Almost daily it seems like there are new products and methods promising to help athletes achieve peak performance. Gym buffs and trainers alike are always searching for the next big thing. While there are certainly effective training techniques, there is no better way to immediately and significantly improve performance than to understand the way the body is designed to move.
The human body is designed to move perfectly. Don’t believe it? Consider this: Small children and toddlers (especially ones learning to walk) totter along, sit, and pick up toys, with perfect skeletal alignment. They move correctly and effortlessly. In fact, all of us are born with an instinctive ability to maintain body alignment, but as we grow older and gravity takes its toll and our alignment changes, hindering our athletic performance capabilities.
Not sure how your posture stacks up? Try this: Stand straight with your arms relaxed at your sides. Do you feel “tingling” in your fingers? If so, that’s a sign of good posture. Next, slowly walk forward. Do you feel a “pulse” in your fingers with every step? If you do, this is also a sign of proper posture. If not, keep reading!
Improving skeletal alignment and re-teaching the body to move correctly eliminates stress and strain on the body, improving agility, speed and strength. One of the easiest ways to reach a natural state of alignment is by practicing mental imagery, an exercise that integrates both the mind and body. Here’s how you do it:
- Stand straight with your arms relaxed (shoulders down completely) at your sides and imagine your head, like a helium balloon, is floating up off of your body. Don’t force this or put any strain the neck – just focus on the image of the balloon. Now, imagine that your feet are like roots of a tree and they are rooted into where you’re standing. See your spine like a rubber band perfectly stretched. That is, don’t see the “pull” too much or the rubber band will snap; if it’s too loose it’s wobbly and ineffective.
- Another tactic is this: Upon waking in the morning void the bladder and bowels and simply stand for about 10 minutes. At first, you may feel unbalanced but over a few weeks you’ll actually start to feel the body self correcting and you will actually feel “straighter”.
By: Neil Kagan
Neil has been studying and teaching body mechanics for close to 20 years. Since coming to SWFL in 1998, he has worked with hundred’s of students. For questions, you can reach Neil at 239-560-0052 or NeilAKagan@aol.com