A common question is what is the difference between Movement and Exercise?

For those of you that know me, my constant “tape recorded” message is functionality for your everyday life.
How functional are you? How functional are your movements, your daily habits, your standing and sitting positions, your transitions between activities and situations, heck, even your so- called healthy exercise routines and programs. You know, the ones you (or others) claim to make you fit and fabulous.

Perfecting my squat as I pan for gold

Perfecting my squat as I pan for gold

But… are they functional? Are the movements they are asking you to do, and the methods in which they ask you to get there, really emulating healthy movement patterns? You know, the ones that will ultimately keep you out of a wheelchair and keep you in the state of long term independent movement?

I am currently on a maternity leave (so to speak) from teaching at my studio in Hartford, WI and my free time has been well spent (pretty much 24/7) with my now six-week-old son, Ivan (the Great). Between nursing, changing diapers and nursing (and changing diapers some more), I am trying to be as active as I can with different positions to nurse him: standing, sitting, squatting, walking, lying down, et…And in between that, small bursts of yoga, and such.
But in a moment of mindless activity, I turned on the T.V. and on came Kelly and Michael and its apparently fitness January, so every day they have a “trainer” come in and they do a “workout” with them. Being intrigued I went on to watch to see what they were promoting and not to my surprise this trainer was throwing them to the wall (so to speak) with as hard as you can and as fast as you can movements, ones that both Kelly and Michael were stumbling constantly over the course of the three to five minutes they showed this segment. Saddened, but not surprised, I started to think about this concept of movement V.S. exercise and how they are different.

How so you ask?

Consider the way you are “exercising” right now. Can you continue this? Will the supposed strength and flexibility you are working so hard to cultivate continue? Will it keep you further from injury OR will it be the reason you injure yourself?
Many of us have injuries (I hate to say), because of poor daily habits. But we then exercise those poor habits to death. Because of imbalances, misalignment and poor mechanics that never get addressed, we eventually injure ourselves. We injure ourselves in the gym and even in just daily movements. Daily movements that we are suppose to be able to withstand. Movements that are petty, yet are the ones that take us down. We don’t blame our exercise because it’s supposed to be good for us, healthy and keeping us fit-but is it really?

The answer is yes and no. Your exercise is to blame but so are your daily movement patterns, the daily grind so to speak. They don’t match up and because of that our bodies don’t respond well. Sedentary lifestyle (exercising one hour a day is great and I’m not going to argue that something is better than nothing) and how we choose to move in combination with the fact that we are otherwise just not moving enough with or without exercise is the issue.

Long story short I want to leave you with a thought crumpet: (and please don’t think sitting down) instead of focusing so much on the fact that you feel you need to be exercising, shift your focus (even just for a moment, humor me) and focus on how much you simply move during the day and how healthy or unhealthy those movements are. This is what we are working to enhance and from there ask yourself is the type of exercise I am choosing to engage in mimicking, enhancing and developing those patterns or tearing them apart.

Happy moving!

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