Brain Research Supports Quality of Movement Is the Key to Improvement

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Quality of Movement and Quality of Life:

quality of movement

  • Neural connections in the brain are constantly being created or deleted. How you live and act will govern these neural connections. The more automatic, habitual and rigid your thinking, quality of movement, and activities are, the more your brain will tend to deteriorate. The more likely you are to experience pain, limitation, boredom, illness, and even depression. If neural pathways are not used they actually die off in a process called “synaptic-pruning.” Most adult brains reflect a lot of pruning as people settle into habitual living patterns. They have a tendency to not use the full and complete patterns of movement.
  • The human brain is incredibly plastic—it changes itself extremely rapidly through its experiences of quality of movement throughout life.
  • Under the right conditions, the adult brain can also restructure itself in remarkable ways. The science of brain plasticity shows us how. Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain and nervous system to change structurally and functionally in response to experience.
  • Very specific and different forms of exercise bring about neuroplasticity changes in different brain regions. Meditation also positively affects the brain and the body’s ability to change and heal itself.
  • Two Keys 1) feed the brain with information it can use to form recognizable patterns and to organize and control all dimensions of movement and 2) Attention is needed to improve Quality of any movement and to get the most out of ANY Exercise.
  • Teeter totter principle: whatever is going up or forward in the body, the opposite partner is going down or back.
  • The hip joint is the ankle joint and will markedly influence balance and fall risk.
  • Breathing deeper and longer matters. Change the shape of the ribs and pelvis in movement restores youthfulness and fullness of quality of movement patterns.

Finding and Lengthening the Line: PB&B – Pubic Bone – Belly Button – Breastbone®

Activate the “line” before and during exercise routines, walking, routine activities of daily living (brushing teeth, grocery shopping, meal prep, sitting at a stop light, playing cards, computer, watching TV, etc.)

Basic Movements:

  • Locate the above 3 points of in your living body. Assess how long this line feels.
  • Touch the pubic bone point and belly button. Holding points scoot to the front of a chair using the “Sit bone walk”.
  • Actively shorten the line Belly Button – Pubic Bone and return to neutral position x 3-4 reps.
    • Feel how the low back rounds, sense rocking on sit bones
    • Experience the head, the ears, the trunk moving – bending forward.
    • Look at your hands: let your mind measure the moving line: short to long to short to long, etc.
  • Actively lengthen the line Belly Button – Pubic Bone x 3-4 reps.
    • Feel how the low back slightly arches, sense rocking forward on sit bones
    • Experience the head, the ears, the trunk moving – bending backward.
    • Keep feet flat on the floor, notice a slight downward press of feet into the floor, a slight squeezing together of your inner thighs, and perhaps a slight contraction of buttock muscles.
    • Notice a sensation of pressure and pulling inward of the fleshy tissue in the pelvic area below the belly button. This is normal. YOU WANT THIS.
  • Stop. Rest with your hands on the thighs. In your mind, pay attention to and assess the length of the line from Pubic Bone to Belly Button. Longer or shorter? Are you sitting less slumped or slouch? Are you sitting more “on top” of your sit bones?
  • Touch the Belly Button and the bottom of the Breast Bone. Holding points repeat steps C – E.
  • Stop. Rest with your hands on the thighs. In your mind, pay attention to
    and assess the length of the line from Belly Button to Breast Bone. Longer or shorter? Are you sitting less slumped or slouch? Are you sitting more “on top” of your sit bones?

Better Reaching and Standing on One Leg – Seated Strap Stretch® Freeing the ankles and hips

Basic Movements:

  • Scoot to the front of a chair using the “Sit bone walk”.
  • Lasso the ball of the foot with the strap and A = Align the extended leg so that the toes, knee and thigh are orientated toward ceiling. NOTE: it is not necessary to prop the foot up on a bench, bed or another chair. You can leave the heel on the floor.
  • P1 = Push the floor with the foot that allows the pelvis to lift up and align over the extended leg. Sit up “tall” and “lengthen the PB & B line”
  • P2 = Pull the straps toward the trunk while shoulder blades retract and take up the slack in the belt. HINGE at the GROIN as the trunk slightly leans forward. Hold for a count of 10.
    • Take care NOT to HYPER extend the knee. Keep in neutral or for some people slightly bent.
    • NO need to OVERGRIP the strap when pulling.
    • Sense a strong pulling sensation along the back of the thigh, knee, calf or sole of the foot. Any exercise that elicits a sharp pain should not be continued. This is not a “No pain, NO gain” type of exercise.
  • Slowly un-HINGE at the GROIN. Repeat steps A – D for 2 more times.
    • Stand and sense the difference between this leg and the non-strap stretch leg.
    • Lighter, longer, easier to stand on.
  • Repeat the seated strap stretch on the other leg.

The Teeter Totter Principle: Improving Single Leg Balance and Walking

Basic Movements:

  • Scoot to the front of a chair using the “Sit bone walk”. Sit up “tall” and “lengthen the PB & B line”.
  • Reach one hand up overhead.
  • Sense what happens to your pelvis and sit bones? – no quality of movement, tilting, weight bearing on the sit bone of the lifting hand or the sit bone of the resting hand? Repeat 2-3 reps.
  • Reach the other hand up over head. What does this side do? Same or different compared to the other hand? Repeat 2-3 reps.
  • Can you tilt the pelvis to weight bearing on the sit bone of the lifting hand? Repeat 2-3 reps.
  • Alternate the reaching over head and pelvic tilting: Right hand up – right sit bone down (Which really means the left sit bone is up.) Repeat 2-3 reps.
  • HINGE at the GROIN and stand up. Place feet a little less than shoulder width and “lengthen the PB & B line”.
  • Reach one hand up overhead.
    • Sense what happens to your pelvis and your feet? – no movement, tilting, weight bearing on the foot of the lifting hand or the foot of the resting hand? Repeat 2-3 reps.
    • Reach the other hand up over head. What does this side do? Same or different compared to the other hand? Repeat 2-3 reps.
    • Can you shift your pelvis and weight bear on the foot of the lifting hand. Repeat 2-3 reps.
    • Alternate the reaching over head and weight bear on the foot of the lifting hand: Right hand up – right foot pressing down. (Which really means the left heel and/or foot is lifting.) Repeat 2-3 reps each side.
    • Alternate the reaching over head and weight bear on the foot of the lifting hand and detach the other foot off the ground and lift knee and thigh forward to “table top” position. Repeat 2-3 reps each side.

Grip Strength to Improving Balance – Circling Ball around the Trunk

Basic Quality of Movement:

  • Hold the ball in the right hand. Scoot to the front of a chair using the “Sit bone walk”. Sit up “tall” and “lengthen the PB & B line”.
  • HINGE at the GROIN and stand up. Place feet a little less than shoulder width and “lengthen the PB & B line”.
  • Squeeze the ball “a little bit” not moderate or to the maximum. Spread the sensation of tightening muscles not just in the hand but the forearm, upper arm, shoulder and shoulder blade. Can you sense the contraction of the fleshy abdomen below the belly button? Release the grip.
  • Grip the ball again, not too tight and engage all the muscles of the arm, back, belly. Shift your pelvis to the right, reach right hand up overhead and weight bear on the right foot/left heel slightly lifting. Repeat raising and lowering the right hand 2-3 reps.
  • Repeat on the left side. Explore the grip in the left hand, same or different. Easier or harder to spread the sensation of tightening up the arm and into the back and fleshy pelvis?
  • With a little grip, shift your pelvis to the left, reach left hand up overhead and weight bear on the left foot/right heel slightly lifting. Repeat raising and lowering the left hand 2-3 reps. Rest in sitting.
  • Hold the ball in the right hand. Scoot to the front of a chair using the “Sit bone walk”. Sit up “tall” and “lengthen the PB & B line”.
  • HINGE at the GROIN and stand up. Place feet a little less than shoulder width and “lengthen the PB & B line”.
  • At the level of belly button, pass the ball from the right hand to the left hand. Continue taking the ball around the left side of the body and behind the back. At the imaginary level of the belly button, pass the ball from the left hand to the right hand. Continue to pass the ball at the level of the belly button, drawing a circle around the body. Can you stand “tall” and sense the “length of the PB & B line”. Can you close your eyes?
  • Stop. Reverse the direction of circle still passing at the level of the belly button in front and behind the back. Allow elbows to bend and straighten as needed. Stand “tall” and “lengthen the PB & B line”. Begin to walk in place.
  • Stop. Reverse the direction of circle still passing at the level of the belly button. Begin to walk around the room. A few times and while you are still circling, look over the right shoulder. Then left shoulder.
  • Stop. Reverse the direction of circle still passing at the level of the belly button. Begin to walk around the room. A few times and while you are still circling, look over the right shoulder. Then left shoulder.
  • Stop. Reverse the direction of circle still passing at the level of the belly button but actively squeeze the ball once with the receiving hand. Begin to walk around the room, each time squeezing the ball, once in front and then from behind. A few times, and while you are still circling and squeezing, look over the right shoulder. Then left shoulder.

Carol is a physical therapist, a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence. Focus, Align, Teach and Inspire! These qualities not only describe her work, but they also describe her presence. She is passionate when it comes to reconnecting learning with human function and health. Carol is in private practice at MontgomerySomatics.com in Columbus, Indiana.

 

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