Movement is central to being human. We all do it. Some well, some badly but it’s one of the characteristic features of all living organisms. To stop moving is to die.
Efficient, dynamic and beautiful movement then is something we should all strive for. To do what we are designed to do, but better. With energy, with power and with joy. Our bodies are capable of great things.
But lots of us forget that. Our modern lifestyles have caused a kind of anti-evolution. As we become more intelligent and more specialized in our work we lose our physicality. The more time we spend plugged into our devices, the more our bodies decay.
We become tight. We hunch over. We lose our agility, our balance, and our speed. We lose our vigour.
So we need to do whatever we can to reverse that. We need to tune into our bodies and train them for motion. We need to put movement high on our priorities list and learn how to move better.
No matter if you’re a cameraman, a writer, a school teacher, a police woman or a musician you can benefit greatly from the conscious practice of movement. A little bit goes a long way and leads to a more dynamic, enjoyable and pain-free existence.
Develop Your Awareness
The first step in doing anything better is to first develop an awareness of how you currently do it. Let’s start with walking. How do you walk? Are your feet pointed in or out? How much? Do you take long strides or little short ones? Do you lean to one side? How is your head positioned? Do you look forwards most of the time or down at the ground? How does walking feel to you? Do you waste energy with any unnecessary movements?
The first time you do this exercise it can be a little confusing because you start to get paranoid about every aspect of how you move. But with practice and a bit of patience you can make little adjustments that make your movements more effective.
Do this exercise with each of the movements you do on a regular basis. Walking, jogging, hitting a tennis ball. Develop your awareness and use feedback from a mirror or a video to adjust your technique.
Hire A Coach
This can be quite a challenging process to go through on your own, especially when you don’t know what good movement looks or feels like, so it’s best to hire a coach to help you improve quickly. We can all benefit from the insights of a great kinesiologist, physiotherapist or personal trainer. Or, from more specialised teachers in yoga, gymnastics, and the martial arts. Find a teacher that inspires you and a discipline that you would like to learn more about.
Master The Basics
Before you can move with great expression and great freedom you should first spend a lot of time on the basics: squatting, lunging, bending, twisting, pressing, pulling, walking, jogging and sprinting. These form the foundation for most other movements and if you can do them well, you’ll not only get through your everyday life easier but you’ll pick up advanced skills quicker too.
Expand Your Movement Vocabulary
Great musicians have a large vocabulary and repertoire to pull from. They are solid with the basics but when it’s time to express themselves they have a few extra gears they can shift into. Great movers are the same. When you are confident that you have the strength and mobility for fundamental movements then you might want to learn some harder techniques: handstands, jumps, flips, and flairs are all very challenging and fun goals to shoot for.
Study Great Movers
Everytime we go online we’re inundated with images of the body beautiful. Six packs, muscular chests and broad shoulders. It’s quite inspiring but it’s purely about the aesthetics. Dudes that look great in a t-shirt but can barely walk properly.
Movement is far more inspirational in my opinion. To watch David Belle or Sebastian Foucan or Connor McGregor. Now that’s a worthy goal to shoot for. See how they move and try to make some of those movements your own. See if you can reach that level of proficiency. The physique you develop as a by-product of their type of training will also be something to be proud of.
Combining movement practice, mobility work, strength training, and endurance work will give you the greatest possible results. You’ll learn faster and you’ll cultivate all the attributes you need to become a great mover. All the best athletes in the world train in multiple disciplines and you should do the same.
Release The Restrictions
Sports, exercise and everyday life all take their toll on our bodies. We build up tight spots, scar tissue, adhesions, and trigger points that cause pain and restrict our movement. Daily movement in the form of walking, swimming, lifting and mobilizations are great but regular massage will really help to release those restrictions. Try a few different therapies and make sure to find a good practitioner who really digs in there.
As with everything, the more you practice and the more you understand movement the better you will get at it.