It’s no secret that the majority of people are right-hand dominant. Just consider common phrases like “my right-hand man” or “I’d rather lose my right arm,” and you’ll realize the importance that most of us place on our right sides. How many of us favor the right? Nine out of 10.
For the remaining 10% of the population that’s left-side dominant, ambidexterity isn’t much of an option. From taking pictures to sitting at desks and even driving cars, everyday activities often require lefties to use their non-dominant side more than they otherwise would and definitely more than right-handers use their left side.
Now, unless a righty breaks his or her right arm, there’s no practical motivation to increase ambidexterity, unless, perhaps, baseball switch-hitting appeals. However, excessive right-side dominance can affect the entire body. Overuse of the right side, by default, means under-use of the left side, and there the problem lies. One area often affected is the left buttocks and hip-stabilizing muscles. When they are underused, weakness results. Such weakness of the left leg and hip can lead to lower back pain, hip bursitis, or sciatica.
How can you tell if you or someone you know is excessively right-sided? Overly right-side dominant people will regularly shift their weight to their right hips when standing and cross their left legs over their right legs while sitting. This constant insistence on having their dominant side bear their weight can lead to problems.
The key to utilizing your non-dominant side is to think about it. Whether you’re performing everyday tasks or working out, you need to purpose to strengthen your left side.
1. Concentrate on correcting your posture
Whenever you’re standing still, whether you’re at work, standing in line at the grocery store, or talking to a friend at a party, make sure you’re putting equal weight on each leg. When you sit, either keep both feet on the floor, or cross your right leg over your left leg half the time. At some point, these forced steps will become habits, if you implement them regularly.
2. Exercise your weaker side
Starting out, you may find that standing on your weaker leg can be a challenge, especially when you aren’t wearing shoes. Once you’ve mastered that part, try standing on a not-so-solid surface like a cushion. As you strengthen your weaker side, you’ll attain greater body symmetry, helping you avoid potential injuries.
3. Consider left-sided movements
Simply thinking about your left side at times like when you’re climbing up stairs can help you strengthen the connection between your nervous system and your left side.
Those three simple steps can help you avoid the down sides of right-handedness and might even make you a bit more likely to switch hit at next year’s church softball game!
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.
Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their site at PhysioDC.com or call them at 202-223-8500.
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