What Is Your Movement Perspective? Part 3

Perspective 1: Physical activity is a prescribed routine to maintain and/or improve physical capacity.
Perspective 2: Physical activity is a continuous education process to help one experience improved functional movement capabilities and quality of life beyond original expectations

An individual has the opportunity to experience a “new world” of physical capability when training for “movement quality”, as compared to utilizing a prescribed routine of “exercise” for maintaining and/or improving physical capacity. This factor may sound confusing at first glance, so I will use an example to further clarify. The American College of Sports Medicine recently released “Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise”1.  This position stand’s purpose was to provide guidance to professionals who counsel individualized exercise to apparently healthy adults of all ages. Although thorough and well researched, these guidelines treat exercise (not functional movement) as a medication to be prescribed, as opposed to a process of exploration of human movement potential. As I see it, the problem we are facing as a nation in regards to physical activity is not what we are not doing (exercising enough), but why we are not able to maintain it consistently. Treating physical activity like a pill to cure health related problems, has not proven to be effective in getting individuals to comply. The above mentioned “guidelines” prescribe routines for cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor training individually, not taking into account that most activities of daily living incorporate a combination of these elements. Functional training was specifically classified under neuromotor training, neglecting the notion that one can train all elements of fitness by building skill in functional movements. This systematic breakdown of fitness categories, overcomplicates physical activity, leaving underactive individuals overwhelmed. An individual seeking out a fitness professional doesn’t need someone who can quote research protocols but instead needs someone who knows how to teach movement. Teaching a “movement practice” instead of prescribing a plan to follow can inspire individuals to view physical activity as something inherent to being alive and therefore develop a mindset that not be active is limiting one’s potential to live a high quality life. If one is taught to move well, he/she will want to move more often. This inspiration creates a continuum that carries training over to daily life, blurring the line between exercise and living.

1. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(7):1334-59.