Having good posture and movement control, so that we place minimum stress on our bones and soft tissue is important for our well-being. It also helps us to get the most out of sport and fitness programs and to look better and more confident.
How do our bodies get out of balance?
There are lots of reasons for this:
- Lifestyle factors such as sitting for long periods, wearing high heels and spending too much time looking down
- Pregnancy – the weight of the baby causes changes that don’t automatically correct once the baby is born
- Being overweight – carrying excess body fat causes more strain on joints. As with pregnancy, problems don’t automatically correct after weight loss.
- Being underweight – being underweight causes muscles to waste. This can also cause muscle imbalances which don’t correct without help.
- Occupation – if you do a job which involves physical work, then you will often be using your muscles in a way that is less than ideal for your body. Or you may do a job which involves repetitive movement patterns that over time cause muscle tightness and pain.
- Anxiety and nervousness – feeling unsure about situations, worrying, lacking confidence, stress etc. can cause people to tense up muscles or adopt defensive postures. Over time, muscles hold onto the tension and poor posture.
- Injury – even a minor injury can cause changes in muscle balance. This can be due both to moving awkwardly while we are injured, as well as scar tissue that forms as a natural part of the healing process. Like all muscle imbalances, they won’t just correct themselves.
- Overuse – this is common in people who do a lot of sport and fitness training and work on particular muscle groups
How corrective exercise helps
Corrective exercise programs focus on re-balancing the muscles by stretching tight muscles and strengthening weak ones. This shifts the joints back into their ideal alignment. Corrective exercise also works on movement quality and control. This helps to improve exercise technique and therefore makes sport and fitness training more effective.
In the case of injury, ideally, a massage, stretching and exercise program should start as soon as the acute (first few days) phase of the injury is over. This will help avoid scar tissue being laid down and causing restricted movement. Once healing is complete, strength in the injured tissues can be built back up.
Combining corrective exercise with massage
Corrective exercise is very effective on its own, but massage can help to improve results. It can help to release tension in muscles and break down adhesions in the muscle tissue. It can also help more general relaxation for people with stress and anxiety issues. Having some massage treatments can therefore make your corrective exercise program more effective and help you to get improvements more quickly.