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Bad Habits

16 Jul 2020

Bad Habits

I have been a sports therapist for over 20 years now. During this time, a lot of theory and technology has changed. One thing that hasn’t is that I get called to action too late. Someone will usually contact me when they have chronic, consistent pain, tried a few things to relive it that hasn’t worked, then someone mentions they know someone who used someone…me.

I have always said to my clients that I wish I’d met them 30 years earlier. That way we could have nipped their problems in the bud and not let them manifest into something that now needs constant treatment and correction. The key to an active and pain free old age is daily exercise and being mindful of your body’s habits. If you look after your heart and lungs by engaging in physical effort, stretch a few times a week to check your muscles are functioning correctly, and try to always use your core, these bad habits do not form. If your body has no bad habits it will function as it should, working happily, pain and problem free. But it’s hard work as bad habits form so easily, but take a lot of hard work and effort to put straight.

What are bad habits?
Let’s take the knee for example. The knee is a hinge joint, a joint that itself has limited movement. Basically, you can bend it or straighten it. If there are no imbalances in the body, throughout your lifespan you would just experience even wear-and-tear in the joint, which you could happily cope with. Uneven wear-and-tear is what causes problems. This can lead to arthritis and other conditions that cause pain. If the muscles are not working together in their correct anatomical position, too much stress gets put into a specific area of the joint, which leads to the joint wearing down unevenly. An example of a bad habit causing this would be the way you walk. Do you roll your hips side to side when you walk? If you do, over a period of time, you will place too much unnecessary pressure into your hips and the outside of the knees. This will cause muscular imbalance and uneven wear in the joints. You could have corrected this by simply being mindful of the way you use your body and walking heel to toe. Walking heel to toe distributes your body weight evenly throughout the thighs and feet, away from one specific area, which will wear out the cartilage protecting the joint. You can repair muscle but cartilage you can’t grow it back.

Imbalances, bad habits and the cause of knee pain can come from anywhere, the way you walk, sit, stand, tight muscles in your legs, back or buttocks. Even having poor posture and stooping will have an effect on your knees. Bad habits form so easily. You could have cramp in your calf one night and tear the muscle slightly, go on a walk the next day with a slight limp. This could lead to other muscles tightening, which could have a knock-on-effect elsewhere in the body and now, all of a sudden, you are walking slightly differently. This becomes a habit; the wrong muscles get stronger and the right ones get weaker. All of which could have been recognised and prevented through stretching and other exercise.

This is what MolyFit is all about; being mindful of the way you use your body. Learning how the body should operate and through exercise, correcting all the niggles and bad habits we can all build up so easily without realising they are even there.

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John Molyneux (Moly)


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