Balance is a critical part of the health of our life, and our bodies. Good health is not just about eating right or exercising for strong muscles, it’s about achieving a whole health that includes balance and symmetry. Just like if you eat too many fatty, processed foods and your body becomes prone to weight gain and an unhealthy diet, imbalance in the strength and stability of your muscles and body can lead to injury.
Muscle imbalances happen when opposing muscles are disproportionately strong. The two sides of your body – left and right and front and back – are mirrors of each other with corresponding muscles, ligaments, and tendons. A balanced body functions and performs better. If there is imbalance, your body is functioning outside of the natural, preferred state of symmetry, and pain or injury can occur more easily.
For example, office workers who sit at a desk all day working the chest area (typing and moving a mouse around) often find that their shoulders move forward. This causes an imbalance of strength between the front (chest) and back (shoulder blades) of your body. Over time, muscle tightness can lead to poor performance, pain and possible injury.
According to Mark Verstegen, president and founder of Athletes’ Performance and Core Performance, “About 65 percent of injuries—both athletic and lifestyle-related—come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances.” With balance and symmetry, the risk of joint pain and musculoskeletal injuries is reduced.
A Functional Movement Screen is an excellent start to gauge your body’s symmetry, stability, and functional mobility of different areas of your body. You will be able to notice weaknesses and imbalances that may leave you prone to injury, so that you can work to correct them through methods such as massage, physical therapy, and exercise.
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