PFTL associate Dave Kwiecinski will host a unique, live informational webinar at the studio on Thursday, September 15 f

rom 6:00 to 7:30pm.  This nationwide interactive webinar led by creator Phil Kaplan, will preview an 8-week “Aggressive Lifestyle Intervention Variable Exercise” (ALIVE) protocol.  Dave, one of the few certified ALIVE coaches in the United States, will answer questions afterward.  The 8-week ALIVE program will be presented at the studio starting Monday, September 26.

ALIVE incorporates key elements of the most effective exercise disciplines into a protocol that respects the human machine and its ability to improve, making a complex exercise routine extremely simple and amazingly efficient.  ALIVE is not a medical program, at least not in the conventional sense, but has helped participants of all ages move away from disease and return to optimal health.

Check out the website link below to hear what ALIVE participants from John’s Hopkins Hospital in Maryland said this about the program:

Call Dave at 847-845-1026 or email at to register.  Space is limited; sign up early.  Webinar cost: $20.

FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION:  THE DEGRADATION OF FORM THROUGH FUNCTION (modified from the National Posture Institute June 2011)

Many have heard the common axiom “form follows function”. It is widely used in today’s society; however, there is much debate as to what it means.

Its historical root dates back to the 1900s and was applied by Louis Sullivan to architecture of that time. To an architect, form following function, was defined through pioneering large skyscrapers or bridges that would hold true to their respective functions. For example, it was essential to understand how a bridge was to be used and the stresses that were likely to occur before any construction was begun. In this way the bridge could be constructed with the necessary structural integrity to function optimally (and safely).

Similar to the bridge, the human body can only function optimally if its structure (form) is in proper alignment, in other words, proper posture.

Evolution of the human being has been identified through form following function. As human mammals, we have developed our bipedal erect standing posture based on adaptations to better meet the demands of our lifestyles. Babies learn the motor skills to crawl, stand, and eventually walk.  Through repetitive integration of different movement patterns we refine and create efficiency in movement. Movements require time and repetitive reinforcement to establish neuromuscular efficiency to establish the movement pattern. Similarly, the complexity of advanced movements such as a golf swing or baseball swing requires the repeated practice and integration to perfect the swings.

Movements and patterns, however, can be severely restricted through environments that inhibit and/or limit movement. Most humans rarely think about how their posture is affected by daily activities; they focus instead on conforming to the activity regardless of the discomfort or pain that may result.  The more deviation there is from optimal alignment the more dysfunction will occur. For example, sitting hunched over a computer for an extended amount of time will most certainly result in poor posture, stiff muscles and back pain.

Based on current trends in musculoskeletal disorders, it is obvious that we are adversely impacting our form in order to follow our lifestyle function. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders have become the most prevalent occupational illness, representing one third of all work related diseases!

Our postures have become crippled due to poor body mechanics as practiced in our technologically savvy lifestyles, occupations, activities of daily living, and poor exercise habits. As we increase our poor posture and bad alignment through everyday pursuits we are contributing to poor musculoskeletal health and ultimately a decreased quality of life.

There are, however, ways to counter this trend. The NPI suggests 4 Points of Posture (which I have modified somewhat). The four points of posture are simplified mental imagery cues that can be used to learn and establish better postural alignment.

1. Stand Tall – Visualize the vertebral column (including the neck) lengthening and growing taller

2. Hold Chest High – Visualize opening up the chest and leveling out (relaxing) the shoulders

3. Contract Inner Core Abdominal Muscles – Visualize drawing the belly button in and up, thereby isometrically contracting the core musculature.

4. Use Your Diaphragm for Breathing – Expand the ribs horizontally while inhaling and not raising the shoulders

If we allow our body to conform to the function through poor sitting posture, faulty execution of exercise movements, or performing unsafe household activities, health issues will result.  Always be conscious of you posture; do not let your form be a poor representation of your function.

Keep reading; the following article illustrates how the function of wearing high-heeled shoes can negatively affect your body’s alignment/form.

HIGH-HEELED SHOES:  PLATFORM TO PAIN (modified from the National Posture Institute -August 2011)

No other footwear exemplifies the ideas of sophistication, sexuality, and elegance like high-heeled shoes. As many women will already willingly admit, high-heeled shoes are rarely worn as a means for foot comfort – but, how bad can they really be?  Most women do not realize wearing these “Glamour Platforms” are causing unnoticed injury to their body.

Researchers at the National Posture Institute conducted some interesting studies – With the heel raised in relation to the toe, there is an increased force on the forefoot that predisposes many foot ailments (including bunions and hammertoes). With a wide variety of heel heights, ranging from ½” up to 4”, the larger the heel the larger the increase of force placed upon the forefoot. They found high-heeled shoes to significantly impair normal ankle functioning. This may not come as a surprise due to the falls commonly associated with wearing high-heels.

The impairment does not stop at the foot, but also, compromises the knee and the hip in order to compensate for the unstable ankle. The study results concluded a 23% increase in varus torque of the knee. In other words, the ligaments of the knee are enduring extreme amounts of compression in order to stabilize the ankle and to prevent you from falling. The findings of this study support evidence of osteoarthritis being twice as likely in women compared to men.

Another study examined the biomechanical effects of wearing high-heels in different heel heights. The study concluded lumbar flexion decreases significantly as heel height increases. Therefore, the body’s center of gravity is shifted and an unstable posture results.
The shift causes an exaggerated lumbar lordotic curve ultimately increasing compressive forces to the lower back. The exaggerated angle requires compensation through increasing the activity of muscles that stabilize the spine; this will ultimately result in future low back complications.

If a predisposition to knee osteoarthritis and low back pain are not convincing evidence to limit high heels, other studies have indicated that wearing heels resulted in an shortened Achilles tendon, increased oxygen consumption, decreased stride length and altered gait pattern.

With strong evidence weighing negatively in the favor of wearing high-heeled shoes, a serious consideration should be given before opting for a fashion statement over a healthy body.

CORRECTION to last month’s newsletter: Massage therapy rates are:  $85/hour for Deborah Hamilton and $90/hour for Thai Massage by Reji Bae.