Updated: Sep 7, 2022
Movement is Medicine. However, only if performed correctly. Just because you are moving, does NOT mean you are becoming healthier. Just because you're moving does not mean its medicine. In fact movement performed incorrectly is harmful. I don't say this to fear monger, i say this to stress the importance of moving intentionally and mindfully.
Most people don't understand pain and why it presents itself. Pain is one of the languages of the body. Pain communicates to us when we lack the foundation to perform what we are asking of ourselves. Pain also communicates to us when we are moving in a manner that adds stress to an area of the body. We have to remember our body is always looking for the path of least resistance. Always looking for the easiest way, the movement pattern that avoids the most discomfort. This is helpful in the short-term but reeks havoc if left unaddressed long term. Many of us move like this and may not feel pain currently, but if this movement pattern is left unaddressed it often leads to increase stress on other areas of the body (often unrelated to the initial injury). This is what often leads to arthritis, which is the HEALING response of the body, as a result of excess stress on a specific joint.
Most of us are operating in some sort of unconscious movement pattern. We carry this unconscious movement pattern to the gym and our training sessions. We are then reinforcing these poor, unconscious movement patterns with load (weight). This is NOT medicine. This is the opposite of it.
Now if you become conscious of your unconscious movement patterns and limitations, you can start to move intentionally and consciously throughout your training sessions and use movement as medicine.
The only things that separate the two are intention and mindfulness. Is your training program in place to help you correct your poor movement patterns, improve on your limitations or only feed your strengths, inflate your ego and reinforce unconscious movement patterns? This is the difference between movement as medicine and movement as dysfunction.
There's also a big different between working out and working in. Most are unfamiliar with the term working in. Working out is catabolic. It expends energy and breaks down tissue in order to build further size and strength to build tolerance to an increased load. Working out is sympathetic dominant and keeps the nervous system in the fight or flight response. Working in is anabolic. It cultivates energy and builds tissue. Working in is parasympathetic dominant and keeps the nervous system in the rest, digest and repair response. This is just another way that movement is medicine if performed with a conscious intention. If you move and remain connected to your breath you are cultivating life force energy and aiding in the repair of your body. We must balance the two styles of training to remain in balance and health. This is how many of us miss the opportunity of using movement as medicine. We workout too much and work in too little. This leaves us in a sympathetic (fight or flight) response which is very taxing on our body.
Click Link for an example of a working IN exercise to cultivate vital life force energy.
If you are unsure if you're feeding an unconscious movement pattern or feel fearful of exercise because you don't want to hurt yourself, I invite you to sign up for a movement assessment and learn about your dysfunctions and how to use movement as your medicine.
This is how you move away from your pain. By correcting your movement patterns which were the root cause of your pain in the first place.
We must stop looking outside of ourselves for relief. We too often look for something else, be it medication or supplementation to help us avoid pain and discomfort. However, in doing so we miss the mark. It's the unconscious movement patterns and lack of proper preparation for YOUR lifestyle that causes pain. Lets get right to the root cause of the problem and address the dysfunctional movement patterns and perform the necessary training to thrive in YOUR environment.
Train intentionally, not habitually.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are not to be considered as medical advice, only opinions through one's own lived experiences.