Fascia is a type of connective tissue that wraps around our muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It’s kind of like a densely woven net made mostly of collagen. Without it, our bodies would collapse. It also surrounds our organs and helps keep them in place.
When the fascia is healthy and well lubricated, it moves freely over the things it covers. And it allows the body to glide smoothly. Such a beautiful image.
But if your fascia is unhealthy and dehydrated, it can get stuck. If that happens, you’re likely to be as stiff as a robot with not a hint of a glide in your movements.
Patty Medina is a fitness instructor who teaches her students how to get their glide back.
You want to do slow movements and range of motion movements, big range of motion movements. Easy, easy movements. I use a combination of moves — dance moves, Tai Chi moves — anything that flows and gets you moving freely in all kinds of different ways.
Patty Medina, fitness instructor
Patty teaches yoga and dance; she is a personal trainer and a triathlon coach; the founder of the Fit to Live senior fitness program.
One of the classes she teaches is belly dancing, which really helps loosen up your fascia. Some of the students in her Fit to Live classes weren’t so keen on belly dancing with veils, so she came up with something special just for them.
She bought some cloth and made them capes — they call them their power capes. They wave them up and around their heads, around their hips, and between their legs as they go through various easy swinging motions. No belly rolls or hip lifts, just lots of stretching and gliding. To some lively music.
I use Paso Doble, tango music, strong music. Just to get them to move their bodies with the music.
Nobody ever thinks about their fascia, if they’ve even heard of it before. You should be thinking about it, says Patty. And not just when you’re older and think you’re feeling stiff because of your age. Put on some tango music, grab your own power cape (or belly dancing veil) and get your glide on.
If you live in southern Maine, Patty’s Fit to Live class is every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 at the People’s United Methodist Church, 310 Broadway, South Portland.