Know Your Body Better - Anatomy Catch-Up
Oct 19, 2019
Before commencing my Pilates training I studied Anatomy and Physiology intensively for 1 year which was a prerequisite for my course. It was fascinating learning about the bones of the skeleton, the muscles and their origins and insertions and the systems of the body. It was something I'd always been curious about and this course provided plenty of detail.
It also made me realise just how limited my knowledge was previously and similarly, how little the majority of my Pilates clients know about their bodies when they start out.What Are The Benefits Of Knowing Your Body Better?
As the Pilates method of Exercise is a mind-body connection, the more you can visualize the various structures of your body the easier it is to connect with them which improves body awareness. This makes taking control of your body and creating positive change much easier. The greater your body awareness becomes too, the more likely you are to be able to detect any unusual changes in your body which allows you to seek appropriate medical advice much earlier. So taking some time to acquaint yourself with some anatomy basics will really benefit you on many levels.Let's Start With the Bones
Initially, many of my clients aren't sure of the difference between an extremely tight muscle and a bone.
Visualising the movement of our bones can be an effective way of assisting us to connect with our bodies during our Pilates practice. Bones are living tissue and have many important functions. My previous blog post "Building Healthy Bones"
details the importance of maintaining bone health. The human skeleton is made up of around 206 bones and consists of the axial skeleton, the bones of the head and trunk and the appendicular skeleton the bones of the upper and lower limbs and the pelvic and pectoral girdle. Our spinal column is made up of 33 vertebrae a sacrum and a coccyx. The longest, strongest bone in the body is the thigh bone or femur which goes from the hip to the knee. An area where 2 or more bones are joined together is called a joint and ligaments join bone to bone.
Skeletal Muscles Move The Bones
As the name implies skeletal muscle moves the bones of the skeleton by contracting and pulling on the tendons which attach muscle to bone. Skeletal muscle is under our voluntary control which means we can contract and release these muscles at will meaning we can use our minds to change any movement patterns that are no longer serving us. An example of this is tight or locked up Gluteal muscles which can potentially cause back/knee pain. We can consciously work on re-training the Gluteals to contract and release so the muscle functions more efficiently and supports our pelvis. As one of my clients who was learning to manage her back pain said "Who would have thought muscles would turn out to be so important?"
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a type of connective tissue that is found throughout the body in fascial lines of varying densities and is like a type of supportive packing around muscles and organs. Once thought to be unimportant, fairly recent research has revealed the importance of fascia which literally holds us together, has a role in proprioception and requires movement to maintain it's health.
If you have had Plantar Fasciitis you will be aware of the pain that cracked, torn or inflamed fascia can cause. Pilates exercises that are gentle on the joints, incorporating slow, controlled movements are ideal for maintaining good fascial health.
Why Not Take It Further?
Now that you have had an introduction to some basic anatomy, I hope this will inspire you to go a little further and find out even more about the human body. There is a wealth of information out there now, so every small piece of information you pick up will contribute to improving your self-awareness. Enjoy the journey!