As we age our mind and body becomes stiff, less mobile and sometimes painful. Daily tasks that were once performed with ease in the playground are now usually limited by a creaky back, hip, shoulder or knee.
Why? 2 main reasons:
The integrity of our joints decrease,
The surrounding joint ligaments, tendons and muscles become under utilized.
To help maintain the integrity of our joints, we need a basic understanding of our joints:
There are a number of joint classifications however we are concerned with the freely moveable joints, or synovial joints.
Synovial joints are comprised of an articular capsule housing a cavity, cartilage and synovial membrane and fluid.
Under normal healthy conditions the bones do not contact each other and the cartilage is slick and smooth. Its low friction surface is aided by the lubricant, shock absorber and nutrient distributor: synovial fluid. Synovial fluid is contained within the joint cavity and sponge like cartilage.
Correct joint movement pumps synovial fluid into and out of the cartilage effectively, providing nutrients and oxygen and allowing the cartilage to function without blood supply.
Less movement (even if the cartilage is not entirely healthy) leads to even less lubrication, shock absorption or nutrient distribution within the joint. Result: The remaining cartilage will suffer and the joint will become even stiffer!
With this understanding of ‘why’ we can begin to connect mind and body – reducing stiffness in both!
The next step is to ensure joint(s) movement occurs with the aid of surrounding joint structures especially the correct working postural (aiding posture) and phasic (aiding movement) muscles. This guarantees the joint remains centered and efficiency of movement is maximized – whether your goal is to run, jump, lift, swing, bike, climb, row, or move freely into old age!
How can you do this?
The main functional movements you need to master to ensure your body stays as supple and healthy as possible are: squatting, bending, lunging, twisting, pushing, pulling and gait (walking, jogging, running). These movement need to be mastered in isolation then integrated into more complex movement patterns that mimic everyday life and specific movement goals.