Understanding Functional Movement

Functional Movement is the ability to move your body efficiently by utilizing the right muscle groups to move the bones in an effortless, pain-free range of motion. Perfecting bio-mechanically efficiency with everything you do, regardless of whether it’s for competitive sports, general fitness, or everyday life activities, is crucial for preserving a healthy, sound body and preventing injury.

You would think that instantly the entire body would just function perfectly…but this really is far from the truth. From birth, we begin to develop muscle imbalances. Deficiency in muscle activation can result in poor muscle firing habits, and any kind of accident or injury will further restrict the body’s ability develop in a well-balanced manner. The outcome of these bad habits, good form is compromised – our stronger muscles get stronger, weaker muscles continue to get weaker. What’s needed is to learn and understand good functional movement habits to improve fitness, sports performance, and general good health.

If we regularly move our bodies with bad form, our joints get jammed together and movement is limited. Limited range of motion limits our flexibility and compromises strength which in turn can lead to injury. Aside from bad body mechanics resulting in a potential injury, our body can get used to these muscle habits and accept them as the way to move all of the time!

As an example: Let’s say your knee and hip hurts, since you repeatedly lock the knee joint when you walk. You’ve walked, and practiced constantly straightening the knee joints to a locked position and jamming the legs into the ground with every step! Many years later…you are faced with a knee or hip replacement operation due to the fact you can’t take the pain anymore. Replacing the joint can take the pain away, but until you develop new and better functional movement habits, and learn how to swing the leg and support walking safely with the right support, you will continue experiencing difficulty. (And it is probable that, with the many years of hobbling around in pain, you’re also struggling with foot pain, knee or hip problems on the other leg, and back troubles.) For an easy-to-learn exercise routine to obtain conditioning in knee cap and easily discover ways to not lock the knees - check out this post & video: “Avoid Knee Pain - Patella Tracking Exercise Tips”

Superior functional movement isn’t just about the knees or hips… It doesn’t really make a difference if it’s our knee joints, feet, ankles, pelvis, lower back, upper spine, shoulders, arms, or neck…the whole body was created as a system of levers and pulleys that function to move us with mechanical efficiency. Whenever we hike, run, play sports, lift weights, or merely sit in front of the computer - we should be mindful of the way we are utilizing ALL of our muscle groups to maximize our form and efficiency for healthier functional movement.

Pilates is one of the most effective training systems to help maximize body awareness and explore different ways to fine-tune fitness for optimal functional movement. If we are not aware of our good and bad workout habits, it's not easy to correct them! Furthermore, without becoming more body aware and conscious of our functional movement habits, we won't know there’s a problem until we get injured! In my personal opinion, it’s best to understand efficient functional movement routines with Pilate’s workouts, and then use and apply this knowledge to all other fitness routines and everyday life activities to benefit and reinforce good movement, good health, and good posture.

You can discover functional movement habits to improve from the soles of your feet, to the top of your head. If any area of our structure is struggling with discomfort, there’s a strong possibility that certain parts of our body’s functional movement system have been affected. Injury, muscle imbalance, too tight, stiff, weak… Regardless of the issue, your age, or how long you’ve been moving with poor body mechanics, if you’re serious about feeling better and are ready to pay more attention to enhancing form for better functional movement, your habits can start to change and improve!

How to improve? Assess your current posture, breathing, and movement habits. Improve body awareness. Begin practicing exercises designed to help you strengthen your weaker muscles and stretch the ones that are too tight for better, more balanced muscle development. By practicing exercises with better mechanical efficiency, you’ll begin to see and feel the health improvement benefits of focusing on how your body moves, and enjoy moving well with superior functional movement for enhanced whole-body health and wellness.

Author's Bio: 

Aliesa George is the founder of Centerworks® Pilates. She is an author, workshop presenter, and mind-body health expert with more than 25 years of experience designing solutions for health improvement. Aliesa has created a wide variety of products focused on Pilates, Foot Fitness, the Mind-Body Connection, Stress-Management, and Whole-Body Health. She enjoys helping others discover the connection between thought and action to get positive results and achieve goals for a healthy mind, body and spirit!

To get complete product information and read more of her articles, go to http://www.Centerworks.com