We have a movement problem. People can’t do the basics anymore. But what are the basics?
Are they squat, deadlift, bench, and chins? Those are definitely exercise basics, or “Gym Movements.” But what about movement basics?
In our BioMechanics 1 course, we enumerate “Life Movements.” These include things like lying, sitting, standing, and walking. Pretty basic, right? And it extends to things like running, jumping, climbing, carrying, throwing, and catching.
Not only are those life movements basic, they’re primitive. They’re natural. And they’re companies that are capitalizing on “natural movement”…but is that what we should be focused on?
Were we low technology so long that things like throwing a spear, shooting an arrow, and climbing a tree are now necessary for movement health? Doubtful. Yet there are fitness companies that are touting this very thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we evolved on/for flat, predictable surfaces, stairs, air conditioning, etc. Nor do I think we should eschew technology. The degree of our development of technology may be our defining feature as a species.
I think it’s fair to say that what we create is just as natural, just as big a part of our nature…as the nature that created us. But what does that mean for our movement that evolved long ago? The answer lies within a technology far older than spear, swords, and arrows.
Do we need to return to nature? Do we need to return to natural movement? Yes.
In fact, we need to return farther than technology that we created. We need to turn to the technology that crafted us. We need to return to our own nature, our own biology.
Like the best robots of today, our movements are connected to sensors, to senses. Our actions affect our sensations. Our sensations affect our actions. This nature, more so than any geographical nature, is what we need to tune in to.
Just as the simplest of organisms moved away from danger and towards resources, the most complex of organisms do, as well. It’s in their nature. But their complexity makes these behaviors far more effective.
This towards and away become encoded in deeper and deeper levels. While towards and away works for simple organisms in the external environment, towards and away works for more complex organisms on an internal level. You’ve experienced this.
When you’ve had a paper cut and tried to use that injured digit, you feel the pain, and move away from the movement and pressure that makes that pain worse. You’ve also experienced the inverse. You felt like going for a walk and it felt so good you not only walked, you ran. You moved towards what felt good. This towards and away with movement is as “natural” as it gets.
Natural movement isn’t as simple as moving in pre-civilization conditions. Running, jumping, and climbing on dirts, rocks, and sand are a part of our historical nature. Just because those things are natural doesn’t mean they are necessarily good for us right now.
To find out what is good for us requires us to tune in to an even older part of nature. We share this “towards and away” nature with many creatures, even the non-sentient. The problem is that we’ve lost sentience of our nature…which has allowed us to go against it.
We go against our nature when we become inattentive towards how our body is affected by movement. We end up going towards the movement our body is trying to keep us away from. We ignore those signals of pain, slowness, tightness, and weakness. We stay away from those movements our body is telling us to go towards.
If we want to move naturally, we have to go towards the movements that feel good to our body and allow the body to move more. And we have to move away from movements that don’t feel good and don’t allow us to move more. That’s what natural movement really is.
And sometimes moving in geographical nature will help us to move more. But other times, it won’t. You may need to move on concrete, on stairs, or in the gym. Performing movement that helps you to feel better is the most important aspect of “natural movement”…no matter where you do it.