K is for Kinesiology

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This is part of the series: an alphabet of help for living well, despite everything.

A knowledge of Kinesiology helps us live healthier lives.

Everything we do–including lounging on the sofa while watching a movie, including sleeping–because we are embodied beings, everything we do is physical. Even a primarily intellectual activity like reading involves our hands, our neck, our eyes.
Everyone who wants to live well can benefit from body-awareness.
You might invest in short-term solutions (drugs/medications/supplements, surgery, or denial/avoidance) to alleviate discomfort. Those don’t require as much time or hard work as body awareness, but too often they don’t address the problem–the source of physical discomfort or pain. Instead, they mask it. They’re expensive, and the side effects of those short-term, quick solutions are often negative; sometimes horrendous. (There are times, of course, when drugs or surgery are necessary–but it’s always good to explore other less drastic options before you turn to them!)
In treating pain, surgery and medications are frequently akin to “get-rich-quick” methods of accumulating wealth. The Kinesiology method of wellness, however, is like building financial security through long-term savings.

The benefits of The Kinesiology of method of wellness include these:

  • It address and minimizes pain caused by misuse and misalignment of the body.
  • There is minimal risk of harm (compared to drugs, surgery, or denial of the problem).
  • The benefits of body awareness increase at a compounded rate; a little at first, and then rapidly doubling and quadrupling.
  • Proper body mechanics help us to remain functional and independent well into our senior years.
  • The  commitment to a lifetime learning and practicing of proper body mechanics teaches patience, and the development of patience is wise.

It doesn’t need to be expensive to learn to use your body properly. Good YouTube videos and library books on all the various subjects comprising the field of kinesiology are available.
The Kinesiology method of wellness can help anyone who wants to live well, for a lifetime, in his or her one-and-only body.
Have you used kinesiology to benefit your long-term health? 

47 thoughts on “K is for Kinesiology”

  1. I realise that I do need to take myself in hand. I’m not sure what the answer is but kinesiology sounds like a good start. Interesting post, Tracy. Thank you 🙂

      1. I totally agree, Tracy. I learned kinesiology several years ago and awareness sums it up very well. Great readings on your blog!
        Wishing you a happy weekend, Dina

  2. Great post. Thanks for pointing me towards that posture info-graphics which I found very informative.
    The science of Kinesiology does seem intriguing and I definitely intend watching some videos as you have suggested.
    God bless

    1. Thanks, Shakti. Have fun learning–Kinesiology is a combination of multiple scientific and not-so-scientific disciplines. I think it’s great that there are so many good videos out there. It makes learning easy.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Excellent advice Tracy. It seems so often that the “quick fix” doesn’t truly address the underlying problems when it comes to medicine. I love the info graphic that you shared also. There are so many little things that we can be thinking of when we’re walking, sitting, standing, and even sleeping!!

    1. I think dance training with a qualified (good) instructor is a great foundation. And even an unqualified (bad) instructor made me aware of my body. Then it was just a matter of applying valid knowledge of ergonomics and anatomy. In any case, I think the whole concept is much easier for dancers to grasp.

  4. Tracy, we are living longer and at least here in Canada, they have been showing ‘your last 10 years’ commercials. In other words, how do we want to live our last 10 years? Do we want to be hospitalized or do we want to remain strong and active?
    Great post. Thanks!
    Diana xo

    1. That’s powerful, Diana. It’s definitely a Canadian thing — here’s the link for those who want to see it. It’s worth watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo6QNU8kHxI
      There’s a lot of truth in that. I think, however, that there is danger in assuming that everyone who gets sick/weak has earned that pain. Sometimes people who do everything right still end up “in sickness.” The truth of this story is, that those who do everything “wrong” will, if they live a normal lifespan, almost certainly end up spending their last 10 years in misery.

  5. I think being able to “listen” to our own bodies is key. Know when we are tired; know when we need to eat and what it is that we need to eat (not junk!); know when we’ve had enough. Know that as we age our bodies will tell us a different story and we must be prepared to act accordingly. We can’t fight the aging process – knowing when to give in and go with it and to accept that running up that hill just ain’t gonna happen will surely help to maintain one’s equilibrium.

    1. As always, Jenny, you bring reasonableness to the conversation.
      Those who have fibromyalgia are told, over and over, to “listen your body.” But that’s the end of the sentence. No one ever explains what that means. I like your elaboration. Can I borrow it? I like to post it on twitter, where I talk about fibromyaliga (more than I do here).

      1. I didn’t know you were on Twitter, Tracy. (Just followed you.) I am sure I ignore my body – especially regarding posture. I used to ignore my body where sleep was concerned. More than ignore, just ride roughshod over its need for sleep, on my not wanting to accept when enough was enough. That’s a very good point, Jenny.

        1. We’re alike, Denise, in that our natural inclination is to live intellectually and by feeling (rather than by sensory perception), all in our heads.That’s not necessarily bad, and it does have some advantages, but it can lead to excessive strain on the body, and eventually, some real physical pain issues.
          If you’re someone who is capable of learning from other people’s experiences, you might want to seriously consider trying to tune into your sensory perception of the world and decide that self-nurture and self-kindness are not “indulgent,” those are about self-respect (which does not come naturally for people like you and me).

          1. Even after we let go of our neuroses (which I hope I have a little) the physical scars remain. Another thing apart from posture is that I find it difficult to breathe properly! I often find myself holding my breath. And in that case thinking and living in my head is not enough as it is subconscious and something else is needed.

          2. So true. It’s like a mild form of post traumatic stress disorder which resides in the body’s habits.
            I’m noticing that I’m definitely holding my breath less frequently than I used to (in fact, hardly ever). I’m beginning to realize that natural breathing is inextricably linked to posture. I can’t be 100% certain, but I think that the two methods I’ve made a habit of incorporating into my life (Pilates and Alexander), have helped.
            The whole idea in Pilates of shoulders relaxed, wings open and down, places the diaphragm in a relaxed position. In order to hold our breath, we tend to curl inward and hunch our shoulders (also physical habits of anxiety).
            Unlearning those habits took time. 10 minutes a day of focussed practice, for a couple of years. and I find that now I’m “catching” myself whenever I revert to old habits, and can quickly undo them.
            If you’re as much like me as I think you, you’re bookish enough to learn from books, and you might be so self-conscious and overly self-aware that the scrutiny of an instructor’s presence does more harm than good. I learned enough from these 2 books to go the course on my own. (Benefits of book-learning: it’s cheaper, and time-flexible).

          3. I think you might have posted about breathing and it made a lot of sense to me. The trouble is that when I don’t think about it, which is most of the time, my body reverts.
            I have wondered about Alexander. I ought to go and find a teacher – if it’s like swimming, I remember trying to learn from books how to do it, but it was only when a teacher explained to me what I should see when I was doing it right (ie the ceiling when I was turning my head) that it “clicked”.

          4. You might need a teacher, but the book is amazingly well-written and clear. She makes it visual, and there are a lot of diagrams/pictures. I was able to get a copy from the library so I didn’t even have to buy it! 🙂

  6. Tracy, as you well know, folks with our condition have to be careful not to overdo exercise and physical activity. Of course this is not an excuse not to keep moving, that would be worse in the long run.
    I recently went back for some more physio on my neck and back and have now resolved to consistently do the exercises she gave me to strengthen my core. That way my back won’t be strained so often. Along with a few pilates and yoga moves, I’m hoping it will do the trick.

    1. Jennifer–you’re right. When I started doing yoga and pilates moves, when the “instructor” or book said, “do 20 reps” or “hold for 30 seconds” I did 5 reps, or held for 5 seconds. And even now, I appear to be as healthy as a horse and I can do some of the more expert moves, but there is no way I would take a pilates or yoga class for “normal” people. I just can’t do that many reps or exercise for that long.
      The good news is, it’s not necessary to do THAT much. I started in physic-therapy with core-strengthening exercises back in January, 2009–I had gotten terribly weak in the core. The progress seemed infinitesimally slow at first. Don’t get discouraged and do stick with it. The key is to consistently DO the exercises, and then build to deeper/more difficult exercises, and keep on doing them. You’ll be amazed at how much better your back will eventually feel. The improvement happens so gradually that you hardly notice it, until one day you realize, oh, wow, my back has felt practically normal all week!

    1. Good point, and I agree Karen. I think that’s a big, costly problem. I think the fault lies equally with the medical system, in which doctors are trained to dispense pills and surgeries, and with the medical consumers, who often demand those, who feel they haven’t gotten their money’s worth from a doctor, unless the doctor say’s “take this pill, or have this surgery and that will fix your problem.” I’m talking about the large number of people who go into a doctor’s office expecting the doctor to fix their health, without any effort or responsibility on their part. It’s a vicious circle, because one of the reasons that people expect that, is because the medical profession, until very recently, has behaved as if they can “fix” us.
      I find, and work with doctors who take a more holistic approach, who understand that they’re more like coaches/advisors in my life, and they’re not the directors/decision-makers. Those kind of doctors exists, but they’re not yet the majority of practitioners.

  7. Thanks for the link to the graphic on posture. When I ache, I question what’s different. How am I sitting? standing? sleeping? That does help me to be aware of what’s going on with the body and I often have been able to make the appropriate changes to eliminate the pain. Great informative post, Tracy.

    1. I’ve noticed that when I’m physically tired, when I’m pushing myself to finish something when what I really need to do is take a break, my posture suffers.
      Those are good questions!

  8. After living with a chronic disease that has interfered with my daily activities for twenty-nine years, I have a tendency to over do thing when I’m feeling good. I’m sure you can relate, Tracy. I’m working on resting my body more. I have a tendency to try and push through the pain and lack of energy rather than listen and rest. Great post!

    1. Oh, I do relate, Jill. It’s easy to say, “listen to your body,” but when your body feels blasted and low for days on end, and then you feel a little bit better, the natural response is “Whoo-hee! I feel GREAT!” When in actuality, the body actually is feeling slightly less than dead.
      Those of us with chronic illness have to learn a new way of listening and resting.” We can’t rely on what’s “normal.” And for those of us who like to feel normal, that’s a challenging assignment.
      I admire you, Jill. You’re a soldier!

  9. You’ve said it so well, Tracy. Or, as I like to say, it takes a village to keep me going, by which I mean my physiotherapist and massage therapist. But in concert with them, I also need to keep myself going, by which I mean engaging in regular, meaningful exercise. Listening to one’s body, and not overdoing it is also important (I’m particularly poor at this – sigh). Cheers!

      1. “Stoic-faced doer” … that’s me to a tee! Oldest child syndrome, at least in part in my case. Thank goodness I have an appreciation, an actual craving, for the creative side. It’s saved me from myself over and over 😊
        I can’t speak for all provinces, but here in Ontario the public health insurance plan does not cover massage therapy. I have coverage through the Culinary Enthusiast’s employer plan, but that will be exhausted soon for this year. Regardless, I’m grateful for every penny, because we who overdo need to be especially vigilant about mitigating the effects of our excess.
        Now, if I could just get better at the prevention part … sigh. 😊

  10. This is very helpful, Tracy. The link to the graphic on posture is excellent.
    I’m very carefully forwarding this to my cousin, who pulled a muscle in his back two weeks ago. He’s now also struggling with sciatica from the hip down the back of his right leg, and though both the ER doctor and his chiropractor have told him it’s sciatica and shown him stretches and techniques to help the healing, his wife and running buddy are both insisting he must see an orthopedic surgeon. Their solution is to share pain drugs first and pursue surgery, and the push-pull is making it worse. You offer so many good ideas in your posts; I hope he’ll sneak away if he has to and read them privately and get perspective.

    1. OH, I do hope he considers patiently and faithfully doing long-term physical therapy before he pursues surgery. People tend to minimize the serious risks of surgeries (no one ever talks about the everlasting, miserable neuropathic pain that can develop years after the surgery and is often not linked, in the sufferers’ minds, to the surgery).
      Sometimes orthopedic surgery really IS necessary, but I think so much of it isn’t. My own theory is that the painful surgery lowers a person’s baseline and expectations. Then, when the physical therapy after surgery helps the person improve, s/he is elated.
      I know one orthopedic doc who actually talks people out of surgery. He’s terrific.

    1. Or, at least worth remembering, when the time comes that it’s necessary to look into it.
      Although, prevention is good medicine. I think it’s a lot easier on the preventative side, to incorporate healthy habits. It’s pretty difficult to do, after you’re in dire straits.

  11. This was very informative. especially like the stress on ‘wellness.’ I am not someone who suffers from chronic pain, but do notice my posture is not as good, need to remind myself to put my shoulders back, etc. I think chiropractic adjustments, along with the variations of kinesiology, are very valuable choices, rather than relying on medication or pursuing surgery. Thanks and hope to be more aware of my choices available, in the future. Smiles, Robin

    1. I don’t think it’s quite as crucial for people who don’t have illness or pain, but still probably a good idea to consider, for the long term. It’s really difficult, however, to think in terms of prevention, when we haven’t experienced the pain of what we’re trying to prevent.
      Smiles back atcha!

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