Why the Quality and Quantity of Your Movement Matters
By Madeline Stewart
We chose the word Movement for the second Element of DHC for a very specific reason: because movement is the integration of all the physical activity in your life, which ideally is diverse, frequent, and fun! However, when most people hear the word movement, they equate it with the word fitness or working out. However, movement is about developing a body that moves well, that is capable, that is balanced and free of pain. It is not about fitting into a certain size, how many pull ups you can do, or the definition in your abs. Movement is about improving and maintaining your health. It is about your confidence, your capability, and physical health sustainability.
In our current society, we have made it very easy to avoid almost all movement. We have lost health and function in the name of modern convenience. It has become routine for many of us to sit down for breakfast, sit in our car on the way to work, sit at work, order our groceries or dinner delivered to our front door, sit down for dinner and then sit down to relax and watch TV or a movie before we lie down and go to bed. If you can fit a 20-30 minute workout in there that is great, but it also isn’t the cure-all for combating 23 ½ hours of sedentary behavior. The quality and quantity of our daily movement is what matters most.
Let’s talk quality! Movement quality is the balance of the position, tension and relaxation, strength and mobility, timing and sequence we use when completing any physical movement. Optimal quality is that which supports our structure as a whole in a balanced and sustainable way. Many of our modern conveniences, such as the shape of our car seats, height of our computer screens, and smartphones promote unhealthy movement quality. However, the good news is, our bodies are very adaptable, and healthy movement quality is something that can be learned, practiced, and eventually become the new way of being. One of the great ways to practice this is through intentional movements, such as working out. However, it is essential that we learn and practice proper form within every exercise (more about this in a later post) and then transfer that learning into everyday life movements. I cannot tell you the number of times I have watched an athlete perform a beautiful deadlift or squat, and then hunch over and pitch their knees forward to put away their weights. Our fitness routines and workouts should not end when the rep does, but transfer awareness and quality into our everyday life movements.
This brings me to quantity. Unless we are professional athletes, we don't have the luxury of spending all day perfecting our movements in the gym. However, that does not mean that we don't have all day to practice movement in our everyday life. Take what you learn in the gym or one of our Training Maps, and transfer those skills into your daily movement. Use your squat form when sitting down and standing at work, use your deadlift form when lifting your child, your farmer carry for your grocery bags, practice ground movement when reading or folding laundry on the floor, your balancing skills by walking on the curb instead of the sidewalk. … The opportunities for movement in your day are limitless! The primary goal is to make your movement frequent, diverse and fun!
In the end, what matters is that you move frequently and with intention. If you don’t have a current fitness routine, that is ok; start by incorporating conscious squatting, load lifting, carrying, and floor movement into your life. If this seems totally out of reach, set up an appointment with someone who specializes in movement (like me at Posana Therapeutics) or purchase our At Home Training Map, or follow along with us on Instagram for ideas. Above all else, move! Move in a way that makes you happy, move in many different ways, and do it as often as possible. Frequent, Diverse, Fun!