TAC Fitness Contributor: Emily Steers
I was 15 miles in, on pace to run a 3:45 marathon, when my IT band screamed stop! My P.T. told me I had muscle imbalances, yet I didn’t quite understand what I needed to do to sustain a 3:45 pace. A Functional Movement Systems (FMS) screen would have revealed that I needed to focus on my pelvic/core stability, first, if I ever wanted to qualify for Boston. The beauty of FMS is that it doesn’t let you cheat. It forces the body to move honestly through basic movement patterns and reveals where you have strayed from your body's natural alignment. It provides a map for your body to move well and with ease, rather than simply following the path of least resistance. FMS is essentially your bearing, re-orienting you towards your summit.
I love structure. It gives me the ability to create freedom within a defined container; our muscles feel the same way. The FMS looks at how our body performs at our end ranges of motion. It reveals our mobility, stability, motor control and coordination. We can then receive the necessary feedback to learn corrective strategies that allow us to enjoy the athletic pursuits we love.
Running has become less a part of my life. I turned more of my attention to yoga and started to get in touch with the core stability that I did not know I lacked. I gained clarity about the importance of building a strong and supple foundation. I learned that removing tension and resistance from our body, mind and breath is the first stepping stone we encounter. By freeing our bodies from tension, we reveal our natural alignment. We do this through breath work, kneading our muscles on the foam roller or other implements of self-induced myofascial release as well as various forms of stretching. Once we have removed these obstacles from our path, we are able to systematically work our way to our finish line; whatever that may be.
My happy place is now on my bike. I enjoy settling in to long rides and allowing my body and breath to ebb and flow with the terrain. I am methodically traveling my path towards a more effortless way of being. At times, when I get off course, as we all do. I am reminded of my Outward Bound Instructor’s advice “ When you get lost, go back to the last place you were found." This is the role of the FMS screen in our journey toward doing the activities we love from a place of confidence and joy.