Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Corrective Exercise and the Fight Against Inactivity
The technology revolution is not the only force impacting the future of fitness. There is another factor contributing to the changing needs of exercisers: evolution. Our bodies have been changing since the dawn of human kind. The athletic, hunter-gatherer-nomadic lifestyle has given way over time to a more sedentary and unregulated life for most. A life comprised of largely unilateral movements. The effects of our current day-to-day activity (or lack thereof) have shaped the growing fitness trend known as corrective exercise and postural training.
Corrective exercise techniques can be utilized to help relieve pain and some even claim it can reverse improper posture.
While corrective exercise is an area of training with many different philosophies, the foundation for these techniques is built around four core methods: massage, stretching, muscle strengthening and deep breathing.
Massage is a treatment meant to relax muscles and restore elasticity to the tissues. Posture-specific massage focuses on small knots and tension points that develop in a muscle when it is overloaded or has suffered trauma, causing joint pain, decreased range of motion, and even chronic stiffness. Combined with corrective exercise, massage techniques, such as foam roller, trigger point therapy and deep tissue work, can release adhesions have been shown to improve posture and enhance mobility .
Stretching is used to impart suppleness to our muscles. Advanced stretching techniques, like Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, are often performed with the aid of a corrective exercise specialist. Among the most effective methods for postural stretching, the Mézières method combines numerous muscle groups and promotes better total body posture.
Deep breathing exercises, particularly diaphragmatic breaths, can be incorporated into stretching and massage programs to augment their effectiveness. Expanding and contracting your diaphragm facilitates the simple benefit of stretching your chest muscles and some studies have shown even more comp lex effects like alleviating panic disorders and digestive diseases.
Strengthening your muscles can also help improve your posture, especially when you focus on your core. Use equipment designed to intentionally throw off your balance, like a Bosu ball, to tighten up your core, which will strengthen and lengthen your spine.
These core methods just touch the surface of corrective exercise and there is much debate around what methods are effective. We want to hear from you. What are your experiences with corrective exercise?
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