If you’re lucky enough to get to midlife without our body ‘talking’ to you about any issues don’t take it for granted that that will always be the case. From midlife, it’s all the more important that we keep moving as much and in fact more! Being aware of how good your range of movement is and paying attention to whether it changes is important so that we can prevent ever having to have those unwanted conversations!
‘Normal’ living can reap unexpected consequences
Over the years and decades we all get into patterns of movement (or lack of) that cause our bodies’ alignment to alter - sitting for long periods at a desk with poor posture ‘shapes’ us, as does always favouring the handed-side of our body, wearing shoes with inflexible soles, rigid arch supports and slight heels that our body has to counteract as we walk. Even performing healthy exercises, but without the necessary attention to how we are moving can in fact be detrimental (particularly over the long term). I could go on, but don’t worry, I won’t - you get the idea!
Many bodies can get away with these poor patterns for a long time and some even a lifetime, but often, when decreasing muscle tone & bone density are added into the mix (from age 30 & 40 respectively), that’s when those conversations often start and people wonder how they’ve got to that point when they haven’t even been injured and they’ve been ‘exercising’ regularly.
When natural movement is needed as therapy?
If any of the following statements strike a chord, then your body & brain are starting a conversation that you would be advised to take note of sooner rather than later, for the sake of your future self!
I don’t get down to the floor as much as I am a bit nervous about my knees.
After a long walk and even sometimes just sitting at my desk for long periods, I get tight hips.
My strength isn’t great when my arms are lifting overhead.
I try not to lift anything too heavy as I feel it in my lower back.
I keep getting small issues - but that’s just ageing isn’t it?
Awareness (& honesty) are the first step
As we age, we often get some physical niggles or sometimes worse issues. These can make us less confident of our movements, so we slow down, don’t do certain things, or worse; stop and that’s when issues can take hold.
The first step towards a better movement future is to notice when you are limiting your own movement or even just when you are using things to help you move, like leaning on your front knee to get up from the floor, holding the bannister, leaning on the kitchen counter with your hips.
It’s also important to be honest when (even just a little) fear might be creeping in. Responding to these (physical or mental) signals could be the best thing you do!
Natural movement training is both a therapy and a deterrent.
Regular healthy movement can be a great part of the solution - both as therapy & deterrent. I love natural movement training as it applies to my whole day - there are so many movements I perform where I incorporate the techniques I teach.
Whilst recovering from injury and learning about and starting to practise natural movement, I felt myself get stronger and more mobile and I felt my confidence increase. I felt more able to take risks without the fear of re-injuring myself.
I know that when I keep moving well, my body feels great and when I have more sedentary days my body tells me it needs more movement. Even 5 minutes of ground movement on the living room floor improves how I feel immediately, hence why I take a 5-minute movement break at the end of every sedentary hour (on my laptop!).
Little and often is so much more beneficial than a heavy workout and then forgetting about movement for the rest of the day.
Am I repeating the word, ‘movement’ too much? Well, there’s a reason for that!
I am passionate about the benefits it can bring for both those who have had past injuries and also those who suddenly realise that you just can’t take these amazing bodies we’ve been given for granted!
How is natural movement specifically a form of therapy over other forms of exercise?
The basic level of natural movement training is about reminding our bodies about the movement patterns we developed as children, that the human body was designed to perform and still needs to be able to perform as adults for good all-round physiological health.
Ground movements at the start of each class (and that I also do as movement breaks throughout my day) are part of the NDS - Natural Development Sequence.
NDS (comes from the Neuro Development Sequence) referring to the developmental steps all humans take from the time they are born till the time they can walk. With MovNat we use these sequences and variations from it, in order to restore lost movement, warming the body up or developing certain aspects of it. Movements like crawling, rocking and rolling are all highly important for increasing mobility, gaining improved stability & increasing strength.
By learning to increase our range of daily movements, the aim is to regain coordination and stability, improve muscular flexibility and joint mobility. In turn, this leads to increased strength, conditioning and ultimately adaptability (and therefore safety) in all the types of movement we ask our bodies to perform.
If in doubt; just move!
My main goal is to inspire people to move, more more and hopefully move better.
Any movement is good movement in my book, but for me, natural movement just makes so much sense. I train for real-world movements and when I finish ‘training’ I keep stacking in movements wherever and whenever I can!
I wish you a happy year of fun movement in 2021.