OK, this may be weird but just do it: go to the mirror and take off your shirt.
Don’t look in the mirror! At least not yet. Close your eyes, take a really deep breath, let it out slowly and really relax.
Now looking straight ahead, open your eyes and look at your shoulders.
Notice if they are level with one another, if they are the same size and shape and if your head is straight, turned or tilted.
Most people, if truly relaxed as they do this, will notice if there was a line through the centre of their head that one side doesn’t match the other.
Very commonly, the shoulders are uneven or one is rounder, or one is more rounded forward than the other or even likely all of the above.
Very commonly, the head is tilted to one side or even turned slightly.
This happens because many of us sleep on one side, often with our arm up.
This happens because we often drive with one arm extended and always the same arm. This happens because we talk on the phone a lot and always hold it to the same ear, or because we spend hours and hours in front of a computer with your hand on a mouse.
Or it could be any number of reasons but they will be obvious when you really think about it — they will be the things you spend a lot of nearly every day (or night) doing.
This asymmetry you see means that your body is not functioning in balance.
If it were, it’s natural desire for harmony would have you looking like a Greek god in the mirror — or at least you’d have the side-to-side symmetry of one even if the total package is a little less than godly.
What’s worse, the longer you leave it the worse it will become.
If it doesn’t hurt today or break tomorrow, it very likely will in the future.
If you remember that time you fell on the ice this winter and you were sore for days, and now your hip has hurt for months; truth is, your hip was likely hurt before and the slip was just the straw that broke the camel’s proverbial back.
Now that you can see some of the problems, here’s what you can do:
Notice short angles.
By that I mean if your head tilts, the side it tilts to will make a smaller angle between the neck and the shoulder.
Or in the case of a shoulder rounded forward, the angle across the chest is shorter (now convex) as opposed to the back of the shoulder and upper back (now concave); ideally, they’d be neutral.
The point is whatever angle is shorter, we want to move or stretch in the opposite direction.
As trainers, we may do this in part with stretching certain muscles to make them longer, but we may also incorporate repetitive resistance with opposing muscles to make them stronger and shorter, in turn they pull those other muscles longer.
The best part is you can do all of this on your own. Our website, YouTube and many others will have every piece of information you need to balance your body to perfection.
I hope this makes sense It’s not as complicated as it may seem, although working with an expert will make things happen faster and safer.
Cabel McElderry is a local personal trainer and nutrition coach. For more information on fitness and nutrition, visit the Fitness F/X website at www.fitnessfx.com.