Ready to nerd out on anatomy? We asked Robyn to share her anatomy knowledge to dive deeper into WHY we move the way we do in class, the science behind it (without getting TOO sciency) and the benefits of this juicy movement.
If you’ve been to one of my Pilates-based classes before, you know that I like to encourage some class participation in the form of not-so-serious pop quizzes. In this new blog series, I’ll go into further detail about some of those big words we like to use when offering anatomical information.
First up, and I know you’ve all been waiting for this one: WHAT THE F*CK IS SYNOVIAL FLUID?! Wikipedia begins its definition with: “a viscous, non-Newtonian fluid found in the cavities of synovial joints.” And while that’s absolutely correct, it probably doesn’t help you understand it any better. So, I’ll do my best to break it down in a way that is still sciency, but fun to read. (I can’t believe I wasn’t red-line spell-checked for sciency, pretty sure I just made that up…)
Synovial Joints: basically any joint in the body that has some space filled with synovial fluid. These types of joints contain some sort of “capsule”, and one of the layers of this capsule is the membrane that secretes our beloved synovial fluid. Some examples include the hinging elbow joint, the pivot point between the top two vertebrae in our neck, and my favourite: that big old ball-in-socket hip joint.
The reason these joints produce synovial fluid is to allow the articulating bones to dance more smoothly by reducing friction, as well as *bonus* delivering good nutrients and removing waste from the area! Cool, right?
When the body is just chilling out, the synovial fluid gets absorbed by nearby cartilage. (Think: chilled out, dried out). In order to get those joints all juicy and delicious, we’ve gotta move!!! Movement allows the stored synovial fluid to literally get squeezed out of storage and start moisturizing the area so that we can dance all groovy and smoothly. I love to use slow, circular movements that get gradually bigger and bigger as the joints get more and more moist. Mmmoist.
As a young dancer, I remember starting classes with “stretching”. Later, while studying kinesiology with dance scientist Donna Krasnow, I realized how damaging this could be. Among many other reasons (we’ll dive into stretching in a later post), the joints are simply not ready to do the splits yet. We gotta lube those spots up real good before trying extreme positions (annddd you can interpret that however you like, winky face).
In conclusion: move your body! When you’re feeling a little stiff and sticky, come to class, load up those online videos, put on your favourite song and dance around a little!
To quote myself, “the more we move, the more we CAN move!”
Image credit: Lululemon Toronto