Posts Tagged ‘movement patterns’

Have you ever noticed which leg/foot you tend to use when you walk up the stairs or over a curb? Do you generally put the same arm in first when putting on a shirt? What happens when you brush your teeth? Have you noticed? I’ll bet most of you start with the same side of the mouth each and every time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, of course. In fact, it makes good sense. When we establish these patterns, the brain doesn’t have to work as hard to get things done; it’s efficient. But there are some drawbacks. For instance, it allows us to operate on auto-pilot so that you’re not really aware of what you’re doing or where you’re going. How often have you brushed your teeth and been thinking about something else entirely? It can leave you wondering whether you’ve brushed your teeth at all!

Leading with the same arm or leg can also create a muscle imbalance between the sides of the body. I remember looking at a sneaky photo my friend took of me during my morning practice. I was stunned to see how one calf muscle was significantly larger than the other. These imbalances, over time, can create uneven wear patterns in the joints. And this cycle tends to perpetuate itself.

Try this: Change it up. It’s that simple. If, in the morning, you brush your teeth starting on the bottom left side, begin with the top right the next time you brush. If you find yourself starting with the right foot as you go up the stairs, change sides from time to time. And find out for yourself how interesting it can be to put the less familiar arm in your shirt first the next time you get dressed. The bonus? It can help smooth out any systemic imbalances AND it works to keep you more aware and conscious of what you’re doing.

If you give it a whirl, I’d love to know how it goes for you.

All the very best,


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