DevaTree Blog

Do What You Did and Get What You Got: How Repetitive Movement Tightens Your Fascia

Posted By Brenda Dowell on Jun 06, 2018

Many of us choose a fitness routine and keep it the same every single day.

We like the predictability. Maybe it feels grounding and reliable, or maybe we don’t have time to learn something new. When it’s a regular routine, we don’t have to think about it too much.

I’ve done this too (with my yoga practice), and I see this often with friends and students.

My friend who runs marathons is always training, so she doesn’t feel she has time to do anything else. Another friend cycles every other day, but doesn't move in other ways on the off days. Some people walk every day, but don’t stretch or move their spine.

Doing the same exercise routine over and over can seriously tighten our fascia.

Fascia is connective tissue. It’s like a 3-D net throughout the body giving us our physical shape. It can be fuzzy and thin, or thick like leather. Fascia grows every night while you sleep and when you move and stretch your body in the morning, it gets re-absorbed and doesn't create any issues.

If you don't move your body in a variety of ways, the fascia will thicken in those areas and cause restrictions in your range of movements.

This tightening can lead to impaired range of movements in our joints, and restrict our strength, mobility, and flexibility.

I had a body builder in my yoga class who was very strong in certain movements, but when I asked him to try a different position, he couldn't move his arms. He could only move in the way he’d been training.

These limitations can affect our whole body, and have a big impact on daily living.

Internally, the fascial nets connect everything. A pull, imbalance or tightening on one area, will affect all areas and can lead to physical compensation somewhere else. For example, if the fascia in our hips is really tight (perhaps from sitting too long), it can affect how we stand and walk, putting excess pressure on our knees. This in turn, can create knee pain.

Repeating the same exercise over and over can cause repetitive strain injuries to the body.

When we only move in one plane (like running or cycling), we create patterns that limit our mobility. My friend who runs marathons has had many injuries over the years, and this is true for so many of us committed to fitness.

Sometimes we get used to injuries. Some people even feel proud of them, as though they’re a badge of honour. But injuries take a toll on our body, and having an unbalanced routine isn’t a sustainable way to exercise.

Fascia responds best to fluid movements, hydration, and pressure (like massage).

Research continues to prove the importance of fascia and the need to give it a wide variety of movements to keep it responsive and malleable for overall health.

Still love your routine? Here are some ways you can support your fascia:

  1. If you hold yoga poses for long periods of time, try moving in and out of the poses (with your breath) before holding.
  2. If you’re a cyclist, before getting on your bike, place your hands on your hips and lean to the left and right in deep side stretches. Then pause at center and lean back, pressing your hips forward. With your heart lifted to the sky, arch your back.
  3. If you’re a runner, add some twists to your warm up to move your spine in another position.
  4. If you’re a body builder, add some dynamic stretches to your warm up, taking the joint through a full range of movement before lifting.For example, clasp your hands behind your back and raise them away from body several times slowly.
  5. If you sit for long periods of time, get up and circle your hips and shoulders a few times.
  6. Last but not least, the fascia loves it when we dance for the fun of it (not choreographed). Put on your favourite music and play!

Have you ever got so excited about an exercise routine that you didn't want to do anything else? I'd love to hear about your experience, in the comments below.

To your fluidity and flexibility,


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3 Comment(s)

Misty on June 06, 2018
I was so excited about Tae Bo years ago and that was my jam...until it wasn't. Had I known why other issues crept in it would have made more sense. Thanks for your sharing. So excited to take the Fascial Course this summer and to be immersed by your love and knowledge. Shakti
Brenda Dowell on June 06, 2018
Thank you Shakti for your sharing. I find it so easy to get caught up in the 'next best thing' only to find out that it too can create chaos if it isn't balanced. I'm super jazzed you will be there this summer joining me as I share my passion for this course
Tamika on June 06, 2018
Your passion for fascia is inspiring. So much rich info here—thank you!

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