Movement Needs to be Nurtured (Part 1):
Where Things Can Go Wrong
- Decreases discomfort/injury
- Is capable of being maintained for a longer duration
Movement Quality: How well do you move?The vast majority of people come out of their developmental stages with predictably ideal postures and basic movement repertoire. NOTE: I’m not referring to athletic abilities or complex skills here. Instead, observe a toddler sitting upright, squatting, bending and climbing. As mentioned in a previous post, these are a part of the basic movement skill set that’s genetically hardwired into our Central Nervous System (CNS).
3 factors responsible for your aches and pains:
1) Lack of Movement VariabilityBesides the typical actions associated with today’s “activities of daily living” (i.e., walking, sitting, typing, texting, driving, etc.)—how much movement variability do you demonstrate in your day-to-day life? Now compare that to a one-year-old child… The grim reality: this pattern starts early! School-aged children are less active and play less overall today than at any other time in history. As they age, little emphasis is placed on learning and maintaining an array of activities to offset the increasingly unvaried activities they participate in day in and day out. And this only gets worse as we move into our working years. I’m not saying we should all be spending most of our day on the floor, crawling, rolling, creeping and climbing. But the comparison serves as a useful contrast between the variety of movement skills it took for you to be able to properly sit and stand up straight and the amount of activity you’re currently doing to maintain those skills.
2) Decrease in Movement QualityQuality movement is essential in keeping us moving well, preventing injury and even recovering from it. But many factors of modern life contribute to a decreased quality of movement as we age:
A) Lack of emphasis on quality of movement (a.k.a. the step-counter paradox): The quality problem starts from early childhood, where most of the focus is placed simply on the completion of a skill, like running or throwing a ball. Without enough emphasis placed on development of proper technique, however, dysfunctional movement patterns are established early, sometimes with the assumption that these will correct themselves over time. Unfortunately, this is simply not true in most cases. Furthermore, adolescence brings with it a phase of natural “movement awkwardness,” as the MSK system grows at a rapid rate and the CNS—which dictates posture, neuromuscular control and coordination—lags.
In many cases, “movement awkwardness” and its effects on posture can persist into adulthood. But more often than not, the lack of movement quality in adults is largely related to busy lifestyles, where emphasis is placed on the quantity of exercise—to get people moving, however and whenever possible—at the expense of the quality of that exercise. So, while step-counters and exercise logs are valuable tools, they only tell one side of the story.
B) Injuries: When the CNS is out of sync with the MSK system—as in the period of “movement awkwardness” detailed above—there’s a greater likelihood of injury. Some injuries can cause irreparable tissue damage, which has obvious effects on our ability to move. More commonly, however, it’s the acquired dysfunctions in the CNS and the MSK system that may linger and have lasting consequences on the way we move, possibly leading to an increased likelihood of subsequent injury.
Proper injury management must therefore re-establish quality movement in order to successfully aid in the prevention of future injury.