When older adults think of “exercise”, their mind usually focuses on walking on the treadmill, lifting weights, or using exercise “machines” like those found in a typical gym. Some older adults are runners. It’s important for the beginning exerciser to think partially in those terms for a while to strengthen the infrastructure and prepare the joints.
On the other hand, Natural Full Body Movement exercises are a completely different thing. One of the main differences in the concepts of plain exercise and full body movement, is that of muscle isolation exercises vs. full body holistic movement — how moving one part of the body affects the other parts — or how exercising one muscle affects other muscles, and how they need to be worked together to be the most effective.
There seems to be a trend right now to move toward natural movement as exercise. It will probably never replace basic gym moves or running as the dominant form of exercise, but it can be far more beneficial.
One of the major differences in the natural full body movements and normal exercise routines is the use of the floor. Most of the Natural Movement programs get a lot of use from the floor. Most standard exercise programs seem to avoid the floor except for crunches or sit-ups. While some programs like Pilates (Mat Work) and Yoga are dominated by the floor, standard gym exercises seem to avoid it.
Becoming friends with the floor is important for older adults. Most older adults have an aversion to using the floor — even touching the floor. Yet being able to get up and down from the floor should be a major concern for older adults. Most of the reason older adults fear the floor is that they feel that once they get down, they can’t get back up, and that any movements involving getting up and down from the floor will be too difficult. They feel they are too weak and their legs will give out on them. If that’s the case, then they had better start learning how. Developing leg, hip and core strength and flexibility is key.
In the next several weeks, I will focus the importance of leg, hip and overall body strength and demonstrate that it can be developed with some simple full body movements and a little bit of time. I will also stress the importance of compound movement as opposed to the isolation exercises we commonly think of.
Exercise should be a full body thing, and compound movement and combination exercises should be stressed as a powerful way to exercise for strength, flexibility and joint mobility. Stay with me and learn a few new things about full body movement. You’ll find it useful.
Thank you for reading.