Posted by Ronelle Wood on 09/03/2016

Self-Health Movement

Self-Health Movement

Self-Health Movement


Ronelle Wood, M.S.

Once again, the Baby Boomer generation has forged a new approach in the face of a challenge.  There is a phenomenon I am calling the Self-Health Movement!

I commend you for questioning the status quo and changing the way you eat and exercise. You have learned there are ways to eat that contribute to your long life. Your purchasing patterns have brought healthier choices to everyone.  You have brought about the “fitness craze” spawning gyms and workout programs in proliferation.  Unfortunately, an equally large “pain industry” has developed.

A body can look good on the outside and not feel good on the inside.  Too many people are getting injured and experiencing chronic pain as a result of their workout plan.  I would like to offer the following guidelines that can free your body from excessive joint force and pain: 

1.  When you walk and stand, your feet need to be facing straight forward (the direction you want to walk).

2.  Your weight needs to be in your heels (NOT on your toes).

3.  Your legs need to be straight (contrary to the misguided advice to keep “soft knees” that began in the 80’s).

4.  Your kneecaps need to be facing forward (knees are not designed to bend sideways).

5.  Your tailbone needs to be lifted to maintain the “S” curve of your spine which functions as a shock absorber.  A tucked pelvis contributes to symptoms of pelvic floor disorder. 

6.  For optimal alignment your ear should be over your shoulder (not forward), your shoulder should be in line with your hip, your hip should be over your knee and your knee over your ankle.

7.  Any strengthening exercise must be preceded by stretching.  “Tight” is not the same as “toned”.

8.  The best exercise plan involves full body movement and full weight-bearing on your feet that includes stretching and strengthening.  The perfect exercise for the human mechanism is WALKING.  When done with proper body mechanics it improves the functioning of the circulatory, pulmonary and lymphatic systems for optimal wellness without wearing out the joints and putting excessive force on tendons and ligaments.

The best body mechanics for walking include the following:

  • Leave your heel on the ground behind you as long as possible with every step.  The purpose is to stretch the hip flexors on the front of your legs and maximize your stride length increasing lymph movement while stretching the achilles tendon, calves and hamstrings.
  • As you transfer weight from back leg to front, keep your knees straight.  This causes your hips to move instead.
  • Allow your hips to move. They are the biggest joint in your body and the lymph nodes in your groin need that movement.
  • Land in your heel and push off with your toes.  This vibrates your entire skeleton and stimulates bone growth.  Landing in the toes builds bone there (i.e. bunions, hammer toes). 
  • Keep your ears over your shoulders.  Looking down brings the weight of your head out over your toes. This throws your balance off. Shoulders forward reduces circulation to your brain and interferes with the “S” curve of the spine that acts as a shock absorber.
  • Arms straight and in reciprocal motion with your feet. This generates momentum, improves balance and stimulates lymph movement. Straight arms should push back and then fall forward. (Swinging side-to-side causes lateral movement of the vertebrae and excess stress in the low back.)

It takes practice to learn new habits and break old ones.  You will sweat, breathe heavily and fatigue.  But you will not injure yourself!  Join the Self-Health Movement and WALK!

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