Self-Maintenance For Your Machine

Everyone can classify themselves as an athlete, even if you haven’t picked up a ball or run/walked further than the car to the office in years.  In fact, one could think of an athlete as nothing more than someone who has to perform a skilled movement with efficiency.  This can be throwing a ball, sprinting or just simply walking up stairs or gardening.  Most people may not play sports, but they almost certainly perform certain “movement skills” each day such as walking, bending, lifting, cleaning, getting out of a chair, picking up kids, etc.  While we take these for granted as easy tasks, they all require a constant coordination of controlled movements from many muscles, joints and the brain.  And more accurately, the body needs to have a certain level of mobility and stability in the joints to move efficiently.  These activities should require no effort, but over time and years of inactivity and deconditioning, many people lose their ability to move without inducing stress and strain on their system.  This is just in reference to the average person, the mobility and stability demands rise tremendously when the average person goes from “desk athlete” to “weekend warrior athlete”.  Every person should be able to perform daily activities and their chosen sport without pain or breakdown, but this usually requires some self-maintenance or correction of movement skills.

The usual mechanism for injury in sports is a failure of some joint or muscle in the system.  This may seem obvious, but the real reason this structure fails is likely due to the person’s inability to get into a range of motion or control that motion.  If a runner sits at a desk or a car daily for 8+ hours, the probability of developing stiff hips or hamstrings from being in the seated position is very high.  Many of these people aren’t able to bend down and touch below their knees, but that certainly doesn’t stop them from running.  Taking tight hips/ hamstrings out on the road and then trying to run 10 miles greatly increases the range of motion demands from these structures and once those tight hamstrings are forced into a full stride, a strain or pull is just waiting to happen.  You could use this analogy with the golfer’s lower back which has tightened up from years of poor posture and sitting and then violently turned for hours on the course.  Just like pro athletes who train their bodies for their sport, the average person should do some training to adequately prepare for their activities.  This can be done in as little as 20 minutes a day once they realize what their body needs.

The concept of corrective exercise is becoming increasingly popular in the sports medicine world. An athlete can figure out what their biggest movement limitations or weaknesses are and then correct them before injury occurs.  Truly understanding what your movement limitations are typically requires evaluation from a doctor, therapist or sports performance coach.  A clinician can take a person through a series of tests called the Functional Movement Screen which measures that person’s ability to perform fundamental movements.  This information can then be used by the clinician to prescribe a series of home stretches, core exercises, joint stability exercises or postural drills that the person can perform to correct and remove their limitations to movement.  This will help the athlete function more efficiently and more importantly, reduce their injury risk.  The concept we use at Markel Health Performance is the same that is used at the highest levels of sports medicine, being proactive is always a better than being reactive when it comes to injury treatment.  Don’t wait for the injury that keeps you from running or exercising for weeks, when you can prevent it from ever happening.  If interested in a Functional Movement Screening and corrective exercise program, please visit contact us at (704)499-9128 or


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