You Are How You Move

You Are How You Move

When I see people who appear to be ageing well, I’m fascinated to work out what it is about them that makes them seem younger than they are.  Is it their attitudes? Their appearance?  The way they dress or behave?  Some of them yes, and some of them no.  The common factor amongst all of them is definitely… how they move.

Agility, mobility, flexibility, stability and strength.  Many people lose some or all of these things as they age.  Sometimes it’s due to injury or disease and sometimes it’s because they just stop using their bodies in a way that maintains or enhances its ability to move well.

The body has vast intelligence.  There is no denying this.  One of the most curious things about the body’s intelligence is that it seems to be into supporting us to do what ever it is that we tend to do more of.  For instance when we don’t move, when we don’t pick up heavy things, or run or stand on one foot, we lose the ability to do these things.  Our bodies get stiff, our muscles weaken and the neural pathways fade.

The opposite is equally true.  Start moving in ways that are challenging and your body very quickly starts to support you to do more of that too.  I’ve seen it time and time again.  I often see beginner chi kung students struggle to stand on one foot and then within weeks, their balance improves.  I’ve experienced it myself, going from feeling soft, pudgy and finding complex movement difficult to (with a bit of coaching) being amazed at what’s possible.

The really exciting thing about all of this is that you can start to reverse the down hill slide to moving like an old person.  It is not an inevitable descent.  If you’re active already, keep doing what you’re doing, do more of it, keep exploring and learning and it’s possible that you won’t even get on that slide.

I’m convinced that the plan to continue to move well needs to include the following

  • Balancing challenging, active movements with restorative gentle movements
  • Listening to your body, get to know what makes it happy
  • Learning to move intelligently with stability and awareness
  • Continuing to challenge your brain and your body by investigating new ways of moving
  • Never letting fear stop you from exploring what you are capable of
  • Seeing movement as a form of preventative medicine
  • Finding movement based activities that you love engaging with
  • Getting support to move better from a movement coach
  • Moving with others
  • Getting outside and moving in the fresh air and finding things to balance on, jump off, climb and leap over
  • Incorporating movement into your day, findingopportunities to move throughout your day, everyday

I’m also certain that moving well and feeling strong impacts on mental health, our attitudes and how we move through our lives emotionally.

A wise teacher of mine once wrote a book entitled “You Are How You Move”.  Which I think pretty much sums it all up.  It needs to be made crystal clear though, that how you move currently does not mean that’s how you’ll move forever.  It is totally up to each of us to take on the responsibility to prioritise doing whatever it takes to maintain, enhance or restore the movements that will keep us feeling healthy, young and happy.

Comments are closed.