More than likely your body mechanics aren’t working like an athlete, but do they work well for your level of activity? It doesn’t matter if you move like an athlete, as long as your body is moving. But, the key is to move your body correctly and safely.
Just because you aren’t an Olympian doesn’t mean your body mechanics are any less vulnerable or significant than that of an athlete. And, you still need to be aware of how those mechanics can help your lifestyle or severely hinder your lifestyle, how your body needs to be treated, how your body mechanics work, and what to do when something breaks down.
The Mechanics of a Body
Just like a car, we have all these working parts. If the engine isn’t running well, the rest of the car breaks. This is the same way the body works. If the heart, the engine, isn’t running well..well, you can guess or know the rest. It’s important that we keep the body in tip-top shape. This means we go for regular checkups, we eat healthily, we exercise, we get adjustments, we meditate, and we care for ourselves.
If you are an athlete, you know when something isn’t right. It could be as small as you slept in the wrong position, that next day you will get up and know your body isn’t working properly. That is how fine-tuned an athlete’s body is. The average person might not be as self-aware of what their bodies are doing or need to do. For instance, if you are tired, your body is telling you to sleep or that a hormone could be out of whack. If you have knee pain, it could be coming from your back, they way you stand, walk, or even sit.
The mechanics aren’t just the guts of the car or the guts of you; they are the bones, joints, tendons, and muscle. It all needs to work together to be that well-oiled machine it can be.
What To Do When The Mechanics Fail
It’s no fun to suffer an injury or to age and have our body mechanics begin to fail, but when you start to experience any pain, especially chronic pain, it’s time to take action.
The purpose of our mechanics is to climb trees, run, throw and carry. We make adaptations to the way our body is used which results in bad alignment and faulty mechanics. For instance, we bend over our phones, computers, and tablets all day. What can we do to correct this so mechanically we are in the best shape possible?
At the core of any athletes or any person’s wellness for their body should be through postural and movement analysis. Our bodies are complicated and treating the mechanics can be done through prevention and ongoing maintenance. Let’s learn about each.
Mechanics of the Spine/Lower Back
If your fingers or toes tingle, it could be a problem with your spine or lower back. Many times, this is overlooked as a cause, and doctor’s think it might have to do with nerve compression. This makes sense, but when you are an athlete, your lower back, and your spine can take a beating. The body is interconnected, and it can rarely be treated or addressed in isolation.
Spine anatomy is as follows: cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine with seven, twelve and five vertebrae respectively, plus the sacrum and tailbone. Now, this is how your body connects to the spine.
The Shoulder blades or scapulae articulate with the ribs which articulate with the spine. Because the thoracic spine often lacks mobility in extension, it can affect the motion of the shoulder and cause pain in a swimmer, gymnast, pitcher or tennis player.
The maintenance for this would be functional strength training, chiropractic adjustments, heat to keep the muscle loose, and a proper stretching routine periodically during the day.
Similar problems can form in the hips from the spine. For instance, tennis players who twist often can put strain and stress on their hip joints, causing them to wear down over the years. Runners can also experience hip problems as can any athlete who is in motion and changes direction quickly.
The maintenance is core strengthening exercises to increase stability, chiropractic adjustments, fascia rollers, and stretching. Yoga is great if you have hip problems because it gently stretches the muscles and tendons without putting stress on them.
A stiff spine is like a broken suspension. Ground reaction forces do not get absorbed up the chain which can cause problems at the feet and knees for runners and other athletes that pound the ground.
Maintain Body Mechanics
The bottom line is that keeping the mechanics of your body, whether you walk for fun, run for sport, hike because you love mountains or are a professional athlete takes work. Think about core strengthening exercises, stretching to keep your spine loose, and regular visits to be adjusted.
If you take care of your body, just like your car, it will take care of you.