Last month, Beds Chamber member Darren Kerr, Director of PostureFit, hosted our first-ever health and wellbeing webinar.
Based in Bedford, Darren is a qualified podiatrist and movement coach. He works with full-body biomechanics, walking patterns and gait patterns to address the posture imbalances which can lead to pain and discomfort in muscles and joints, or hold athletes back from reaching optimum performance.
In his webinar, Darren gave an engaging overview of how everything in our bodies is connected and what that can mean for our posture. He also got us up checking our own body movements and shared some of the exercises you can do to help support your alignment.
Here are some of the highlights from the webinar.
“The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone…”
Darren describes ‘The Skeleton Dance’ as his theme tune for explaining how everything in our body is connected and that a problem in one area of the body can often manifest in problems elsewhere.
As Darren explains,
“We’re all familiar with that set up of the skeleton - one bone being connected to the next. But where we struggle is how to make reference from the foot to other body parts like the shoulder. They’re a long way apart. How does the movement in the foot affect the shoulder? How does it affect the skull? But it does. Your movement further down the system alters the way things work above.”
Maybe we’re all slightly wonky?
After initially training as a podiatrist, Darren spent ten years working as a Health and Safety Manager, and this is where he began to take an increased interest in the human body and movement.
Darren quickly realised that manual handling training didn’t always correlate with the injuries he was seeing. People were being trained to lift things correctly, but still getting injured. It led him to believe that maybe we all have slightly wonky bodies, we just don’t know it until we are put in a scenario where we end up getting a proper injury.
“I genuinely believe that we’ve all got slightly wonky bodies. We’re all a little bit broken, but we just don’t know it.”
He explains that this is due to a build-up of all the different experiences we’ve had in our lives. Broken bones, sprains, car accidents, operations, high contact sports, pregnancy and childbirth can all cause a significant change in the body and the way we hold our posture.
Anatomy in Motion
Darren uses the Anatomy in Motion (AiM) method to identify underlying root causes of otherwise difficult to treat conditions. The AiM method is a way of looking at the relationship between pain and how your body moves.
AiM founder Gary Ward created the Flow Motion Model which is a detailed map of how the body moves and the optimum walking pattern. When a person doesn’t follow this optimum movement pattern it can lead to overloading of muscle and joint structures, which in turn leads to pain and injury. The Flow Motion Model helps Darren to understand the limitations of a person's biomechanics, walk and gait, and using simple exercises, enable optimum movement patterns to be restored.
As Darren shares in the webinar, Gary Ward once featured on an episode of the BBC show Doctor In The House, where he meets with a man named Ray who had been experiencing back pain for over twenty years. In just two hours of assessment and movement techniques, Gary is able to re-align Ray’s body until he is completely pain-free. You can see the clip from the show here.
Wake Your Body Up!
In the webinar, Darren encourages us to get up on our feet as he walks us through a series of movements to help us learn about our own posture and alignment. He also shares some examples of simple exercises he uses with his clients.
If you’re interested in learning about your own posture, we have a recording of the webinar available. So when you have a spare moment, get up on your feet and let Darren take you through the movements. It's a great opportunity to learn about your body and discover where any pain or discomfort might be coming from. Plus, it's an excuse to have a much needed stretch while working from home. We know you’ll find what Darren has to say quite fascinating!
Quick tips for maintaining a healthy posture
When we caught up with Darren after the webinar, he shared with us his top pointers for maintaining a healthy posture:
- Be self aware - Learn to be more aware of how your body moves - or doesn't move. If you know where your physical restrictions and imbalances are then you can do something about them.
- Move more - Learn to "fidget" - we spend far too much time sitting still, and industry guidance advises us to move for 5 minutes or so every hour.
- Create habits - Create hourly habits to keep "fidgeting", daily habits to move more like walking or cycling rather than driving, and weekly habits of exercise whether it's long walks, runs or exercise classes. NHS guidance suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity per week.
If you’d like to find out more or to get in touch with Darren, please visit the PostureFit website.