As strange as it might sound, moving and exercising are not equal by any means.
Now that you've reached this post, you can see that these are not the typical views or approaches that you may have come across in the past. They are not reinventing the wheel as much as they are improving on it and looking at how that wheel is supposed to interact with the rest of the vehicle, otherwise known as your body.
While many of the traditional aspects of training and recovery are still applicable, it's smart to remember that many of these tools have been around for decades, if not a century. They are at the pinnacle of refinement for their purpose, but not all of them have the best translation from exercise to movement. Just because we can do a variety of exercises it does not always mean that they make us more competent. In a narrow view they are working well, but being able to move, adapt, and maintain control while in an uncertain environment-sports or life-is where the challenge happens.
This leads to the first point that exercise and movement are not always equal. While exercise is, by definition, a planned and usually repeated physical activity it is also movement. While squats, lunges, hip thrusts and a myriad of other exercises can improve aspect of how you run, it doesn’t mechanically make you a more efficient runner. You could then spend time on the treadmill trying to perfect how those legs take you forward, but it doesn’t exactly replicate how you jog down a trail or dodge players on a field or take into account how the entire body should be moving in response.
We have always had a compartmentalised viewpoint of training and the body. This has a place if there are some discrepancies that are in need of correction or certain athletics skills that need more focus. When it comes to training movement there is a general assumption that people can do that just fine. Whether it is yoga or amateur leagues in sports or what have you, there is the thought that if you go to the gym and lift or run then you are set for large, dynamic movement in the real world. If a fitness/health professional does not know the fine details that go into the capabilities of the fascia, muscles, and skeleton to allow for smooth movement, they go back to look at the individual parts for problems, not the possible lack of association and integration that all these parts need to function.
The way we move isn’t as simple as front to back and side to side; it is all encompassing, with many parts working simultaneously and throughout the entire body to do something as simple as taking a single step. When we are in the gym, exercises are usually stationary or in a fixed position. This lets us work in two dimensional movement (vertical and horizontal) and with a stable base of support (feet/ legs don’t usually move). These exercises have their place, but not too often do we find ourselves in such a stable position in life. From walking to running, throwing, or jumping, most movement will find us performing a single leg balancing act. If we don’t test the body in bigger scenarios that challenge us to adapt and still perform well in a changing environment, then a crucial part is missing from what is trying to be accomplished.
If anything is to be taken away from this article, it is that exercise should help better your movement and make you handle a variety of challenges with ease. Doing all kinds of exercises can be purposeless. Choosing the right exercises, and performing them optimally, efficiently, and with intent is where we start. With these tools we begin to challenge ourselves in new ways to be able to master them, and understand how to use them in an ever-changing setting.