I want to clarify and define a few things before we go any further in our conversations on movement. What I spend the majority of my day doing is using exercise therapeutically to heal, or functionally to improve performance. I achieve the healing and improved performance with the application of corrective exercise; exercise to improve, or correct, structural conditions and neuromuscular patterns, for the sake of enhanced bodily movement. In a therapeutic setting, I mostly apply corrective exercise to mitigate the accumulated effects of a Westernized lifestyle on people’s bodies. Except for acute injuries, most of our discomfort and deterioration comes from chronic lifestyle habits. Sitting, shoes and flat surfaces are the new smoking. Our day to day movement patterns and practices are not what the body needs to function optimally. Instead, the effects of their convenient and comfortable nature have become the enemy of our physical potential.
Most people are familiar with the use of exercise to improve their performance in sport, functional training, aesthetics or weight-loss. Not many people are aware of the potential of exercise to serve the body’s own movement needs. Exercise can reshape the body’s structural components, and also rewire the nervous system, the composer of the symphony of muscular contractions that form our movement. These movement systems are capable of adaptation and compensation in times of need, with the potential to create normal-seeming movements from abnormal (or non-optimal) foundational motor patterns. A problem with living the modern lifestyle, due to the changes in our physical environment, is that we develop non-ideal, often detrimental motor patterns and movements. It is the primary goal of corrective exercise to fix these changes; then, it aims to optimize performance, so that one day, we can play freely again.
Since very few of us escape this phenomenon, we must all take advantage of these aspects of exercise. Unfortunately, on top of faulty movement patterns, we tend only to apply more work, intensity, load, fatigue etc. It should be self-evident that this will only exaggerate the stress already being caused by our faulty movement.
This conversation is my call to you to prioritize the quality of your movement, over the intensity, load, or reps. To have the humility to accept where you currently are in your movement journey, and to have the patience to work intelligently. Cheers to us doing things correctly!