August 1, 2017

Natural Movement

We were born to move. It seems pretty simple, right? The statement should read – “We were born to move naturally”. Okay, so what does that mean? Joseph Pilates refers to natural movement in his book Your Health, as “Whether or not we are conscious of it, it is nevertheless a fact, that in the course of our daily activities, if we live a normal life, we receive the benefit of natural exercise – those performed in every movement we make. These very necessary functional activities, experienced by one living a normal life, preclude all necessity for undertaking artificial exercise of any kind.” He goes on to further say; “Both animals and men move their bodies in every and all possible directions – freedom of bodily action is paramount.”   The Franklin Method®, uses dynamic imagery to embody your natural way of moving to improve health. So, is natural movement the same as exercise?

We are designed to walk, squat, and reach above head, behind and in front of our bodies, grasp items with our hands, look up, down and to the side. We are also programmed to breathe, and breathe deeply. We eat food, digest and process it, and eliminate waste. Our subconscious brain is always processing, and our conscious mind is occupied with thought, feelings, and emotions.   Our body is in constant movement in order for it to perform all these functions. While our musculoskeletal system is at rest, our organs and mind are moving!

Let’s talk briefly about exercise. Exercise is usually defined as a specific activity requiring physical activity. Usually a particular exercise uses the same movement pattern repeatedly. This by definition would not be natural movement. Natural movement is moving our body in a way that takes it through all the motions that our body is capable of; both inside and out. Without going too far in depth, it is moving our body through all planes, with weight (or load) distributed at different points, all the while moving our body how it is designed to move.

In summary, exercise is not the same as natural movement. Most exercise is not designed to take our human body through all possible directions with proper load. The form the exercise is designed in takes precedence over natural movement. With the guidance of a certified movement educator, you can learn to apply natural movement to your exercise with Pilates and the techniques used in the Franklin Method.