I remember back in college, my microanatomy tests were the worst. They were scantron, but offering answers A-E wasn’t enough, so they would offer A- J, all of the above, none of the above, only A-D, only F- I, etc.. Or sometimes teacher would ask of all the options, pick the 1 MOST right out of 10 correct answers.
This idea what is the MOST right answer plays true in body as well. I need everyone reading this to stop what they’re doing. Stand up; gather around, and rock this place to the ground. Then, while standing, reach down and touch your toes.
Can you? If so, great, keep it up. If not, why?
- Is it because of tight muscles?
- Tight tendons?
- Too much lunch?
- Shirt too starched?
- Or something else entirely?
Well, the most right answer is something else entirely. Flexibility is super important for the body. Now I am not talking Cirque du Soleil flexibility. But being able to touch your toes tells us a lot about your body.
Stretching is as much, if not more, a function of the nervous system as anything else. The body is programmed, that above all else, to prioritize self-preservation. The brain and nerves won’t allow your body to do anything it senses may cause harm. It’s like your wife; kills all the fun. If you can’t touch your toes, it might be because the body knows that you don’t have the core stability to handle the load of increased flexion. This is the body’s way of preventing larger issues such as blown out disc.
So inflexibility is a sign of weakness in the core which is a precursor to injuries. The core isn’t all about side bends and sit ups. It’s about activation. You could be a Pilates and yoga guru, have the tightest abs and pelvis floor in the world; no matter how strong the core is, if it’s not engaging, it’s not working.
How would you know if your core is firing?
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Put 1 hand on your stomach and 1 on your chest.
If the hand on your chest moves and/or the one on your stomach doesn’t; call me
If the hand on your stomach does not move twice as much as the one on your chest; call me because PT in our office‘s main goal so core strength and activation.