I BELIEVE IF YOU HAVE A BODY, YOU WERE BORN TO MOVE!
I believe in the power of movement and its ability to unleash human potential that goes far beyond the physical. I believe movement is truly a part of our DNA, and I believe we are designed to move in a very specific and unique way. I also believe that proper movement is a process that doesn't require perfection- simply the desire for change.
What do you believe?
I have been immersed in the world of sport at every level and every age. Recently I became very interested in the patterns and commonalities that are present within the best athletes and experts in their specific niche. One unabating factor that is a constant in every great athlete and coach are remarkable environments. The greatest athletes all have created, or have been lucky enough to develop and thrive in exceptional environments. These environments allow for high levels of skill development and exceptional resiliency. Dr. Benjamin Bloom, who conducted the first study to understand world-class talent, summarizes his observations as… “we were looking for exceptional kids but what we found were exceptional conditions and environments.”
No, I am not a talent only guy, but our genes don’t determine our complex movement traits alone. Rather, our genes with our environments interact with one another in a very dynamic process. Human development is a multi-factorial process that is not dominated by just innate talent. It is a symphony of events that ultimately produce a human experience that is variable and adaptable in nature, regardless of talent. Variable and adaptable…interesting! How many young children and athletes do you know that express highly variable and adaptable movement in today’s culture and environment?
The word “environment” is defined as the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. The organisms (our children) are what inhabits a certain environment. Biology in all its wonders, allows for adaptation to occur in the environment that the children/athletes are placed, whether the environment is good or bad. Let me simplify this for you. Our children have two basic options when placed into an environment (school and/or athletic program) during their formative years. First, our children will either cease to exist or survive. Since our children will not cease to exist, the second option is to physically and cognitively adapt to the environment with which the child inhabits. The plasticity of a child's brain-body during birth to preadolescence is extremely moldable, and if given the right environment can thrive. The physical and cognitive adaptations that our children experience during those developmental years is no more than just basic biological cognitive and motor learning principles, it is that simple. What is a little more complicated is creating the right environment to allow our children and athletes to organically thrive to their potential.
Our current environment of high technology, increased distractions, limited labor, absence of free play and sedentary lifestyles have almost entirely reduced our children’s ability to organically develop. The human system from joint, bone, muscle, nerve, fascia, and down to our DNA is beautifully designed to move with efficiency and resiliency, but only if we give it the environment to do so. The process does not occur over night, it is like a slow drip in a bucket that eventually will be overflowing with complexity of movement. To accomplish this, one requires a process and environment conducive to movement mastery throughout a life span. Have we lost the bigger picture? Have we created environments (schools, youth sports programs, training centers) that are not conducive to optimal cognitive and motor development for our children? I believe so!
The cognitive benefits of movement are irrefutable, but we still continue to limit physical activity in primary schools to two days a week at best, and fill our children’s time with highly structured learning that is absent of quality movement and creativity. If movement is life, which I truly believe, then we are denying our children life!
I leave you with one question to answer yourself. What environment have you created for yourself, your children, and the future of your children's children?
Join together with me to reinvent a new system, and let's give all children the environment to Move2Thrive!
Enjoy The Process,
Doctor of Physical Therapy