Three Ways To Easily and Instantly Improve Your Movement Habits

July 8, 2016

My mentor Gray Cook says, ‘It took a habit to make that pattern, it’s going to take a habit to break that pattern.’

Meaning you can’t change movement patterns overnight. But, you can make small improvements instantly by adding variation, variability, and variety to your day. At first glance these terms appear to be the same but they are not. What do they mean?

My friend Joanne Elphinston talks about the Three V’s:

  • Variation means using a single exercise, but changing elements of it to stimulate greater diversity and neuromuscular responses.
  • Variability involves unpredictability, rapid change an automatic reactions, in order to develop robustness.
  • Variety means using a number of different exercises or positions to address a specific goal, in order to increase the transference of learning.

Change can be difficult because it often seems so insurmountable. We become frozen with inaction. What’s the secret? Chunking. This a term in neuroscience that references how your brain learns. It’s takes big things and chunks them down into more manageable smaller patterns. It’s optimal for learning.

For example: 9724761289

This series of numbers is hard to remember.

So your brain does this. 972-476-1289

See the difference? The brain is hardwired to chunk. So let’s go with how the brain learns and do small movement chunks each day to learn new habits. Nothing happens until something moves. So let’s get moving. Where to begin? As they say, every journey begins with a single step. Pun intended. Here we go…

Take your shoes off

What’s the first thing to happen when you take off your shoes? No, it’s not smell. You start paying attention!! Your foot listens to the ground and it talks directly to your brain. If you’re dumb in your feet, you are dumb all the way up. Sensory dumbness. Meaning you can’t sense and feel the environment. Movement depends on sensory input. Take away or lessen that input and you kill reactive response time. That’s when injuries can occur. When you have shoes on (foot coffins) you fall back into movement habits. Walking without paying attention to each step. Shoes off changes how you move instantly. Always. The most ideal shoe for any human is bare feet. Barefoot are the Three V’s in action.

Movement Mojo Chunk
Today take off your shoes AND socks. Stand, walk, move with bare feet. Start slow and work our way up in time. I would rather you do five 1-minute blocks than one block of 5 minutes. Same time invested but different outcomes.

Watch tv, read, talk, work on the ground

The point is to get on the ground and do any or all of these for awhile. It’s easy to sit in a chair and watch tv. It’s habit. It’s convenient. More convenience always means less motion. So make it inconvenient. Go to the floor and do more stuff down there. The more time you spend on the ground the less likely it is you will end up under it! That’s deadness. We don’t like that.:)

When you go to the ground, you will not stay in the same position for long. You will find yourself fidgeting. That’s good. Three V’s in action. Sure it may feel weird or look crazy at first, but that’s the beauty. Be different. Be an outlier. I guarantee if you ask someone to sit on the ground and talk (they will look at you like you are crazy. Perfect. Already a WIN) you and they will be smiling before you know it and probably have the most enlightened conversation ever. Why? Your brain is getting neural nitro input. You fire up different movement maps in the noggin. You will think better!

Movement Mojo Chunk
Today sit on the ground for 10 minutes while you do something you normally do in a chair. Have fun. And enjoy your smile. 🙂

Sleep on the opposite side of the bed

Yes, you actually move when you sleep. Or you are supposed to. If you make yourself too comfortable you don’t move. The body hates stagnation. Imagine staying in one position for 4-5 hours during the waking hours. How good do you think that will feel? Yuck. Your body conforms to the environment you put it in the most often. Think about how much of your life is spent in bed? Small is big in the movement game. I guarantee when you sleep on the opposite side of the bed it will ‘feel weird.’ It doesn’t feel neutral. Exactly!! That’s the point. You will actually change habits of movement during the night. You may wake up and not feel as rested. But that’s actually a good thing. Your nervous system got über brain candy simulation during the night.

Movement Mojo Chunk
Tonight switch sides of the bed and keep doing it until feels natural. Then switch back. The hardest part of this assignment is convincing your sleeping partner to give up their side of the bed. lol They may take some convincing. Not everyone likes change. And get ready because after the first night they will probably say, ‘I didn’t like that I want my side of the bed back!’ The moment may come where you may need to compromise and switch back so you don’t end up sleeping on the couch. Hey, what a great idea. hummmmm Or better yet, sleep on the ground. See number 2 above.

(I don’t recommend doing the ground right away) Need to work up to the ground all nighter. Body can’t change that fast for the positive. Remember sleeping on the ground when you went camping How you felt the next day. Crazy sore. Don’t camp? Maybe you just passed out from too much drinking and woke up the next day. Lol Either way the ground was there. 🙂

Wrapping up.

Inconvenient movement is how you get more movement in your life.

Don’t take the easy way and you already do more than most of the population. Its hard to take the more challenging way. The brain is hardwired for easy. It likes to take the path of least resistance and do the least amount of work possible to accomplish a task.

You need to smack your brain around and get it’s attention by being inconvenient. It’s not gonna like it at first, but it will come around. Your body will thank you for it. Have fun. And start with your list right now! Take your shoes off, lie on the ground and read this article again. Then share it.

Learn more at our Workshops and on our Go Pro Memberships section of Stop Chasing Pain.

Stay strong,