A Brief Movement History by Seb

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We all know that exercising and movement is beneficial for our bodies and minds. It provides a psychological and physical benefit, which in today’s fast-paced lives is of huge benefit to our sense of wellbeing. 

Throughout the centuries, the rationale and philosophy of movement and exercise have changed dramatically. We went from the Palaeolithic era between 2.6 million and 100,000 years ago – where the movement was utilised very much as a method of survival – to the ancient farming and agricultural times which took hold around 10,000 ago. At this point in movement evolution, actions were still very manual but significantly far more repetitive than for our primal ancestors. As advances in technology improved and machines were used more, there were obvious advantages in terms of profitability, mass production of supplies and time efficiency – but at what cost to our health? We now had mechanisms which we could rely on to keep the world around us functioning, without having to rely on good old-fashioned manual handling skills.  Consequently, human movement efficiency plummeted and the health status of workers systematically declined in line with continued technological advances. All of this is hugely relevant information when it comes around to the question of exercise choice and its role in building resilience for our bodies biological systems.

The fitness and health industry is a multi-million pound one, constantly advertising to us and promoting fancy equipment, all with health claims to be ‘the one’.

What’s important when choosing whether to pursue a regime of physical activity is that it engages you. This must be of utmost importance. The term ‘challenge’ is highly subjective and its meaning has and can mean many different things to a multitude of individuals. One person’s walk in the park may mean another’s marathon. Everyone’s preference for physical activity is going to be different and that’s a good thing.

What’s important for the fitness industry’s reputation going forward is that people don’t feel pressurised into certain activities. Engagement once again is the key term here. As healthcare professionals, we have an obligation to inform, encourage and enlighten when it comes to movement and pain management. Problems begin to arise when trainers, coaches and ‘specialists’ preach and insist that there is one way only as a path to follow. To ensure sustainability of health and a long-lasting sense of well-being, the professional should guide and allow the patients and clients to feel comfortable pursuing and engaging in physical activity safely and with an enhanced understanding of their limits and capability and why it is important for them.

·       TRX

·       Kettlebells

·       Medicine balls

·       ViPR

·       Swiss Balls

·       Resistance bands

The above demonstrate just a small example of the wide range of fitness toys, which are now commonly used in the gym and healthcare setting. The concept and introduction of these fitness tools can be traced all the way back to where we started this blog article, talking about movement in the Palaeolithic era. Movements from this period were hugely varied with spontaneous bursts of speed, demonstrating joint mobility and ravaging displays of strength. These fitness tools provide other avenues for coaches and clients to be creative through their movement education. An important point to mention here though is that any movement program that is being introduced must have a method and concept to allow appropriate progressions and regressions based on capability and efficiency.

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This flow chart shows 7 elements which are key for the attainment of the vital body. By addressing these factors in equal measure, you are providing the body with the best chance of staying not just injury free but flourishing in the exciting, fast-paced and engaging world we live in today.  

In short….. Get moving!

 Seb Hicks

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