We do it without thinking. We lean on one hip waiting for the train, talking on the phone, just hanging out. If you're the mother of an infant, you do it by balancing your child on one hip, taking the weight on the other. We do it and we don't think of the intense strain that builds up in the entire body over time. Let me explain:
Interrupting Kinetic Energy
We are made to distribute the weight of our bodies equally. Leaning on one hip or leg for any length of time puts incredible pressure on almost all parts of our bodies and is responsible for the interruption and destruction of the kinetic energy that we need for balance and ease.
Weakening Your Body
Let's imagine your standing with most of your weight on your right leg. This forces the hip to lean out, causing your adductor to work overtime and your standing foot to take undue weight that compromises the muscles and ligaments around the arch, ultimately creating discomfort there. As you put pressure on your right hip, you are also well on your way to weakening your gluteus muscles.
Straining the Ligaments, Neck, and Spine
Leaning on your hip puts a lot of strain on the ligaments there, eventually compromising the control of the pelvis, so fundamental to balance. As your right hip drops, your pelvis will tip towards the right as well, and following this comes your spine, which will also twist to the right. Your right shoulder will naturally drop as your weight falls, causing the area to rotate, leading to shoulder and neck pain. Your neck will also compensate in order to keep your eye level horizontal, and your lumbar vertebrae will have to work overtime just to keep your trunk upright.
Watch Those Knees!
As if this isn't enough, by putting your weight on your hip you're also putting more weight on that knee, which pulls on the kneecap, eventually leading to knee pain. And, as if all of this isn't enough, you're closing the spaces between each vertebra, whereby the bones start to press on the nerves there.
A Body Out of Whack
Scary! And because we don't feel many of these negative results right away, we easily forget that a habit of favoring one side of the body also translates to how we walk and run. And of course, by throwing our bodies out of alignment like this, we weaken the abdominal muscles, causing them to strain as they try to accommodate a body out of whack.
Taking Out the Strain
Taking the strain out of the body is the way to lead a happier and easier physical life. Take your relief through stretching, enjoying the passive expansion that happens when you do “child's pose,” and occasionally squatting to the ground to relieve the weight on your hips and to open up the lower back.
Awareness of Physical Placement
Watch the placement of your body while you are working out. Pay attention to keeping your hips parallel when you are doing exercises like side leg lifts or the side plank. By folding in your ribcage and lifting your lower abs you can easily adjust the hips to a comfortable and healthy position.
Consciousness is Everything
As with everything, its all about being conscious. Watch your posture and you will notice when you are off your center. By correcting yourself each time, you will learn to stand on your own two feet, which is quite a powerful metaphor for everything, isn't it!
For information on how to strengthen alignment and create greater physical balance through Body Activation classes please click here!