Some people say ‘use it or lose it’ as a way to keep the body mobile as they age. I believe it is how we ‘use it and move it’. Bad posture and a lack of understanding as to where our joints are, and how the bones are designed to move in those joints, can cause unnecessary wear and tear. Sometimes this leads to pain in other areas of the body or, at its worst, joint replacement surgery later in life.
The pelvis, for example, has five joints within it and five joints connecting it to the body. It has four bones: two hip bones, the sacrum and the coccyx, which used to be extended behind the body as our tail and has now curled under the pelvis with its muscles fanning out to support our organs, aka the pelvic floor.
When the pelvis is misaligned and lacking mobility, the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments lose their ability to absorb force, which is then sent like a shockwave up the body. Does your back ever hurt when you land after a jump, or have you had to give up running? To get more injury-free movement, we need to embody the pelvis as a collection of bones which move independently of but also in conjunction with each other.
Have you ever been told to ‘square your hips’? Well, it is impossible, as the pelvic bones are different sizes and shapes, and none of them has a right angle. We are also designed to be dynamic, not static; and as soon as we move, our bones move in different directions. Think of Sir Tom Jones and his gyrating Snake Hips (in fairness, some people might argue it looks a little wooden . . . Tom, I LOVE you!). But what about Shakira? Her hips certainly didn’t lie. They twist, twirl and swizzle as her spine undulates in response.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Understanding how the pelvis functions can help us stay mobile into old age, and be able not only to squat, but also to move from sitting to standing without having to pull or push ourselves up.[/perfectpullquote]
Professionals especially need to embrace the dynamic pelvis to avoid injury. Think of the graceful ballet dancer in a deep plié. We might think she is a wonder of flexibility, but most dance companies have an injury rate of 80 per cent, with many dancers pushing themselves to achieve shapes beyond the body’s natural movement patterns.
Better to be inspired by watching a young child pick something off the floor: they bend their knees and squat down deeply. They have full mobility in their hips, as they have not yet developed poor movement habits, and their bodies have not been moulded by sitting at a desk for hours or slouching on a sofa.
Understanding how the pelvis functions can help us stay mobile into old age, and be able not only to squat, but also to move from sitting to standing without having to pull or push ourselves up.
Happy Hips Workshop
I shall be sharing some simple yet highly successful movement techniques during my Happy Hips Workshop on Sunday 8 July at Primrose Hill Community Library. For further information please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how I can enhance your hip mobility, resulting in improved walking, squats and running.