words :: Dr. Carla Cupido.
The art of movement is obvious—we see it in the dance a climber shares with the rock or in the paint-like strokes a skier carves into the side of a mountain. Watch a skateboarder fluidly kick-flip a staircase or a surfer gracefully arc a bottom turn and it’s all very apparent—the human body is true sculpture in motion.
The science of human movement is well studied and understood by the medical community.
For decades we’ve delved into biomechanics, neuro-anatomy, physiology, and every other -ology that we can think of to gain a pretty decent understanding of the science of human motion.
So why is the philosophy of movement neglected? Why do we discuss the “how” so much? Is “why” we choose to move less important? Could ignoring the art and philosophy behind human motion possibly contribute to any of our health issues today?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Further to this, many other definitions now also include spiritual well-being as an integral component of our overall health—happy, relaxed people tend to be healthier than embittered, sky-is-falling
Yet the commercialization of movement pushes us towards the movements that will best sculpt our abs or lower our cholesterol rather than ones that may bring us true joy. Does forcing yourself into a daily gym routine really make you healthier than romping through the forest connecting with nature? Are burpees and crunches really better for you than laughing with a friend as you paddle out past the break?
The commercialization of movement pushes us towards the movements that will best sculpt our abs or lower our cholesterol rather than ones that may bring us true joy.
In an Outside TV interview, surf legend Gerry Lopez talks about his own movement in artistic terms.
“The wave was really the music,” Lopez says. “My surfboard was my partner and in a way when I am on my snowboard it’s kind of the same thing too … the mountain and the snow, the way the snow is set up, is again the music and all I am doing is trying to dance.”
Lopez is 72 years old and living in evidently great health and happiness. Could we not learn something from what motivates his movements and the way he sees them? Movement truly is an art, a science, and a philosophy but the question remains: What combination of the three dictates your optimal health?
Perhaps how we view and experience movement requires a paradigm shift. The definition of art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination,” so why shouldn’t we return to moving with the heart and mind of a child, evolving our movement into inspired art and loving every minute of it? Think about that in between your next set of reps on the Peloton.
From ML Coast Mountains.
I enjoyed reading your article today. I’ve never been a gym person at all throughout the years. Regular movement through team sports such as hockey, baseball, basketball, golf, curling , etc has been my preferred form of activity. As the years add up, I’m less involved in most of those activities now. I have settled into movement activity as a form of keeping my body as active as possible ( out of need now). Some yoga, golf, walking, biking, etc provide that lubrications my body requires. To me, it’s also a form of mental health. I’ve always sought out activity as a social connection with others and most friends are from this source. In the video I agree with George that sometimes you just have to follow the path in front of you.
I think I’ve done that in a way. Try to let things happen naturally and be open to trying some new things ( not surfing).
Anyway, it was fun reading the article and reflecting.
Back in the Rousseau day, we had the radial line right in front of us , so we just used it.