“Your body is never out of shape. It is always in a shape created by how you have moved up to this very moment.” Katy Bowman.
This includes driving and sitting at a desk for hours.
As well, many exercise programs with a hard-core attitude ultimately cost rather than enhance health due to over-training and injury. (T. Sitt)
This was the environment Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas were facing in 1983 when they created nia and also Sue Hitzmann when she researched MELT Method to heal her own injuries.
For example, 80% of all orthopedic injuries are sports or exercise induced. (Hitzmann)
When you consider the stats on chronic pain and injury especially in the fitness world one might wonder if we need to adjust our thinking a little.
There is a real push in fitness (and in lots of areas of life) that favours the idea MAXIMUM. Both science and real life observation shows what we really want for health is OPTIMUM.
“Systems have an optimum level of performance. It’s the output that permits the elements to do their best work, to persist at it, to avoid disasters, bad decisions and burnout.
One definition of maximization is: A short-term output level of high stress, where parts degrade but short-term performance is high.
And it’s not a good way to treat systems that we rely on.” Seth Godin
One key flaw in the traditional maximum fitness model is thinking we can improve function by strengthening individual muscles.
- In reality muscle strength is not the same as structural strength of the system. Strong muscles can actually overpower good alignment.
- The brain does not send impulses to individual muscles. In reality, the brain sends and receives information about the position of joints. It’s focus is on movement, stability and patterns of movement.
At Born to Move the focus is OPTIMUM. The sophisticated and organic nature of your whole body in movement and what it needs at this time is part of this complex picture (unlike many models, your body is not like a machine.)
The goal here is to create space where you can consistently do your best work leading to increased health and vitality without injury or boredom. Sometimes BEST is more mindful.
Where does MAXIMUM fit in at Born to Move? There is a place for it in class when you want certain results such as increased cardio or a new level of strength an mobility. It is one tool. We use MAXIMUM in varying degrees not as an end in itself but to help you find your OPTIMUM.
In the classic Nia class and especially Moving to Heal maximum is rarely the focus . It is an invitation and choice to anyone who want to go there. For example, in Move to Heal you may carefully find and move the maximum range of motion of your shoulder joint. Perhaps not for the whole class for for some of the time.
In the more intense Move IT nia class the idea of MAXIMUM is built into the 55 minutes. Your focus is the sensation of conditioning; for example moving until you can not maintain movement speed (anaerobic conditioning) or fast changes to help you respond without thinking (reflexive conditioning). The goal is self-mastery. (more details on the benefits of Move IT conditioning in future posts.)
Like Nia, MELT Method is based on OPTIMUM. Both were born from the MAXIMUM ideology gone astray and out of control.
In the 1990’s, fitness in the USA grew into an 18 billion dollar industry; soon followed by an 11 billion dollar physical therapy industry. (Hitzmann)
For me, the saddest part of “go hard and work thru the pain” ideology is it has excluded so many people from confidence building, life enhancing body centered activities. It sets up a self defeating and unreachable standard.
As well, adults ages 50-79 identify chronic pain and injury as the greatest obstacle to regular exercise.
I am excited that Born to Move has two new offerings: Moving to Heal and Move IT to help you find the right balance of OPTIMUM and MAXIMUM that fits your unique needs.
How hard to you have to go to feel you have any results? How do you view exercise?
Have you tried Classic Nia, Nia Moving to Heal or Move IT class? If so, add a couple sentences to describe your experience below. If not, which one do you think suits you best?
Move or Die: How the Sedentary Life is Killing US and How Movement not Exercise Can Save Us By Tim Sitt
Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman
New Science of the Human Body by Sue Hitzmann