By Brenda Stickley 23 May 2017
As a movement coach, people sometimes say to me “do you think I’ll ever be able to get moving again”. The answer only takes fifteen words. Here’s the first three:
You have choices
I don’t teach exercise routines, I give lessons. The lessons are not recipes for “correct” movement. They do not tell you how to breathe or walk, how to sit or stand. The lessons are designed to help you learn to pay attention to yourself – to listen to your body’s messages – to feel in yourself what is safe, efficient and comfortable movement. You learn that there are many ways you can move your body. This is knowledge that you carry with you, wherever you go, and into whatever you need to be doing.
You can consciously choose how to move. You can be in control instead of being controlled by limiting habits that you probably aren’t even aware of – and are the reason you fall, have accidents, and hurt yourself.
Learn how you move – then start choosing.
The next four words are:
Listen to your body
Aches and pains are not normal however old you are – or feel. They are your body’s way of communicating with you, trying to get your attention. They’re asking you to change something. Too many people put up with aches and pains because they think they are normal. They’re not.
The body also tells us the things we are doing well and are good for us. We need to learn to listen to those messages too.
Next time you find yourself saying “I’m just getting old”, stop yourself, and listen, instead.
And the last eight?
Understand how the body is designed to move
The design of our skeleton is an amazing piece of engineering allowing us to move in endless ways in gravity. The job of the skeleton is to carry our weight. The job of the muscles is to move our skeleton. The job of our brain is to coordinate the muscles to carry out the action we want to be doing.
If you want to improve how you move, then you must change the way the brain organises your movement. Understanding how the brain learns, and understanding how the body is designed to function is key to easy, comfortable and efficient movement.
These 15 words are transformative and I love observing the transformation that takes place in my clients over time. The accumulative effects of one class after another, week after week, year after year, shows. People get younger as they age. They look younger, they feel younger, and they move younger. They handle the ups and downs of life better. They discover that they can do things they never thought they could.
74-year-old Jan has been coming along to classes for a few years now. She sent me this email recently.
“I had to get up on the roof today: gutters overflowing in a sudden squall, therefore a blockage up there. I was interested to note that despite the obvious risks, I didn’t pay much attention to the height, wind and drizzle, or slip, lose focus or balance. I could consciously shift my weight using centre of gravity, which was helpful. The job got done, more or less, with nothing worse than a tension headache to show for it.”
I was delighted for Jan that she could listen to herself in a way that gave her the confidence to perform an activity safely that most 74 year olds would probably never consider doing. Good for you Jan.