"Movement Is Medicine" - The Importance of Good Movement

Human beings are designed to move. It is one of the most important factors for our health and the biomechanics of our bodies. We are constantly reminded about the benefits of healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness techniques, good sleep, etc. However, very rarely is it made a priority to include more movement into our daily activities. A lot of exercises that people are undertaking do not include adequate mobility, flexibility, and stability work to improve the range of motion of key muscles and joints. Good movement is of paramount importance to prevent and rehabilitate injuries. It is also very important to help people who may have muscle imbalances or other health issues, and to help prepare them to undertake more strenuous physical activity.

Worldwide, there is an epidemic of health-related issues due to people sitting for extended periods of time. In recent years The World Health Organization claimed, “Sitting is the new Cancer,”  and made claims that include physical inactivity is “the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality” – behind high blood pressure, tobacco use, and high blood glucose, causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths per year. This is a major health issue that does not need to exist, and all fitness professionals (Personal Trainers & Exercise Physiologists), have a responsibility to educate clients on proper movement techniques and to make this a key component of any regular exercise program.

At Plant Based Life, our slogan is “Movement Is Medicine,” and we truly believe in this statement. There is a lot of documented evidence of people around the world who have cured a whole range of different health conditions by incorporating good mobility/movement techniques into their daily activities. I recently undertook the Functional Movement Systems Level 1 and 2 course and received certification. This course provides the tools to carry out an in-depth functional movement screening assessment with clients. This is an advanced screening tool that is designed to identify compensatory movement patterns that are indicative of increased injury risk and inefficient movement that can cause reduced performance. You can get more info on this screening test here; https://www.functionalmovement.com/system/home. I will be carrying out these screenings with all my clients on a regular basis and all new clients will get this screening on their first training session. If you would like to schedule a screening get in contact with us via our website.

To Benefit from Better Movement, Here are my Simple Tips;

  • Recognize that your body needs movement to be healthy. We know that when we're hungry we should eat, and when we're tired we should sleep. But when we get stiff, achy and sluggish, we generally don't recognize these signals as cues that our body craves movement. Instead, we misinterpret them as a need for rest, which makes us stiffer, achier, and even more sluggish. In our sedentary society, many adults have smothered their body's natural "move me," impulses and have forgotten that exercise is essential to health. So instead of always living "in your head," learn to take your awareness out your mind and into your body, so you can recognize the signals it sends you.
  • Join a group such as pilates, yoga or stretching class, and make sure it is at an introductory level to learn the key principles of the movement and the techniques involved.
  • If you have an injury don’t immediately assume that you should rest, although some injuries do require rest to help heal. Sometimes the best cure can be movement and strengthening of surrounding muscles and joints. Don’t consult with google to come to this conclusion. Seek the advice of an allied health professional or Exercise Physiologist / Personal Trainer first, who will prescribe the correct stretches and exercises for you, or refer you to another specialist if needed.
  • Always make the “active” decision, when you are faced with the choice of moving more or moving less, choose to move more. Take the stairs instead of the escalator, take the opportunity to walk more, and leave the car at home as often as you can.
  • Avoid sitting or standing in one position for prolonged periods. Whenever you must sit or stand in one position for an extended length of time, take regular stretch breaks and quick "walk-abouts.”
  • Remember that doing something is better than doing nothing. Many people think that if they don't have at least 30 minutes to exercise it's not worth moving. Not true! Five minutes of calisthenics, three minutes of stretching, a two-minute walk, or even 30-second of deep breathing can contribute to better health. :)
  • Most importantly when choosing what movements to do regularly, make sure you find joy in doing it, and give each exercise / stretch your full attention (be in the moment). If you have children then get out in a park and walk with them, run around, or ride a bike with them. It is great for our wellbeing to exercise outdoors as much as possible.
  • If you want help, contact us to organize a functional movement screening and full assessment so we can put a program together for your ongoing training and rehabilitation/prevention program.

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John Cawley is a certified personal trainer and fitness advisor. He founded his company, Plant Based Life, in 2015 and has gone on to become one of Sydney's top go-to professionals for plant-based lifestyle and fitness training.

John Cawley

John Cawley

John Cawley is the founder of Plant Based Life. John is a Personal Trainer that believes every weakness can be turned into a strength and is passionate about instilling this belief with all clients. John has a lot of experience in helping clients who have had injuries, and is dedicated to helping everyone keep moving and leading a healthy lifestyle, with a big focus on movement, mobility and functional training.