Winter is brutal on our bodies. Muscles, joints, bones and minds take some big hits as the temperatures decrease. Oftentimes people just deal with the aches and pains as part of the change in seasons, and perhaps throw medications at the problems. What if you could reduce the severity of your aches and pain without pain relievers in your medicine cabinet? It can be done by focusing on functional movement! Functional movement is vital for the winter months in order to prevent winter aches and pains, and decrease the severity of winter injuries.
What is Functional Movement?
There are plenty of complex explanations out there for functional movement, but we’ll keep it simple: it’s natural movement a human body partakes in each day. When a movement engages your joints in a full range of motion and relies on muscles to complete the motion – that’s functional movement.
The seven basic movements the human body performs on a daily basis, without you truly realizing it: push, pull, lunge, rotation, gait, squat, and hinge. Throughout each day, without even participating in dedicated “gym workouts” the body performs all seven of these functional movements.
At any time during the day that you push weight away from your body, you’re engaged in a functional movement. Your chest, triceps, and front shoulders are working together to push a door open, a box out of the way, or a stack of papers from one spot on your desk to another.
Does anyone truly pay attention to how many times a day you pull something? If you’re pulling any kind of weight towards your body in a horizontal motion, it engages the mid and upper back, along with biceps, forearms and rear shoulders. Nothing has to be super heavy, it just has to require any kind of weight and the motion in order to be labeled functional movement. Pull open a door, or pull your dog on a leash to keep them from running into the street, and that’s movement!
All it takes is one foot further forward than the other foot to perform a lunge. We may not realize we lunge during the course of a regular day, because we normally only think about lunges when we’re in the gym doing them for our personal trainer. But, if you start to pay attention, you’ll catch yourself in a lunge and nod to yourself when you remember this article! Like “yeah, damn, Be Well was right, I do lunge”.
We rotate all day long in our cars, office chairs, while we cook, and when we’re dealing with kids. If you’re using your core, rotation is happening. Play sports? It’s the main motion when you’re throwing or kicking a ball, and if you change directions when running or walking.
Gait is a fancy word for how we walk. We involve a variety of movements in our gait like lunging and rotating. If your gait is funky, it affects your entire body. If your body doesn’t step down properly, it can cause excruciating pain to your knees, hips, and back. Knowing the proper walking motion can help alleviate a number of joint aches and pains!
How many times do you squat to get a pot out of your lower kitchen cabinets, or to check on what’s roasting in an oven? Need to see something on a low shelf at the store, what do you do? You squat down low to get a closer look at the items on the shelf. Strong glutes, along with a strong core and quads create a much smoother squat motion that can also help you avoid causing injuries.
If you pick things up off the floor by bending over, not squatting, you’re involved in a hinge functional movement. If your butt kicks back and your spine remains neutral, it’s the hinge movement. Most people don’t know this is what it’s called, and most people just say “bending over”. Whatever you refer to it as, you want to have a strong set of hamstrings, glutes and of course, a strong lower back.
In the winter months, our bodies tend to tighten up in cold temperatures. Muscle and tendon elasticity decline when temperatures decrease, and blood flow also declines in lower temperatures. We also participate in activities that are taxing on our bodies, like shoveling snow.
In order to avoid serious injuries in winter months, improving your functional movement is vital. If you happen to injure yourself, in order to heal faster, functional movement is once again vital to your recovery.
The Best Tools to Prevent Winter Aches and Pains
In order to prevent winter injuries, it’s important to start with a strong, healthy spine and body. There are no guarantees in life, and accidents and falls happen, which cause injuries not just in the winter but also throughout the year. However, stronger spines and bodies certainly give people a better chance at avoiding extreme aches, pains, and severe injuries.
The best tools to prevent and combat winter aches, pains, and winter injuries:
- Chiropractic Care: a healthy spine creates a healthy body.
- Movology: a custom program that focuses on what your body requires to promote daily functional movement.
- Massage: your body heals faster with proper circulation, and when your muscles are more relaxed your body has an easier time moving and grooving!
Movology at Be Well Lifestyle Centers
Movology is a relatively new movement and recovery program combining stretching, compression therapy, electric stimulation, exercise and other modalities to improve functional movement. The Be Well Lifestyle Centers team of professionals create a program specifically catered to each client’s needs and health concerns, so no two programs are exactly the same and often pull chiropractic care and massage therapy into the overall plan. It all starts with a consultation where our team will learn more about your health history. During your consultation, all of your concerns about the aches and pains you suffer from will be discussed.
We are dedicated to learning all about the aches, pains, and injuries not just during the cold temperatures in winter, but throughout the entire year regardless of the temperatures. We want you to feel your best all year long!
Give us a call to book your appointment today.
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