“Strength” without the gym!

By releasing the build-up of harmful responses to stress, we can correctly align spinal posture and ensure the efficient flow of energy through the body.

“Strength” without the gym!

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There’s more to successful running performance than your shoes, heart monitor or the camber of the road. Significant invisible forces in your body play a major role in your performance and enjoyment while running.

By releasing the build up of harmful responses to stress, we are able to correctly align our spinal posture and ensure the efficient flow of energy through our body. Combine this with enhancing blood flow to, and lymphatic drainage from our muscles, and we are able to improve our muscular “strength” and therefore athletic performance.

Traditionally strength has been equated to how much an athlete can lift or push, and can be measured with amazing technology such as the Cybex isokinetic machine. Consider the action involved in running, as one leg extends forward the opposite arm does the same. As the quadriceps contract the hamstring must relax so the knee can extend and the runner can move forward. Running “strength” is so much more than the weight an athlete can lift, or for that matter the height of the graph as measured by the Cybex machine.

running up the stairs

Running strength is dependent on the “integrity” and balance of the neuro-muscular system in the athlete’s body, which is controlled by the nervous system. The question we need to answer Is whether the nervous system is stuck in a fight or flight survival mode, or thriving and operating at it’s full capacity. If, in order to be performing at our peak we need our nervous system to be thriving, then surely we need to release our response to “stress” and align our spine correctly. Our bodies respond to physical, emotional, nutritional and even energetic stresses in an amazing manner that ensures our very survival. But the very responses that ensure our survival can be detrimental to our athletic performance.

Fortunately our nervous system responds to stresses in a predictable manner. If we eradicate these responses or bad habits then we are able to optimise the function of our neuro-muscular system, correctly align our spine and enhance the function and performance of our body. The foundation of a more efficient and a good athletic performance is a correctly functioning and balanced nervous system.

Electricity travels through the nervous system and ensures the correct function of all our muscles. On a more subtle level, this electricity is seen as the essence of our life force or energy. It needs to be balanced for optimal function and therefore performance. This is where the age old, traditional, oriental medicine fuses with a scientific and logical view of the nervous system.


meditation

The core of the traditional view is that if we have a balanced flow of energy, electricity, or “chi” through the body we have optimal health and function. Is this any different to, “if our neuro-muscular system is functioning at an optimal level we reach our peak performance”?

What is interesting though, is that the correct flow of electricity through the central nervous system corresponds to the optimal flow of “chi” up and down the spine and confirms the necessity for having the correct posture. This can be likened to the “battery” of all our “strength”. It has been shown in research dating back to the 1960’s that every muscle is related to one of the traditional meridians or channels of energy flow. This same research reveals that by manipulating this energy flow, using acupuncture, one can enhance or even detract from a muscle’s performance. If we have an optimal flow of electricity or “chi” we will have superb neuro-muscular balance and better athletic performance. This delicate balance can however be upset by the physical, emotional, nutritional and even energetic stresses of life.


Even when our nervous and energetic systems are operating at their peak, our muscles still need oxygenation and nutrition to function at there best. The by-products or waste materials produced by our muscle’s work must also be efficiently removed and processed by our body to maintain an efficient performance. This is achieved largely through our lymphatic system.

This is not a new concept. There was research to support this as far back as the 1930’s when Dr. Bennett discovered specific reflex points that enhance the blood flow to each muscle in the body. At the same time Dr. Chapman discovered similar reflexes that efficiently drain the lymph or metabolic waste from individual organs. In the 1960’s Dr. Goodheart combined this knowledge to show how these reflex points can be combined and used to enhance muscle function and “strength”, thereby improving athletic performance.

If we ensure correct posture and spinal alignment we ensure the optimum flow of nervous energy and electricity through our body. This in turn enhances athletic performance and strength. We need to support this increased ability with blood flow to the muscles and lymphatic and waste drainage from the muscles.

Combine these factors and you will increase your strength and performance without a visit to the gym!



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