When I first started this personal training gig 15 years ago everything I was taught and that I taught was all about form. When the term “functional fitness” was used it referred to doing things like rolling out on a ball instead of using a bench to do a bench press. Or standing on one foot to do a shoulder press or bicep curl. The idea was many more muscles were recruited to get the task done compared to being stable (using a bench or standing on two feet or other exercise machines). The result was improved balance and stability. That was great, and that was then. Now agility has been added to the equation and it’s all about movement.
The human body is made up of 650+ muscles, 206 bones and 360 joints. Physical health is about using all of those parts in various combinations as much as possible. The fitness industry is finally catching up with common sense. There are many more fitness classes that are teaching movement as a form of exercise. It is rather ironic that we’ve become so disconnected from our body that we need to be taught how to use it.
The beauty is that there is no one right way to move. There is definitely a wrong way. I would define that as any movement that results in an injury. It is that simple. No one knows your body better than you do. You’re the one who has been living it all of these years.
I know from experience about not wanting to do a movement for fear of hurting myself. I have since learned that if I start slowly and I’m consistent at doing the movement regularly I can improve a range of motion that has been restricted for years. Right now, I am working on kneeling so that I’m sitting on my heels. I’ve been at this for a month. I’m not quite there yet, and it is anything but comfortable. Every morning I work at it for a minute. I’m starting to see and feel the difference. As I do this I don’t think about my form or if I’m doing it the right way. I do think about where I am tight and how much more I can tolerate. There’s no counting or adding resistance. It’s just doing. Period.
All my years of cycling (and sitting) have left me with tightness in my hips and quadriceps. This has caused periodic pain in my knees and lower back. Kneeling is helping to keep the pain away.
I am always trying to find ways to move differently. Walking sideways or backwards. Using the bear walk to get across the room. Trying to get up from sitting on the floor without using my hands. Trying to get down to the floor without using my hands and without bruising my butt. That’s a tricky one.
There are tons of opportunities in our day to increase movement. Increased movement means increased mobility. A mobile body is a happy body. That just makes sense.
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