Position 4

Step up and learn to extend your movement box!

Pilates People Cork

By Jaconel Janssen

Two things happened last week that made me think about movement in a different way.

On Wednesday my index finger got caught in a door. I screamed, reached for the ice pack and felt quite sorry for myself. The next day the tip of my finger had turned a funny colour purple.

This unfortunate event revealed to me how much I actually use that small part of my body. It is involved in many different movements. To make up for the temporary loss of function, I had to do things differently and move in a different way.

That same evening, I started a dance class at my local adult education centre. Being a movement teacher, I move a lot. But this was different, I moved in ways that are outside of my usual ‘movement box’.

It felt great. Besides the sense of joy and achievement that I now have a short dance routine to Beyoncé, the class brought me some nice mobility and strength. Something different.

Our body needs this - a lot of movement and plenty of variety. We can get this wherever we see it. Step outside your usual movement box, and look at your environment with new ‘movement eyes’.

A step-up is an essential functional movement, which can be done in lots of places. Your staircase at home, steps in the park, or a pavement. Talk about curb appeal.

Stand upright with good posture, ears over shoulders, hips and heels. Imagine you are looking at the horizon with your forehead. Step up with your right leg, foot entirely on the step, and your feet and knees facing forward.

With your hips staying level all the time, slowly push your left heel up as far as possible. Then let your right foot take over: push into your right heel and come fully into standing on your right leg, still upright, hips level.

Come down in the opposite way, or stay on your right leg a little longer to further strengthen your balance. Repeat on the other side. Do as many repetitions as you can, stop when you're fatigued or your form begins to suffer.

This simple weight-bearing movement helps strengthen all the major muscle groups in your lower body. It is great for knee, hip and core strength, posture and balance.

My finger is nearly pain free, and I am looking forward to exercising my body and my brain tonight in my dance class - followed by a good night’s sleep!