Movement or Exercise?
In a world where we’ve never been so busy not moving, a sedentary lifestyle has become considered a norm. It’s not normal, it’s familiar and habitual. Since industrialisation, the human race moves less now than at any other point in its evolutionary history. Not only that, the position and movement our bodies repeat and sustain, is essentially forwards and downwards. Picture a side on view of your spine, arms, shoulders and head as you’re reading this….
Simply being more active isn’t enough for a life away from pain and stiffness. It only serves to increase your unhelpful or even harmful movement patterns. Moving as you’re naturally designed is the way towards a life without pain and stiffness. To clarify what I mean by this, let’s start with how movement and exercise are different and why the difference matters.
Movement or exercise and why it matters
Exercise is the purpose of improving cardiovascular fitness and mental and physical health. Typically it’s planned, structured and repetitive activity. It usually focuses on specific areas of the body, to do a specific activity.
Movement is an integral component of everything we do; how we breathe, align and use our whole body. Movement is everything exercise is, PLUS all random, free flowing, irregular, controlled and uncontrolled motion throughout our everyday life. It ensures the whole body is primed and prepared to safely and effectively perform and sustain all activities vital for life.
Health requires movement and exercise
Movement is how we evolved; towards food and away from danger. Evolution wasn’t dependent on repetitions, progressions or isolating body parts to build strength, flexibility or fitness. It WAS achieved through repeating irregular multidirectional movements to survive; squatting, crawling, climbing, ducking, dodging, throwing, reaching.
With limited food supplies, it was paramount our ancestors moved as efficiently and effectively as possible. No nipping to the supermarket or dipping into the freezer to refuel.
Effect of sedentary lifestyles
Today there is no getting away from the fact, the vast majority, live their lives centred around sitting. Essentially, a more sedentary lifestyle than we were designed for. Don’t confuse being busy with being active! Stop and consider the position you are in, doing what you do for much of your day. Every position in everything you do…
With the best intentions of a daily walk, yoga practice or gym workout, a life filled with sitting directly negates how your body senses itself. Our world is structured such that your body and limbs are perpetually reaching forwards and downwards. Your body’s receptors calibrate to this as a normal baseline, a position of neutral, when it’s not. Therefore when you move and straighten up, it’s more likely you are merely straight-ER than you were, but not fully straight.
Stiffness and loss of awareness
In addition to the effect on your receptors, is the stiffening effect resulting from repetitive postures and activities. Consider for a moment the effect of being predominantly flexed over a desk or garden flowerbed for a period of time.
On straightening up, your body requires you to be aware and familiar with extending up to your FULL height. It ALSO needs you to overcome the resulting stiffness affecting your body.
Recalibrate and re-centre
Simplistically speaking, your body is a machine with a brain. It requires power to move its various parts. To ensure machinery works properly, calibration testing is used and adjustments to recalibrate are made where necessary. Your body is the same.
Regularly moving ALL your bodily parts in the way they’re naturally designed, keeps ALL your bodily parts naturally moving in the way they’re designed. Move it or lose it…
A combination of movement and exercise helps to maintain the necessary calibration your body needs. Moving all your body parts in irregular, multidirectional ways, ensures the flexibility, strength and control needed to power and protect your body.
Rocks and pebbles fill a bucket
A balance in both multiple movements OF LIFE and dedicated exercise IN YOUR LIFE, are invaluable for your body to be healthy, strong, fit and supple. To explain what I mean, picture a bucket with rocks and pebbles in it. The bucket represents your day and the rocks and pebbles represent how you use your body through your day.
The rocks are the time you set aside to exercise; a walk, pilates class etc. The pebbles are all the multiple but small movements; reaching up to your full height after sitting, stretching your arms behind you, dropping your shoulders, over and over again throughout your day. The rocks are very valuable but there is a limit to how many will fit in the bucket. However, the number of tiny pebbles that fit around those rocks, are numerous.
You can’t out exercise a life of sitting
In the same way you can’t out run an unhealthy diet, you can’t out exercise a life of sitting. This is where ‘movement’ comes into its own; intentionally and repeatedly opening out and lengthening up your whole body. Every time you do, it’s another pebble you’re dropping into your bucket.
These random, open, wide and varied backwards, forwards, sideways movements of your limbs and body, help establish healthier, efficient and effective movement patterns. A constant ‘recalibration’ to maintain your joint and muscle, length and strength essential for life.
This is how you’re naturally designed to Simply Move!™ with dexterity, power and ease away from pain and stiffness.
Simply Move!™ in your own time and space
Simply Move!™ is my Physiotherapy through movement approach, founded in human evolution. Simply Move!™ online is a series of videos highlighting my key principles, for you to move as you’re naturally designed, for life without pain. Your whole body in 8 videos, with 12 months access.
If you’re ready to move in tune with your body today, click the link below and let’s get started!
I’m here to help
If it all feels too much on your own, or you don’t know where to start, I’m here to help. Physiotherapy through movement is what I do. So get in touch and live more of the life you want, today. I’m only one click, one phone call, one email away.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Physiotherapy through movement