Movement and Vitality:
Born to Move!

by Debbie Simmer

The topic of movement and vitality carries a subtle imperative in it, which surprised me, and maybe it will you, too. While “vitality” can be viewed as a range or spectrum of one’s verve/energy/life force, Merriam Webster also provided a more stark and binary view of the word, vitality, defining it as:

“the peculiarity distinguishing the living from the nonliving

Wow! That says to me that movement is life and I want to keep moving! And, I want to share with you how we can keep improving the ways that we move, one little step at a time.

At the Movement and Vitality workshop, we will explore the difference between neurology-based training and biomechanics-based training. The former includes the influence of our brain and nervous system upon ways that we are able or unable to move. We will distinguish three distinct systems that constantly affect our actions, whether it is an autonomous movement or a deliberate effort:

  • Visual system — what we take in with our eyes
  • Vestibular system — how we know which way is upright
  • Proprioceptive system — where our body is in space and time

The brain may seem mysterious and complex, and therefore too difficult to change, but it is both doable and compelling. The starting place is clarity and giving your brain a very specific target activity. The target can be a tiny movement in single direction in a singular joint, but the effort to achieve your target will activate neurons that can take you toward your desired skill attainment. We call these target activities “drills”, and the workshop will include about a half-dozen of them, plus a means of assessing the response of your body to the drill.

Experts in the fields of exercise physiology, sports science and neurology have expanded our understanding and appreciation of human movement far beyond the old school view of muscles attached to a skeleton. The new view of human movement see us as a “whole person” system with a fascial network connecting our interior and visceral components with countless neurons that are relaying information about and to our bodies and brains, moment by moment.

These new understandings bring practical applications to a variety of movement disciplines, enabling us to achieve better flexibility, balance, strength, focus and stamina. Each tiny improvement we make brings new vitality to our body, and the sum of all of these improvements can lead to lasting, meaningful change to our ability to move and to live!

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