By Coach KB

(If you are new to the POINT Gym and Kitchen blog and want to learn what the Movement Minute Challenge is all about, check out the introductory post here.)

This Movement Minute is short and sweet and inspired by Valerie Berg, a rolfing practitioner and faculty member at the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. Included in her vast study of human movement and structure is a wealth of knowledge of the concept of “structural aging.”

How many of you have ever uttered something akin to “I just don’t move like I used to… Just a sign I’m getting older!” Most of us are usually referring to a reduced range of motion or increased stiffness or joint pain… Are these really a sign of our structural bodies aging or are they actually a sign that we have changed the way we use our bodies as we age?

Consider how you used to play when you were a kid… Likely barefoot or in socks most of the time and crawling, running, sliding, jumping, twisting, climbing, wiggling, reaching… Moving all body parts in all directions and across all planes. Now consider how we move as adults (insert sad trombone sound-effect). We sit. And we sit politely at that. And we look straight ahead (sometimes down) at our phone/computer screens, TV screens, the road in front of us, or at the sidewalk below us - we even have back-up cameras in our cars now so we don’t have to look behind us! And we cram our feet into horrible shoes that don’t fit the natural shape of our feet or design of our bodies; this goes for athletic shoes, too! All that padding takes away the foot’s ability to communicate with the rest of our body! Maybe our bodies age as we get older because we don’t use our bodies in all the ways they are intended to move!

Which brings me to this week’s MOVEMENT MINUTE CHALLENGE. Spend one minute each day this week moving and looking sideways or backwards. Bonus points if you take your shoes off and only use your peripheral vision and the feedback from your feet to move you around - don’t look at the ground! You will feel weird and you will likely move more slowly than normal but that is the point! We need to get better at these skills… Our bodies depend on movement in all directions to feel normal as they age. So play around with it. Have fun!

*This week’s Movement Minute Challenge was inspired by Episode 12 of the Liberated Body podcast.