The Stability-Mobility continuum
Try placing a cone on its vertex. We all know it will fall. Why? Because the base of support is too small to allow the entire cone to stand erect without any support. Now the same cone rests peacefully on its base as the base of support is large enough to keep it stable without any movement what so ever until it is disturbed. Look at your self in the mirror. When you see the size of your feet, the breadth of your shoulders and your height, You begin to wonder how are you able to actually stand up on your feet for humans look like a cone trying to support on its vertex. And yet standing up is the most basic posture of humanity.
From a mechanical perspective, the factors that determine our level of stability are the size of the base of support and the height of the center of gravity from the base of support. It stands to reason then, that if you lie down and increase your base of support, the height of the center of gravity is lowest near the ground and therefore there is more stability. But human being were not born to be in a static posture all their lives! Mobility or movement is an integral part of living life. That is why we are constantly placed in a stability-mobility continuum during our waking hours – a need for mobility arising with the confidence of stability right through.
During the course of movement when we need to enhance stability we increase our base of support – like little children that crawl on all fours or older people who take the support of a cane. The minute we stand up and the height of the center of gravity (COG) above the base of support increases, we need to ensure the ‘projection’ of the COG still falls within the base of support. That is, when you walk, if your spine is straight, the projection of your COG is still in between your feet within the base of support. Imagine if you were a ballerina, dancing and pirouetting on one foot, your COG now keeps altering with every moment triggering you to learn the art of ‘stability’ in a more structured way.
Higher the stability, lower the mobility and vice versa in the normal unbalanced and untrained form. Most old people lose their mobility when they begin to have stability issues. But this can be rectified right at the beginning if we can begin to train our body to within the stability-mobility continuum by creating memories of stability in our muscles, training them to be vigilant to keep balancing the art of stability and mobility. As B.K.S.Iyengar said “We seek the balance of polarity, not the annihilation of duality”. Functional stability exercises that work on your stabilizer muscles even as you strengthen your prime movers is the key to a functionally healthy body that will let you age gracefully.
By Gita Krishna Raj
CEO Maverick, Holistic Lifestyle coach C.H.E.K Institute USA, Metabolic Typing Advisor, Health excel UK