Google the word ‘serape’ and an array of brightly colored blankets will appear on your screen. This makes sense – a serape serves as a shawl or blanket worn as a cloak in Latin America. Now google ‘serape and exercise.’ Fashion and exercise – well, yes, especially at places like Lulu and Ralph. Aside from workout gear, there also exists a muscle scarf, of sorts. Serape who, you ask. Let us break it down for you.
Just beneath your skin lies a complex network of connective tissue called fascia. This thin sheath of fibrous tissue encloses muscle, acting like a straight jacket of sorts. With this said, these muscular compartments that we see on giant anatomy posters or read about in health news articles have, in a way, compartmentalized how we view our bodies. Fascia connects muscles just as much as it separates, if not more so. Muscular guide wires, fascia helping you to move well, stand straight and play hard.
This leads us to what is known as the ‘serape effect.’ The original serape effect was presented by kinesiologists Logan and McKinney in 1970, although the origin of oblique system may be traced to the early 1900s. The serape effect provides some insight into the force generation patterns used by the body to transfer forces across the core – that dreaded core that so many either love or despise. Logan and McKinney’s original serape looks like a giant scarf (hence the term serape) wrapped around the back of the neck, crosses the front of the body, and tucks into the pant line.
From the serape effect came Vleeming’s more in-depth APS model – the anterior posterior serape, involving the anterior and posterior oblique systems. The APS describes how muscles and tendons do not
connect directly to bone, rather they connect to one another transmitting force along pathways arranged in series fashion along spiraling lines. The interplay of these scarf-like patterns of muscular contractions provides the rotational power we see
in many sports and functional activities.
Who cares about all of this stuff? Certainly wellness practitioners think it’s important. And guess what…YOU probably should too.
The serape effect and APS are responsible for both rotational and vertical activities – from swinging a bat or golf club, to getting up out of a chair. Fascia links the muscles together in interconnected chains; myofascial lines’ functioning can be improved through integrated exercises and movements that link the muscles functionally, through dynamic, coordinated movement patterns.
Keeping your muscles and fascial system healthy might be one of the fastest — and most overlooked — ways to improve your health and fitness! Start by making smart exercises choices involving multidimensional full body movements. You were born to move!
For more information, check out the references listed below. You might also find, MFR, Kinesis Myofascial Integration and Fascial Stretch Therapy interesting, too!
Heffernan, Andrew. (November 2011). The Web of Life. Retrieved from https://experiencelife.com/article/the-web-of-life/
Logan G and McKinney W. The serape effect. In: Anatomical Kinesiology (3rd ed).
Lockhart A, ed. Dubuque, IA: Brown, 1970. pp. 287–302.
Brown, Lee, and Stuart Mcguill. Anterior and Posterior Serape. In: Strength and Conditioning Journal. October 2015.
Meyers, Thomas. (2014). Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists. (3rd ed.) Churchill Livingstone: Italy.
Vleeming A. Anatomical linkages and muscle slings of the lumbopelvic region. In: Movement, Stability and Lumbopelvic Pain: Integration of Research and Therapy (2nd ed). Vleeming A, Mooney V, and Stoeckart R, eds. London, United Kingdom: Elsevier, 2007. pp. 47–62.
Vleeming A, Pool-Goudzwaard AL, Stoeckart R, van Wingerden JP, and Snijders CJ. The posterior layer of the thoracolumbar fascia. Its function in load transfer from spine to legs. Spine 20: 753–758, 1995.
Take a second to think about your daily routine, occupation, and the tasks you often perform throughout the day. Do those tasks include sitting and standing, carrying items like grocery bags, walking, bending over to retrieve items on the ground, or reaching to put items in a kitchen cabinet? Chances are, you answered yes to quite a few of the actions mentioned. Each are considered activities of daily living (ADLs). Considering ADLs occur frequently, it is important that they are executed with proper form. Unfortunately, for some individuals, these tasks are difficult and may even result in injury.
How can we improve our body’s ability to move more efficiently and safely? The primary solution is the addition of functional training to an individual’s daily exercise routine. This type of training is vital to improving quality of life because it aligns with the types of movement patterns commonly executed during the day. For example, sitting on a shoulder press machine with the back supported and feet flat on the floor will mainly isolate the deltoid muscle group. However, a more functional exercise for the shoulders is an overhead, standing, dumbbell press. This requires effort from the entire body as it stands upright, engages the core, and challenges balance, all while simultaneously working the shoulders. The second example is a better replication of a daily task such as putting away groceries in a high cabinet.
Functional training allows an individual to perform multi-joint movements that engage more muscle groups; therefore improving their ability to work together more effectively. An important benefit of functional training is enhanced balance. According to the Center for Disease Control, fall injuries are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (CDC). Our sense of balance decreases with age; it is imperative to continuously perform exercises that strengthen our base of support and test our balance. Another benefit of functional training is that it strengthens the abdominals, especially the transverse abdominals and obliques. The transverse abdominals are the deepest abdominal layer, running horizontal and protecting the lumbar spine (low back), acting almost like a girdle. The obliques run diagonally along the side of the abdomen and aid in lateral flexion (side bends) and twisting of the trunk. The bending, twisting, pushing, and pulling movements we frequently perform need to incorporate the core abdominals. If the abdominal muscles are weak, the back muscles will try to compensate, which can result in serious injury to the erector spinae muscles of the low back.
A phenomenal example of functional training is TRX suspension training. The body can train movements in all three of the anatomical planes; sagittal, coronal, and transverse. The sagittal plane divides the body into left and right parts and consists of forward and backward movements, such as alternate lunges. The coronal plane divides the body into front and back parts and consists of movements, such as lateral raises and upright rows. The transverse plane divides the body into top and bottom halves and consists of twisting movements, such as oblique crunches or a medicine ball diagonal chop. Other types of equipment that allow for functional training are free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, and stability balls. Do not underestimate the power of using your own bodyweight either!
It is undeniable that functional training adds tremendous value to an individual’s quality of life. From improvements in muscle efficiency and balance to the refined ability of the body to move in all three of the anatomical planes, functional training is an essential piece of an exercise program. Take your fitness and overall well-being to the next level with the addition of this training. The enhanced mobility experienced during seemingly simple daily tasks will be indisputable.
Author: Alex Barrett
From the Roots Fitness President, Exercise Specialist, Certified Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer
Just imagine if every person who ever walked into a health club, since the history of health clubs, actually achieved their goals, and improved their wellness.
Isn’t this the very purpose of the health and wellness industry – to provide a vehicle by which people can reach their destinations – to teach people how to achieve their goals in a healthful way – to promote healthy lifestyles?
If this – or rather, if these – are our goals as an industry, why is it program attendance, adherence and drop out rates trump retention; fitness and wellness myths still exist; the word ‘obesity’ has such a common place in our language?
There exists no simple answer to why this common goal hasn’t been achieved, as is the case with most problems. One can point to countless facets both within and outside the industry that have contributed to individuals’ current health states. As a burgeoning wellness entrepreneur – with an un-jaded perception, a passion to learn, and a keen eye for human relations – I believe the difference between fitness and wellness boils down to two things:
Education. Fitness is hopping into the driver’s seat with no license and heading out onto the highway during rush hour for a joy ride. Wellness. Well, let’s be honest, wellness is doing the same thing, with a license. But not quite – let’s take the analogy one step further.
You have your license, and you’re a great driver. One day, your beautiful car decides to stop working, and it’s not because you didn’t fill the gas tank. Which one of the car-parts stopped functioning correctly?
If you haven’t figured out the analogy yet – the car you are driving is your body, and that gas you put in it is the food. And that car piece that isn’t working, that’s your sprain, strain, high cholesterol, low HDL, insulin resistance, frozen shoulder, arthritis…just to name a few. I don’t know about you, but I typically go to the mechanic to get my car fixed. And the mechanic, well he usually visits me at the gym shortly thereafter – our conversation about his health (while the car received it’s hours-long tune-up) provoked him to pay us a visit.
Everyone has their expertise, and no one is an expert about everything.
As we all know, everyone drives differently. This brings me to the second difference between fitness and wellness...
Individualization. Remember that magazine cover, the one where you couldn’t stop staring? You just have to look like THAT. You bought the magazine. You tried the workout inside of the magazine, and bought the supplements your neighbor told you to buy. You’ve been at it for months. The magazine cover hasn’t changed, and you haven’t changed too much either. News flash one – you will never look like that magazine cover. The person on the magazine cover doesn’t even look like the person on the magazine cover. News flash two – if you choose to embark on a healthy path of living, your path needs to be yours! – tailored to your needs, limitations, desires, and schedule. Moreover, the tangible actions you take must be educated!
Certainly the saying that one can only move forward is not true. You can move in a plethora of directions – saggital, coronal, transverse, and everywhere in between. However, I believe this montra to be true: the only time you should look back is to see how far you have come. It is time for science and coaching – biomechanical knowledge and encouragement - wellness, education, and program individualization – to conjoin. So that wellness can be offered to everyone who wants and needs it, not only those who can afford it.
It is time to take what the founding gym class heroes have created, and keep going.
So, the question: Is medicine an art or science?
The answer (as with most things in life): there’s a debate. Or, rather, there exists more than one right answer!
Both sides make valid arguments. Art tout-ers maintain that patients and physicians are different. It is this individuality that makes medicine an art form – patient care requires personalized care and non-cookie-cutter, creative judgment that is art.
According to the science-side promoters – medicine as art?! Not so much. Medicine relies on research and scientific evidence to shape guidelines for improving clinical outcomes. Art is not a science.
Why is this important?
Firstly, understanding your physicians practice and point of view is important. The way your primary care physician, surgeon or hospital answers this question may determine whether you live or die.
Secondly, who says medicine can’t be both an art and a science?!
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Behind those words exists a story…The specialized study of Medical Illustration surely serves as an example of art as a form of medicine. Check out an anatomy book. Someone drew that! But, there’s more.
A growing movement called Graphic Medicine aims to use the science of medicine as an art in a less technical way, if you will. The combination of pictures and words, typically in comic form, aims to address:
Reflecting or changing cultural perceptions of medicine
Relating the subjective patient/career/provider experience
Enabling discussion of difficult subjects
Helping other sufferers or careers
..just to name a few of its purposes.
The debate as to whether medicine is an art or science continues. For how long, who knows...
Personally, I have found that art provides an outlet – a sort of journaling that incorporates the mind, body, and spirit. My drawings, some of which are viewable above, are born from self-introspective, and created to provoke thought.
Art in a sense becomes a way to enhance one's sight, both in the mind and the environment. If kinesthesia refers to one's awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body, art arguably exists as an extension of this awareness.
So what do you think? Is medicine art? Maybe it’s only science. Maybe it’s both…
A holistic approach to health and wellness entails viewing the human experience as a synergistic existence of 3 key elements, mind, body & spirit. It is my firm belief that the MIND is the most powerful of all these elements, acting as a guiding star for the body and the spirit. Many brilliant writers have touched on the subject, and I aim to contribute my unique brilliance to the mix. Approach the following information with openness and allow it to permeate your cells and affect your physiology. You’ll thank me.
Let’s break it down…
Humans are a privileged species. We have the ability to not only experience the physical world around us, but to directly impact it. We are creators. The impact that we have may manifest itself in the physical sense, but begins in the mind.
Human beings have the ability to construct enormously tall buildings with intricate architectural designs that withstand the elements of nature for generations. These physical marvels began as an idea, a simple thought in a person’s head. This thought began much like a seed that was cultivated and nourished until it sprouted and became physical action.
The construction of a skyscraper is no different than any other physical task in life. It begins in your mind and then is manifested in your actions. It is this simple sequence that we often make much more difficult than we need to by allowing self-doubt to sabotage our efforts. What does this have to do with your health?
Your reality is a result of your psychology. This includes your health, your wealth, your relationships, your income, your education. ALL are a direct reflection of your psychology. You have much more control on your life than you think because YOU have the power to control your mind. When this power is truly realized than personal desires such as earning more money or finding true love is as easy as you allow it to be. Don’t believe me? Let me tie this together with a simple idea…
What you pay attention to will flourish.
Much like a seed, a thought needs nourishment and cultivation to grow and become action. When you spend your time and energy cultivating the seed of self-doubt it manifests itself as a reality that leaves you unfulfilled and depressed.
SHIFT YOUR ATTENTION!
When you pay your attention to positivity and contribution to others you will create a reality in which fulfillment is found in any situation. Take time to slow things down and find the good in any situation rather than allowing your mind to fill with turmoil. Positivity breeds positivity. Follow these 3 steps to use your minds power for good!...
1.) Acknowledge your minds ability to affect your reality in any way that you choose.
2.) Take control of this power and turn your thoughts into positive action.
3.) Trust yourself to find the good in all situations, allowing them to serve you in some way.
Apply these ideas, harness the power of your mind and watch your level happiness grow taller than any skyscraper known to man.
Oh by the way, you subconsciously paid more attention to the words in bold. Your takeaway from this reading was a good one. You’re welcome.
Author: Nick Primavera
What image comes to mind when when you hear the word "core" ?
“Core” has been the big buzzword for the past few years, and there's a reason for it. And, impertinently, the core consists of much more than the sexy summer 6-pack! The core consists of all the muscles in your abdominal section and lower back area. This includes all the abdominal muscles as well as the muscles associated with the spine and the hip flexors.
Having strong core muscles is very important for the body. These muscles are used in every move you make, whether walking, running, snowboarding or surfing. Strong core muscles help prevent lower back pain; allow you to make powerful athletic moves, and create good posture. They are also a major factor in balance. The stomach area is only ONE part of the core. Doing only ab work will leave the rest of your trunk weak and subject to injury. A true core workout also includes the sides of the trunk and the back.
For those of you out there that want six pack abs, try laying off of the crunches and start attending to neglected muscles that are also important to your core - your body will thank you for it!
Why you should exercise is not a question, but rather an exclamation! From improved daily quality of life to improved athletic performance, the benefits of exercise are countless. And according to exercise science’s professional organizations and leading specialists, you can experience these benefits by simply performing moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes, 4 or more times a week! Two hours a week is all its takes to start the journey to becoming a healthier you. So the next time you ask why you should exercise, turn that question into an exclamation!
An extra two hours of physical activity a week could…
· help build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
· promote weight loss, weight maintenance, and prevention of weight gain
· reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
· reduce chronic disease risks
· enhance performance of work, school, and recreational and sport activities
Are you driven by "what" or "why"?
Here's to the crazy ones. The ones who are honest. The ones who are creative. The ones who see what they want and grind to get it. To the invisible heroes who are not counted with the great but through their hearts and lives true greatness shows. And without a cloak or mask or flag unfurled, who are the lambs that truly save the world by choosing to courageously live consciously.