As a long-time runner I was intrigued when I learned more about the "natural running" movement (or minimalist or soft or Chi or Pose or many other names for it). I even took a workshop with video analysis and saw myself running on my heels, saw my arms swing and cross in front of me. No wonder I had been dealing with a sore hip for years, I thought. I made what I thought was all the necessary adjustments, namely trying to land on my midfoot.
No matter. Before the year was out my body had self-combusted.
So here I am in my Exercise Detox. One of my assignments is to learn how to walk. Because you need to learn to walk before you can run. And while my body is far and away better off than it was a year ago, I still have tightness and pain in my right hip. Even while walking. It's a bummer. The first 95 percent of my recovery went relatively fast. The last 5 percent is going slowly. But I am committed. I won't rush it. I will learn to walk.
My homework has been to put myself through Katy Bowman's Restorative Exercise Alignment Snacks. (If you go to that link, click on the video and try it out for yourself for free.) For thirty minutes of tiny movements or stretches, they truly pack a punch or reveal ways in which you are moving that you shouldn't or ways in which you should move that you aren't. And you get advice like this: To be effective exercise doesn't need to be hard or vigorous. It just needs to be different."
I'm beginning to understand that now.
Last week I got around to the Alignment Snack called "Balance Using Lateral Hips." And there it was, instruction for How To Walk.
The next time I walked I engaged my lateral leg muscles and the pressure was off my sore hip. This is not to say my hip is miraculously healed. But now I feel like I'm moving without causing further harm, allowing space to heal.
What's more, Katy says that a weakness in those lateral leg muscles contributes to hip osteoarthritis, sciatica, pelvic floor disorders, and why our gait is so poor as we age, causing debilitating falls.
No Thank You!
For those of you detoxing with me--even those who aren't--I thought that particular snack was loaded with important information -- information missing in much of the advice about natural running form; advice that can prevent future injuries or help those of us struggling to heal injuries.
These downloadable exercise snacks are only $5, but for Mama Sweat readers you get to download "Balance Using Lateral Hips," for just $2 when you enter the code: snack.
Go get snacking. Start using your lateral hips. Enjoy the epiphany!
Disclaimer: I bought four of the Alignment Snacks and Katy sent me the rest for free. I didn't ask -- she "gifted" them to me (because she really wants to see me feel good again, which I so appreciate). They are such a small investment for loads of info. So far my fav snack is "Within Reach." When you're done you'll feel like you just walked out of a massage. Heaven. You can't buy a $5 massage.