Restorative Exercise is Not Just Exercise

IMG_0448Those of you who follow Katy Bowman may have noticed that she’s changed the name of her business from Aligned and Well/Restorative Exercise to Nutritious Movement. So what does that mean? For those of us who have been trained and certified by her, this is a very exciting change. Though Restorative Exercise is one way to describe what I teach, it can be very confusing considering the demographic I work with the most are people who have been “exercising” for quite some time, yet are still in pain and suffering from injury or health issues. I have found that initially people hear the word “restorative” and think of a gentle yoga class, or movement that is somehow assisted with props, and not really for them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Saying I teach natural, nutritious movement gets a really interesting conversation started.

Biomechanics and Movement: Loads, Forces, and Levers, Oh My!

The training I received from Katy and the Restorative Exercise Institute (now Nutritious KBandMe1Movement™) was heavy on biomechanics. This means I learned how the systems of the human body work together to create all-over health. Everything is connected. If you have a problem with your pelvic floor, we’re going to start with how you position your feet, and most likely talk a lot about your breathing and inter-abdominal pressure. Why? Because both of these things are connected to the health of your pelvic floor. On a larger scale, and why we delineate between nutritious movement and “junk food” movement, is because what most people count on when they start an exercise program is freedom from diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes (to name a few). If we’re “physically fit” we shouldn’t suffer from these ailments, right? Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In our modern society, where we don’t have to move much, if at all, to perform the basic tasks for survival, we have developed health and wellness programs based on a belief that we only need to move in order to “maintain a healthy weight” or “stay toned” so we can sit the rest of the time. I can’t say enough that weight isn’t necessarily a sign of health (or lack thereof), and that a “toned” body can actually mean you have structural issues that will cause you problems in the long term. One of my current clients is a woman in her fifties who was an aerobics teacher for much of the 1980’s, and now suffers from chronic knee, hip, and shoulder pain, as well as incontinence and other pelvic floor issues. She may have looked fantastic in a leotard, but now she’s in constant pain and facing multiple surgeries to have her joints repaired. What we need more than prescriptions to “exercise” is an overall understanding of the forces we are under all of the time, and the loads applied to (or NOT applied to) our muscles and bones. 

I want to be mobile well into my golden years. This is why I practice and teach nutritious movement, and why it’s about so much more than achieving a number on a scale, or looking great in a bikini (though these are side effects of more movement in the long run). So, nutrition is more than just what we get from the food we eat. We need movement nutrients as well. A natural squat performed throughout the day for various functions is much better for your body than a series of squats while bearing weight. The former is a movement entree, if you will, while the latter is more of a dessert. Other examples of nutritious movement include hanging, twisting, and walking. Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) can only perform these movements in short bursts because the tension and weakness patterns in our bodies won’t allow it. Slowly, over time, we allow these movements that are such a part of who we are as kids fall away and blame it on aging. The scary truth is that the inability to do these things with ease is a sign of a much larger problem, and doesn’t have to be a normal part of aging. Something can be common, but that doesn’t make it normal, or natural.

squattingThis is what I teach. It’s so much more than exercise; it’s about all-day nutritious movement to restore mobility and health to your entire body. It’s so important that as technology continues to out-evolve our primal DNA, we stay in touch with the movement our bodies need. Do you know what kind of load needs to applied to your hip joint in order to give the bone there the signal to create more bone? I do. Osteoporosis is on the rise, and I want to do everything I can to educate people on the basics of human movement, and I strongly encourage you to educate yourselves!

But wait, there’s more…

In a future post I’ll explain the effect that movement has on our cells. Cellular health is THE most important thing for our survival. If you haven’t already, read Katy’s book Move Your DNA. It’s available for purchase, or you can find it at your local library. In chapter 2, titled Movement, Loads, and Your DNA, there is so much great information about how we are affected by movement at a cellular level. Start there and check back soon!

Kudos to you for reading this far! Have you signed up for my newsletter? It’s totally laid back, and only goes out about once a month, but you’ll never miss a post or an update.

Here’s to your  movement journey, and ultimately optimal health!

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