This article was written by Warren Conolly Certified Master Trainer in The Wellness Zone.
As an adult, you might ask me:
“Warren, I am an adult, I have been moving for X amount of years, so there is no need for me to ‘learn’ how to move my body.”
My response to this would be to ask you a few questions:
“When you do things throughout your day, are you actually thinking about what it is you are doing, the action?
Do you concentrate, consciously, and are in tune with how you move your body, and how your body operates, with mundane, innocuous activities?
Perhaps you have been doing these activities of all your life, or are they merely a part of your unconscious conditioning?
An example I often use with my clients: When did you last think about how you tie your shoelaces? Or when did you last focus on how you actually brush your teeth 2-3 times per day?
Think about that for a moment….
In addition to this, when you are moving, how many directions, beside forward and backward are you moving in? Besides bending forward from time to time, or rotating from side-to-side occasionally, how frequently is your brain having to concentrate when you move?
We have become so accustomed to feeling comfortable in our daily lives, that we take for granted the small things that really DO matter. One of these being how we move our amazingly adaptive and functional bodies.
Conditioning, be it for the body, or in the mind, requires a little adaption here and there too. Because when you have a functioning system, like our body, it too requires a little changing, altering and development, for it to remain conditioned. As a result of external conditions, internal changes, and so forth.
This is where learning how to move your body comes into play.
Too often as an adult, we no longer are using most of our muscles, nor is our central nervous system stimulated sufficiently enough for our ageing to be healthy, or even congruent to our needs and lifestyle.
Then we begin to take on a new fitness regimen, with vigour, excitement, and a determination to succeed at achieving our newfound goals and objectives. Providing us with a new sense of purpose and joy for what is to come. Hopefully you get to start off with a gradual progression toward the ‘new you’ and then once the momentum picks up, you think to yourself “…ooh I would love to try that out!” Now you get even more excited about the prospect of learning a new group exercise class you have never attempted before, or you get into weight training for the 1st. time since you can recall.
And BAM!! It’s happened. Oh no! ….
You’ve pulled a muscle, or strained your back, torn a ligament, or sprained an ankle.
“Why me?” You may ask. Well, because you haven’t been using your body correctly and functionally for so long, that your brain is no longer connected to your muscles, in a functional sense, and your central nervous system is still fast asleep (in relative terms), so is unable to respond in time, the muscles you should be using in that twist and drop movement are still relaxing on the beaches of Ibiza, and your enthusiasm is larger than your ability to perform the exercise correctly.
Much like the adage of learning to walk before you run, the same can be said here. Begin to ‘experience’ your body in movement again, before jumping the gun on your own capabilities.
A powerful example for you here.
Some years back, I was working with a young Russian tennis prodigy. Although she was 12 years old, her body was built like an adult. Boy could she play tennis, often beating boys 4 years her senior!
However, she also suffered a lot with strains, injuries, niggles and so on. As a mere pre-teenager this meant disaster for her longevity in the sport. So, I was tasked with helping her to learn how to move her body, effectively, efficiently, and safely, whilst on the court. Connecting her brain to her muscles, and in so doing being consciously aware of her movements, what muscles to use and therefore how to safeguard herself. That is with a 12-year-old girl. Now imagine yourself as an adult that has been sedentary at best.
So, next time you hit that mat, or the studio that you love, I’d like to offer you a few tips on how you can be better prepared to move your body!
- Begin by simply being aware of how you do your typical day-to-day moment-to-moment activities. What parts of the body are you using, how does this feel, or where are you feeling muscle stimulation and strain?
- If you are already exercising and or doing a sport of some kind, then before each movement merely take a moment to connect your brain to the muscles you would be utilizing. Imagine you are in the muscle, or area which is being used, then focus in on that zone, and experience each stimulation, how this effects your heartrate, your body’s ability to move, etc.
- The final tip for now, is to start trying to move your body in different ways. Various planes of movement, ie, rotation, bending forward, moving backward, pulling, pushing, squatting, and even walking / jumping. By varying how you move your body ,you begin to re-train the connection between the brain and body, you stimulate various chemical reactions within the system which are beneficial to your health, longevity, and they help to reduce repetitive stress and strains on the body itself.
Happy re-learning and remember this. The word ‘luck’ is merely an acronym for Labour Under Correct Knowledge.
So, good luck!