Movement Is Essential

Written on 02/13/2020
Jamie Gilliam


We have a brain for one reason and one reason only — and that’s to produce adaptable and complex movements.
— Daniel Wolpert

Your Health Depends On Movement

The body contributes far more to our lives than just physical attributes such as strength and endurance - it plays a major role in emotions, learning and relationships. The body is intimately involved in all our thought processes, understanding, emotions and decision making. The mind and body are inseparable, from our endocrine system to the "brain in our gut" - the body is your brain! 

Most need a more "anti-fragile" experience, but too often we have extremes of inactivity and lack of exertion or inappropriate intensity that sends the stressed organism over the edge. "The dose makes the poison" and it is really just about finding that sweet spot. There is exercise, and there is movement. This is not about smashing out reps and killing yourself as an enabler to continue being in denial of a delusional lifestyle. Completing a "work-out" to achieve an external goal at the expense of not enjoying the process is short-sighted and not sustainable.

All learning, no matter how abstract, is physical. “Early movement experiences are beneficial to optimal brain development.” (Gabbard, 1998, p. 1). Stop a child from moving in early childhood and see what happens to their learning capability... oh, wait?! 

We Have Stopped Moving

“In less than two generations, physical activity has dropped by 20% in the U.K. and 32% in the U.S. In China, the drop is 45% in less than one generation. Vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us. What we do in our leisure time doesn’t come close to making up for what we’ve lost” - designedtomove.org

Being sedentary has become "normal". A modern human has the luxury to ask why run? Why jump? Why climb? When everything is accessible, when you are not forced to move to catch your prey or avoid being prey. Most people have a disconnect between their mind and body. We work in jobs that don't require our bodies, simply sitting at desks clicking mouse buttons and tapping on keyboards. The narrative and relationship between our bodies and our movement is forgotten, not heard, ignored. We only notice our bodies when "something goes wrong" with it. We have, in effect, betrayed our bodies, ignoring and dishonouring them by using them purely as “locomotive devices" to transport the head.

What Is Movement?

"Exercise is Optional, Movement is Essential". What is the difference? Exercise is a modern invention, an obligation or chore designed to give us a way out, a get out of jail free card that lets us believe three weekly trips to the gym lets us off the hook with our bodies. It is pain, rather than pleasure driven. It is generally focused on specificity and lacking in real skill development. Most exercise regimes use machines and isolated exercises that make us experts in movements that are not practical and are limited, to put it politely.

The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. You don’t move? The body will make you better at NOT moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.
— Ido Portal

Movement is something entirely different. Movement is ancient. Movement was here first. Hunting and gathering, dancing round the fire, walking, climbing, running, jumping, crawling, lifting, swimming, fighting...even sex! These are all movements the human body is designed for. A lot of public health research now points towards needing more movement in our lives, as opposed to exercise to remain healthy. For example, no amount of exercise will undo the pathology that is sitting and remaining sedentary. And conversely, you could go your whole life without ever doing exercise but instead move as part of your everyday life and remain healthy. 

A big impact on the history of the current "fitness" paradigm and thus exercise is the visual impact and imagery of the rise of bodybuilding a few decades ago. What Bodybuilders do for their sport, takes amazing dedication but unfortunately the effect on the fitness culture as a whole was that of isolation purely for cosmetic motivation.

Thankfully there seems to be a shift in paradigms. More and more people are realising that we need more than exercise for aesthetic reasons alone, we even need more than so called "functional training". We need movement.

If you train, then "train movement, not muscles". Find out what movement means to you. For most moving is being in the present, enjoying the moment. Enjoying what you are doing. You are not exercising, you are moving. Movement for movement's sake.

To wild animals, movement is not a chore, not a temporary punishment for being physically lazy and out of shape, not an optional activity just for better looks. 
— Erwan Le Corre
This article is from BenMedder.com.