A Little Introduction: Movement is Medicine

friends running

A little background on myself, and my approach to training, fitness & health

We will start with the fact that I have been training/coaching athletes and "normal population" folks as a personal development coach and trainer for over three decades, so though certainly I don't know all of the answers (who does?), I hope I've learned something along the way through experience, education and observation. And one of those lessons is that movement is, in fact, medicine. We are meant to move, and though they may someday create a magic weight loss pill, I don't see a "movement pill" on the horizon anytime soon.                                                                                                                                  

One can go 'round and 'round about what is the key to aging well and/or having a good, full life, but to me it starts with movement. If you can't move well (not perfectly) at any stage of your life, your world becomes smaller, and you can't enjoy life to the fullest. That is true whether you're a hyperactive pre-adolescent, a teenager or especially an adult.

If you can't move well, your enjoyment of life becomes compromised: you can't enjoy the sports or activities you like, travel becomes problematic, and even the activities of daily living can become burdensome and perhaps even challenging if not impossible.

But what do I mean by "move well?" I am not talking about movement perfection, which isn't possible at even the elite athletic level, but rather moving through basic movement patterns that are the underpinning of all movement with good ranges of motion and no/little pain. These basic movement patterns include squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling and gait. If any of those are limited, then so is your life.

The fact of the matter is that our functional capacity curve/graph should be a relatively flat line at/near our optimal until well into our 80s, maybe even 90s, and then, parts start to wear out! The fact that for most people that curve is a rapidly descending line from their mid-30's onward is strictly a personal choice and lifestyle decision. Of course, if you experience traumatic injury or are afflicted by a nervous system disease like MS or Parkinson's that is another matter, but those are the exception, not the rule. And even in those cases, they are finding that exercise has a powerful effect on staving off the progression of those diseases. I have a couple of clients with Parkinson's so I know/see this first hand.

Far be it from me to prescribe what that movement/exercise should be for you though I do have my opinions. But rather you should find what you like to do be it yoga, Pilates, cycling, swimming, running, hiking, SUP, strength training or whatever, and then, do it consistently. That is the starting point. In future articles, I will delve into my thoughts on exercise and training, what has worked well for me, and what I think is true "fitness."

Bruce Kelly, MS, CSCS


Explore YourTango