Sedentary Society With Gym Workouts?

Living in the human body is both wonderful and terrible. It gives pleasure and pain, it is miraculous and beautiful, it is mysterious and frightening. It’s a complicated, individual organism requiring care on many levels. Each person requires both basic body care and care that’s unique to their system, yet all bodies are designed to move. It’s our natural, foundational blueprint. With current society primarily placing us at a desk, before a computer, seated in the car, or collapsed on the couch after doing the desk, the computer, and the car (so understandable!), our bodies don’t get the movement and strength training we need for well-rounded maintenance of this organic machine. Gym classes and workout routines are great, but we’re still primarily sedentary when you add up how we use our bodies over the hours. 

A good example here, the gluteal muscles and the imbalance that usually happens between the upper gluteus medius and minimus muscles, and the larger gluteus maximus muscle just below. Whether working on yourself with a sports ball and foam roller, or working on a massage client, the upper glutes generally feel tighter than the glute max below because they are used more often. The larger glute max muscle gets overstretched and weakened from the endless hours we’re sitting per day, per week, leaving these upper gluteal muscles to do the overtime. Add a weakened core area to that (also common from all the aforementioned), and we end up moving using tight low back muscles, upper glutes, and hip flexors, with residually weak, unengaged core and glute max muscles. 

Working the soft tissue right under that bony ridge of our posterior upper hip bone (the iliac crest), you’ll find the tightness set deeply there. For this post, I’m focusing on medius, since minimus sits deepest of all three gluteal muscles and can often be too sore to work on at first with clients (or in self-work). Zeroing in on that glute medius, you can start near the sacrum and do purposeful, slow circular friction moving out laterally along that iliac crest/upper hip bone line.  You can sense the overwork strain of the muscle tissue here in comparison to how the glute max tissue feels. It has the feel of a clenched fist, or a tiny army of fibers not dense enough to be doing the tasks at hand. Pushing and opening that tissue out and down, coaxing it from where it attaches along that bony ridge, can ease open the low back area and allow some space to open up. In both receiving and giving, it feels great once the whole hip area begins to open slightly away and decrease excess low back curvature; you can see the hips drop down slightly and often even out between L to R sides, once both sides have been addressed; a sensation of deeper breathing and ease of movement is felt in the area from the work. 

We know we need to move more. Consider all the different devices and apps that count our steps, or ring alarms if we’ve been still for too long. But if we do a slight shift in perspective from thinking “I NEED to move” to innately feeling “I’m DESIGNED to move,” our motivation can also shift. It’s subtle, but runs deeply thus: moving from intellectually accepting a truth and being disciplined about it, to physically, intuitively feeling that we MUST move to live, and that continuing to move throughout our life in body and consequently in mind and spirit, we live well. 

 

Copyright © by Lara Stillo 2017

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I have been licensed and working full time in the massage therapy field since 2001, teaching and writing MT courses since 2006. My experience has led me through working with several different chiropractors, hotel and boutique spas, corporate massage, a climbing gym wellness center, private practice, two different massage schools, one acupuncture/massage college, and my current capacity of working with physical therapy clinics and their patients. And the learning continues…

6 thoughts on “Sedentary Society With Gym Workouts?

  1. I really identify with this!!! So well said- it’s what I’ve been working on for 3 years with my own body. I see how out of alignment we become with this tightness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful and wise post, Lara. I especially love your suggestion that “… if we do a slight shift in perspective from thinking ‘I NEED to move’ to innately feeling ‘I’m DESIGNED to move,’ our motivation can also shift.” Silly as it sounds, it took a back injury to reconnect me with the simple joy of walking. Still, I’m going to take your lesson to heart and take better care of balancing those glutes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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