or stop by one of our locations to make an appointment.