Most fitness programs are based on strength, cardio, flexibility, or a combination. But there is an element that can be missing, arguably the most important element: Movement–not the technical action of performing an exercise, but movement in the form of dynamic agility and full range of motion.
The human body was built to move dynamically on a three-dimensional plane. Modern sedentary lifestyles are the enemy of this type of movement. Over time this loss in agility limits all forms of fitness and movement. But developing your full range of physical capability produces results beyond just strength, endurance, or static flexibility. Dynamic movement produces agility and mobility, coordination and balance. Good for training, good for life.
Let movement be your foundation
Movement training tends to incorporate the other elements of strength, cardio, or flexibility, but the reverse is not necessarily true. Fitness goals can still be met while lacking attention to dynamic body movement. But adding movement training to a fitness regime improves the condition of the body and quality of results.
You can take up running or weight training without the body being in good condition for movement. But in what manner will you run and in what manner will you lift weights with a constricted body? Being physically constrained and constricted impacts your gait, your range of motion, your dexterity. It restricts your overall ability to perform and could set the stage for injury.
So let movement be your foundation. When your whole body moves well and you're physically supple and capable, you begin operating from a more natural and healthy state of fitness.
Movement and Mixed Martial Arts
Movement as a distinct focus in fitness is catching on as the newest craze. "Movement Labs" and movement fitness programs are popping up all over the place. Mixed Martial Arts is a well-rounded movement-based training methodology that can boost your total fitness game.
Mixed Martial Arts is all-encompassing in its engagement of the body on all planes through many varied positions. Standing, crouching, pushing, pulling, moving the feet, rolling and tumbling on the ground: the natural outcome of a good MMA program is dynamic movement and coordination. Yes, we want the cornerstone elements of fitness: strength, cardio, and flexibility. Yes, we want realistic self-defense and functional sport combat. But the ideal is for this training to be integrated and woven into a foundation of full-range, agile movement.
Move it, don't lose it
As an aging athlete, my body still does predominantly what I want it to do, and that is a good feeling. I take great joy in seeing students develop that health and coordination in their own bodies. One of my students related a story from his workday where someone needed to bend down and crawl into a small space. He watched as his coworkers in their 30's and 40's physically strained to make their bodies perform this simple task. In contrast, this 63-year-old student had trained his body to move agilely in different positions, on different levels and planes. He performed the task effortlessly.
The greatest enemy of the body is atrophy. If you don't use it, you lose it. We are born to move. Designed to move. A fitness approach that incorporates the fundamentals of healthy movement produces benefits the student gets to keep, not only in their fitness and combatives on the mat, but also in everyday life off the mats.