The Movement Relationship: Rethinking our approach to exercise

Do you remember the dreaded beep test? We ran those lines it till our lungs or legs gave way. How about showing up late to gym class.. did you too have to do push-ups? For me, there were countless occasions of running laps after a game because the rugby match was lost. Or in soccer try outs, doing push ups or sprints (my choice) when the scrimmage was lost. It is here where physically, we learned to go until we can’t. We learned to exercise to failure.

We started an unconscious association between movement (exercise) and punishment. We learned that fitness is not something to be enjoyed but rather something we do when we have done something wrong. 😏

The thing is, the older I get and the more sedentary some days try to become (work, school etc.) the more I realize how good my body feels when I do consciously move. For me, movement has been a part of my daily life since I was a little girl. Movement is trained into my system. It’s who I am, it’s what comes natural to me.

But I also know I am not the norm. Growing up, I was always the tall one (which I used to hate) with deer like legs. Competing in track and field meets came easy to me. Between the ages of 6 and 16 I was on the track and field team, played volleyball, field hockey and even tried to play rugby. I lived on my pedal bike, took horseback riding lessons and played golf in the summertime at Duncan Meadows. At the age of 15 I had my first gym membership and I loved it.

More to the Movement Relationship topic..

What if we have it all wrong?

What if the reason we always start and stop exercising is because our early relationship with movement was not a healthy one? Perhaps the reason our honest attempts to “start going to the gym,” “get fit” and “start running” fail are not actually our fault but rather a mixed relationship we only grew to understand. A mixed relationship between physical activity and punishment.

Trisha’s thoughts on movement for the health of it!

If you are like me, then you are interested in living a healthy lifestyle because doing so leaves you feeling good. There is no question movement is foundational to a healthy lifestyle. So exactly how much movement do we need in order to be healthy?

It’s surprising how little movement we actually need in order to meet Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines. The experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week. For you, this could look like a little over 20 minutes of briskly walking per day and doing activities such as resistance training a couple of days a week.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines produced by the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology

Movement equals self care. It means coming home, tuning in and connecting with the body and mind. It is carving out ‘me time‘ during each day to decrease pain or prevent injury. It is building or re-building resiliency. It is often a time for the physical body to move from an anxious state to one which is both grounded and energized.

Trisha believes everyone deserves a life free of pain. And proper healing after injury requires self care. It involves learning and executing a physical body re-build of mobility and/ or strength.

For most of this, this means working with a Qualified Exercise Professional. Someone who has formal knowledge and experience with your injury or condition as well as one who understands the effects of any medication you are taking. Exercise professionals may be titled “Exercise Physiologist”, “Kinesiologist,” “Athletic Therapist” or ”Physiotherapist”.

Next post we will discuss ways to Set Yourself Up For Success in the Gym or at Home.

Interested in working with Trisha? Trisha is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Certified Athletic Therapist. She offers 1-on-1 training in her private 800 sq. foot home based movement studio. The supervised exercise sessions are individually tailored to meet your needs. You’ll experience guidance, empowerment and clarity on safe movement while receiving the physical support necessary to make lasting change.

Duration: 60-minutes  |  Cost: $90

The Temporomandibular joint (TMJ): A whole body approach to jaw pain

In Osteopathy, the TMJ is often referred to as the “joint of expression.” 

The only dual joint in the body, it allows us to communicate, breathe, chew, swallow and even throw up (sorry!)🤢🙊. What’s also fascinating about this area, is the role this structure plays in our overall balance of posture. 

Have you experienced a trauma such as a fall, car accident or dental work? Do you enjoy chewing gum or smoking? How about playing sports or wearing a mouth guard? If so, your TMJ may not be functioning as optimal as it could be and may be affecting your postural balance. 

So, how are my TMJ and posture related? Try this exercise to see what I mean:

  1. Stand with your eyes closed and bring your attention to your feet. Notice how the weight is distributed in your feet: Is your weight more in the front than the back? Left more than right? 
  2. Simply notice this, don’t change it. 
  3. Now with your eyes still closed, push your jaw forward: did this change how you distribute the weight in your feet? How did the rest of your body respond? 
  4. What happens when you retract your jaw backwards?
  5. Now try it with your abdomen. Stick your belly out. Draw your belly in. Did the rest of your body respond? How?

Trisha believes the body is a functional unit, meaning it all works together — even when you have TM joint dysfunction, it is still important to assess the whole body, to see how your whole body is functioning. More importantly, as this is such an adaptable area, it should be able to adapt to everyday changes of movement.

If you are someone already experiencing pain in your jaw, or it makes sounds like snapping and clicking, you grind your teeth or worse yet you have experienced locking. These are all signs and symptoms you may have a problem in this area.  

Muscles such as the ptyergoids, temporalis and masseters can loose synchronicity over time leading to dysfunction and more or less movement on one side of the jaw. The articular disc too can loose congruency with the condyle and result in pain, open lock, closed lock or dyskinesia! 

If you experience any of the following, having assessment and treatment of your TMJ may be beneficial:

  • Headaches
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Ear Infection
  • Pressure in the ears
  • Pain in the ear
  • Eyesight troubles
  • Neck pain, injury or whiplash
  • Shoulder girdle troubles .. that’s right there is musculature which run from your shoulder to your jaw! (See: Omohyoid, SCM and UFT) 
  • Problems with digestion or you’re ear, nose or throat  

Your TM joint is used up to 10,000 times a day! 😯 It’s a crucial area to treat and Trisha has the skills necessary to work intra orally (in the mouth) to get you feeling better today. 

P.S.: The next time you are at a rock show, tune in to the jaw of a musician (Not the lead singer, but someone else in the band) you’ll be shocked at how much movement they have. This emotional charge, tension and strain is all taken up by the TMJ! Fascinating right?

Happy learning, happy minds, happy bodies! 

my journey

My strength was once my weakness. 

16 years ago I was quite literally hit into the direction of my career path. I was a passenger in a small car with no head rest that was rear ended. I suffered soft tissue injuries to my neck and back with an undiagnosed concussion. Being so tall (I’m 5’10”), I only recall the back of my head hitting the window.

Three years following that, I found myself struggling with depression related to my chronic pain. My life was on hold and I wasn’t seemingly getting ‘better.’

Within 4 years,

I saw a physiotherapist. 

I saw a kinesiologist. 

I saw a chiropractor. 

I saw a massage therapist. 

I saw an acupuncturist. 

I saw my doctor. 

I saw a sports medicine doctor. 

I saw a counsellor.

I was provided with the standard treatment of care for a 15 year old involved in a car accident. But I wasn’t getting better. 

Today, some 16 plus years later I can happily say, I have fully (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) recovered from that accident. 

So what changed? 

In 2009 I decided to devote my life to helping fellow human beings like myself who have been injured. I stopped putting my life on hold, and went back to school. 

In a serendipity of events I landed at Camosun Colleges’ Bachelor of Athletic and Exercise Therapy program. I started learning for the first time, a full in-depth understanding about injuries, various phases of healing and appropriate strategies for treatment and rehabilitation. I also developed a solid framework for self-care including daily movement and a weekly strength training routine. 

Later in my studies, I met David Laurin who like myself was an Athletic Therapist studying something I have never heard of called Manual Osteopathy. I recall one night at the Cowichan Valley Rugby Club (Go Piggies Go!), David studying the formation of the temporal bone. I asked him why he cared so much about one bone in the cranium and vowed to never return to school once I was finished with my current Athletic Therapy degree.

You know what they say right? “Never say never!”

After graduating and working in a busy clinic for 5 years, I went back to school to learn more about Osteopathy. My poor Mom, she truly is becoming less patient, waiting for grandchildren. I’m now well into my 4th year to becoming a Manual Osteopathic Practitioner: graduating from The Canadian College of Osteopathy (5 year program). I love sharing my knowledge and passion with others who like myself, are finding a way out of chronic pain into health and ease of movement.

Interested in what I am studying? For more information check out:

Note: This post is in no way intended to discredit the numerous other qualified health professionals in the Cowichan Valley. Rather, it’s intention is to encourage you to find a health care practitioner that fits with you. One who listens, helps, encourages and ultimately provides positive and measurable results to your health.