By Lisa Peresan
No pain, no gain right? WRONG!! The myth that you have to suffer to be able to achieve changes in your body is one that we have brought with us from the last century, but it certainly seems hard to shake. Whilst there is a point that as dancers we need to push our bodies to their limits to achieve the strength and endurance, we can also benefit from pulling back and focussing on fine-tuning.
Our bodies are amazing and complex. Our muscles work in beautiful harmony and synchronicity. Most importantly there is a fine balance that needs to be maintained to achieve efficiency in movement. There are postural/global muscles that act like the load bearing walls in a building and other muscles whose function is to maintain the structure. The structural muscles are very important but because they are not constantly under load, they tend to get weak. It is interesting to know that these are also the muscles that tend to switch off with injury or trauma. In an ideal world we would all be perfectly symmetrical and never injured. The reality is the opposite. It’s not surprising considering what we do with ourselves on a day-to-day basis. Examples include, sitting cross legged, always sleeping on the same side, stepping out on the favourite foot repeatedly (imagine how many times that happens in a life time!) and having a favourite/best gesturing leg. The result is that one side gets stronger, one side gets more flexible, and the fine balance where muscles pull on bones gets thrown out. If we treated our bodies like we do our cars, we would get a regular wheel alignment, but instead we just soldier on and act surprised when things start to hurt! The sad thing is that our cars have parts that can be replaced!
The good news is that it doesn’t take much to realign and make sure that our bodies stay balanced. Pilates is a wonderful tool that can help to address these imbalances because the method enables you to quickly assess and address imbalances. Focus can be given to the smaller muscles groups that do things like, keep your arm in it’s socket (rotator cuff), keep your knee cap in alignment (VMO – vastus medialis), core stabilizers of the pelvis (transverse abdominus, and pelvic floor) and hip (glute med and max). Often when you work these muscles, you don’t get the big burn of muscle fatigue and soreness, but the benefits are great nevertheless. Quite simply they help keep your body together and enable the global muscles to work more effectively.
For more information contact Lisa Peresan on 0419 690 609