As a biomechanist and nutritionist, I’ve been professionally involved in one to one exercise/fitness, rehabilitation, injury, and nutrition for the past 47 years.
A Matter of Constant Evolution
Over the years, a lot of
things have changed in fitness/exercise and injury matters, especially when it
comes to recommendations as to what is good or not so good, and what is
downright bad news.
In nutrition, for example,
I’ve simply lost count of the number of times researchers have withheld making
statements only to follow with pronouncements that what was considered bad in
the past is now ok, or what was definitely really good is suddenly a big no-no!
We are constantly
presented with changing nutritional information, so we end up going round and
round in our efforts to look after ourselves, hoping, of course, that this last
piece of education is going to be finally reliable.
However, it’s inevitable
that we always are, and always will be, limited by the depth and level of our
present knowledge; before we, once more, move on yet again.
What Is Biomechanics and Why Should You Care?
Human movement, alias
Biomechanics, is the one science that, comparatively, has not changed a great
deal over the last 20 years.
If you haven’t heard the
term before, Biomechanics is the science of how you move, turn, walk, bend,
stretch, or so much as wiggle a finger in any physical activity of any
description, at any level of effort.
In addition to Biomechanics,
I specialize in ladies’ exercise, injury, and nutrition, which dominantly involves
working with the uniquely personal Biomechanics of mature ladies in their 60s,
70s, 80s, and even 90s.
I know from long
experience that a personally correct and safely approached exercise structure,
can, to a remarkable degree, uphold the adage “ageing is chronological not
physiological” and dramatically hold back the years.
In matters of lung power,
for example, sensibly vigorous exercise can prevent obesity, heart disease,
hypertension, and osteoporosis.
Worthy of note is that
older ladies, who spend less than four hours a day on their feet, virtually
double their risk of hip fractures, compared to those who get out and about
U.S. studies with ladies in their 70s revealed that regular
exercising gave them back 23% of their lung capacity, which equated to what
their capacity was in their 50s!
Other studies in Sweden revealed that a group of
75-year-old women increased their strength by 19–22% after only a 12-week
weight training program.
Flexibility and Biomechanics
Flexibility is crucially
important when it comes to healthy lifestyle. In biomechanical reality, both
men and women begin to lose ground in their flexibility at around 23 years of
age, but try telling that to a 23-year-old in a gym, and watch the ‘ol ‘Doubting
Thomas’ expression set in!
If you perform Yoga or
Pilates, that’s a good course of action. Adding an extra strength-promoting
measure into your lifestyle also can boost your flexibility, as no one exercise
form or discipline delivers the full package.
For the very best outcome,
if you are able to do so, get your biomechanics analysed and engage in
one-to-one Pilates or Yoga tuition, so that the instructor’s attention is
focused exclusively on you.
Every person moves
uniquely, with differing physical idiosyncrasies which make you the woman you
are. You’re unique, just like the next person and those personal movement variations really do
Women’s Movements Are Different Than Men’s
It’s important to note
that females are very different from their male counterparts in many
exercise/activity aspects of physiology.
For instance, men’s pelvic
girdles tilt forward very little, whereas female pelvic girdles can tilt forward
anywhere from 7-13 degrees, or even more in some ladies. This is referred to as
“anterior pelvic tilt.”
Both genders have weaker
rear thighs than front thighs. Although this related weakness reduces by the
time the late teens arrive, in women, the degree of weakness that remains for
life is proportionately greater.
As a lady, this factor is
well worth keeping in mind during exercise, as it may make the difference
between injury and physical wellbeing.
These and many other
factors, along with certain genetic guidelines of movement, must be considered
when mature women practice exercise routines.
Correct Biomechanics Can Ease Exercise Pain
A very informative example
would be Emily, 69, who exercises diligently and regularly with her personal
trainer. She came to me seeking help with a pain in her knees. The problem was
simple and was due to her natural inward movement of the knees when she
exercised going up and down in her squats.
The remedy was not pills
or ointments. Emily simply had to ensure that her bottom was pushed out behind
her more as she went up and down – thus keeping her shins vertical
and thereby reducing knee pressure – while simultaneously
ensuring that her knees were always in line with her big toes.
Another illustration of
the importance of biomechanics is Vanessa, who is 71. She goes to Pilates
classes and enjoys them, but lower back pain would often diminish the experience.
The problem with Vanessa
was the exceptional forward tilt of her pelvis which escalated the pressure to
her lower back. After applying focused attention to a specific set of her lower
back ligatures, the problem was solved.
These are just two
examples that show how keeping a sharp eye on your inherited biomechanical
differences as women can make a very positive change to your exercise choices,
while significantly enhancing the safety of what you do.
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