Love and marriage, horse and carriage – you know the song. The same is true of alignment and flexibility. You cannot have one without the other. As alignment increases, flexibility increases. As alignment declines, flexibility and our desire to move declines and we begin losing a wide range of movement.
When there is poor alignment, there is surely a lack of flexibility. Generally, the lifestyle is more sedentary and being active is uncomfortable. As we sit or lie in a curled-forward position, muscles in the front of the body grow shorter, while muscles in the back of the body stretch and stay in a locked-long position. Without strong, supportive back muscles, the body is unable to stay in erect alignment. As flexibility decreases, we want to sit more, move less and become more rigid. So, we sit even more. It is a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle.
Those in good alignment and balance are more active, energetic and are uncomfortable when sitting for long periods. Their body wants to move. The more they move, the greater their flexibility and the more erect their alignment. It is the healthy cycle of better alignment that is also self-perpetuating.
Constantly using the wrong muscles for a task or moving the body in a way it should not, little by little, can reshape our body, putting us off center and out of balance. We perform with less accuracy and endurance, while using precious energy to keep our body stable and balanced.
A body in erect alignment can spin like a top, balance on a beam and perform with accuracy, control and fluid movement while expending less energy. Balance, graceful movement and quick response come with good body mechanics. All are necessary for the best performance in any activity from simply walking to professional athletics.
Diane Whitacre, Structural Anatomist, RT ©2017