I’m a first-time parent with a two month old baby. A heads-up, this post is coming from a biased perspective from somebody who’s in the training industry. However it’s also my attempt at pointing out the logic of why movement is important and plays a crucial role in our life, while taking an objective look at it.
The premise is this: babies are a testament to how important movement is. In utero, we (the parents and physicians, on the outside) look for movement right from the beginning. We look for a heartbeat which represents and signifies that blood is moving to the fetus, that cells a receiving the proper nutrients to develop and multiply and then build and develop organs. And then after that we even start to look for healthy physical movement of the baby, and this signifies that things are going in the direction we want (hands moving, feet kicking, spine rolling). Eventually the baby moves out of the mother, and all the sudden it is introduced to oxygen and gravity in a way that it had never experienced before. This baby that lived for nine months in water within the confines of the mother’s uterus is now exposed to the endless possibilities of ways to move. And he or she will have to adapt and survive by learning to move.
In addition to, if they stop moving, except for when they’re asleep, they become irritable. Think about it from their perspective, “if I don’t move I won’t get anywhere new, I won’t change my perspective and gain new insight on how the world functions and looks.” They aren’t thinking this, but they are feeling this was on a deep sensory and intrinsic level. As humans if we don’t experience vibrational rhythms and movements it causes stagnation in peristaltic motion of our intestines and we become constipated (this is a more subtle, yet crucial movement we may or may not even be aware of). Eating, breathing, and sucking are all examples of movement. And just when you’re tired and worn out from being with your baby all day they start to cry, what do they want? They want you to pick them up and walk them around or put them in the baby carrier or in the stroller. My point is babies are a crucial reminder and a testament to how important movement is.
Now sure you could say we get older we take on more responsibilities. We don’t have time to move. And so we become adults, but at what cost? Are we going to sacrifice the fundamental movements that helped us become who we are today in order to attain ego, status, and whatever other arbitrary interests we have and develop? A lot of times…yes. Movement gets prioritized last, and if it is prioritized, its usually out of anxiety or some other mental health issue. We go to the extreme of over-exercising or doing mindless checked out exercise (group classes, working out too fast, going through the motions without understanding the principles of each movement).
If you think intelligence is important than consider the irrefutable fact that movement matters. Doing focused and concentrated movement matters. Movement is nutritious to the body, similar to how you know to take vitamins for your health. You have to do the same thing with your body. You have to restore function of certain joints in order for the circulation to work a specific way. And so this is why bring up the fact that babies can remind us of the importance of movement. How it is happening in us constantly. Movement, whether cellular or physical and large, is a continuous event happening all of the time. We’re born out of nature and wired to move and curiously explore our environments and internal environments (our bodies). It is our duty to understand and study our landscape and topography with attention and gratitude.
However in the process of aging and taking on more responsibilities we start to forget about those ways in which we once moved, and more importantly we forget about how important it was for us to be able to move. We forget how much it helped grow us, how much we enjoyed it, and how a part of us it was. To be able to get our body from here to there in a certain way is a big deal, no matter your age. And I think on the nonconscious level we forget about how nourishing, relaxing, and strengthening movement can be in a way that it relieves stress and helps us feel more at home in our bodies and physical selves. I could tie this to emotional health and intellectual health as well because again if we think about babies, the more they move they start to develop more sensory awareness, motor control, cognitive functioning improves, and conscious control of themselves helps to develop and shape the other parts of their eternal being. The benefits of moving go deep…
And so this is why I think babies are a testament to why movement is crucial to maintain and keep doing all throughout life. To keep exploring and to stay curious about ways in which you move regularly and ways in which you don’t move at all. The question why you can do something but you can’t do something else with your body. Keep searching…ye who seeks shall find.