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So as...

The psoas is one of the more peculiar human muscles and one of the most problematic. This muscle does so many things! It helps with walking, standing, sitting, and spinal rotation for every sport. If we are in danger, our brain can activate this muscle to help us roll into a ball to protect us from injury.

Unfortunately, the psoas is getting a lot of neglect these days, and this neglect is causing all kinds of problems. Dr. Cobb at ZHealth says that our bodies tend to break down due to injury, misuse, or neglect, or a combination of these. For our poor psoas, it turns out to be neglect most of the time.

Look carefully at the picture of the psoas above. Imagine what might happen if this muscle became too tight or short. This could cause low back pain, hip pain, or upper thigh pain. Over time, a problem with this muscle could pull the spine out of alignment. Disks between vertebrae in the lumbar vertebrae might get compressed and herniate or rupture. This could cause intense pain, loss of sensation in legs and feet, poor function of sexual organs, and more.

Psoas...So what? Why is it at risk today? Neglect. We are experiencing an epidemic of little movement and poor movement. At the same time, our species is sitting down more than ever before. For the past two hundred thousand years, mankind has been a masterful mover, but, with technological advancements and developments in entertainment and "inactive play" (within the last fifty years), we have become primarily sedentary.

Perhaps the biggest loser in this, in our battalion of body muscles, is the psoas. Sitting is the worst position for our mighty psoas. When we sit, this muscle shortens. If we sit at a typical job, eight hours a day, our psoas suffers. The shortening of this muscle makes it harder to stand, and might make standing up painful. If we go home after work and sit to watch TV, the psoas is further neglected and we suffer for it.

Think about comedians who portray the typical "old guy" trying to stand, but who can't ever get fully upright. Dana Carvey demonstrates this in a hilariously self-deprecating way as he struggles with the complexities of aging. At one point, he is permanently locked at his hips, bent at his low spine. This lack of movement can be entirely due to an overtight psoas.

The easiest way to keep your psoas happy is to walk every day. Walk tall with a good posture for twenty minutes to an hour or more to maintain this immensely important muscle. To cultivate your healthiest, strongest psoas, consider taking up a sport with spinal rotation and torque, such as tennis or golf. Let's start using this muscle and work diligently against neglecting it!

Later today, I'll post a video on my Youtube channel, MP3 Theratrain, for the three best drills to support and lengthen the psoas. I'll update this post with the video link when it's ready!

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