Why are proper mechanics important?
The key to sustaining a fitness activity program is to feel great as a result of exercise and not get injured or too sore. Soreness lasting 3-10 days is a sign of over-working your body and an unhealthy way to seek results rapidly. The human body is beautifully complex in its many systems, one of them being the musculoskeletal system. This consists of our muscles, connective tissue and bones working together. Muscles act on bone. If our muscles do not work in balance with each other, allowing muscles not adequately positioned or equipped to take over, our bones will be pulled out of neutral alignment and we will move in poor posture.
A similar phenomenon is when our cars need to be realigned.
We make sure to get the car alignment checked to ensure optimal tire wear and tear. When our car is out of alignment, the tires will wear differently, in places it was not designed to accept road wear. Our body works the same way. When the human body is out of neutral and optimal alignment in all joints, our bones, joints and muscles will wear and tear early due to being put under stresses that are unnecessary and harmful.
With car tires, we may not realize the car alignment was out of balance until one tire becomes flat and irreparable.We may not know our bodies are experiencing imbalances and uneven wear until we are injured, such as disc herniation, rotator cuff tear, torn meniscus. We think to ourselves we never had pain or knew there was a problem until it happens. It seems to come out of the blue, however, it is usually due to a lifetime of repeated inefficient movement mechanics.
We do not know that we are not moving in the best way for our bodies. We are never actually taught to walk early in life, we just do it. Our body also tricks us by defaulting to the path of least resistance. This means the body will rely on fixed structures such as bone hitting bone or ligaments keeping joints together rather than use energy to utilize muscle activation to maintain optimal positioning. it takes work! Relying on fixed structures requires much less energy to maintain a position (the path of least resistance).
It’s not at all our conscious fault, which is why retraining our suboptimal movement mechanics is crucial to maintaining healthy joints and muscles. One study (Dolan, Green 2006) showed that after just 5 minutes of slouching, individuals were unable to sit up straight, with good posture in a neutral spine. The lower back no longer knew where its best position was. Imagine over a lifetime of slouching and moving improperly. Learning the proper way to move your body is the best way to counter the damage that has been building up. We may not be able to erase the damage of the joints, but we can prevent progressive worsening of the problems as well as allow the joints and muscles time to heal itself.
Dolan, K. J., & Green, A. (2006). Original Article: Lumbar spine reposition sense: The effect of a ‘slouched’ posture. Manual Therapy, 11(Conference Proceedings from the 2nd International Conference on Movement Dysfunction. Pain and Performance: Evidence and Effect), 202-207.