How Movement Education Can Prevent Obesity and Improve Learning

Daily movement improves overall health.

I've written before about the importance of daily, vigorous movement for everyone. One doctor cites studies in a compelling video that shows that daily movement is the best prescription doctors could possibly give to us to help us improve our overall health. You don't necessarily need to go to the gym - just find an activity you enjoy, and do it every day. "Movement education" is akin to eating habits: first and foremost we learn it at home. However, it is also the responsibility of our society to encourage movement in every aspect of life - from the creation of recreational areas, available playgrounds for underprivileged children, parks, bicycle lanes, and longer gym periods at school.

Movement enhances creativity.

I encourage my clients with desk jobs to get up at least once an hour to do simple movements that "wake up" their muscles. This keeps muscles from getting tight and "frozen." It also stimulates the brain, relaxes the nervous system and enhances creativity.

Thomas Hanna wrote about the importance of encouraging somatic awareness in our lives, especially when children go to school. In schools children are encouraged to stop paying attention to their bodies and movement when they are constantly reminded to stop fidgeting, keep their feet on the floor, etc.

In the Western world, children sit at desks, eyes facing forward. They are rewarded for sitting still and keeping quiet. They learn to ignore the sensations of their own bodies. They learn to stop moving. Even on playgrounds children are told not to run in order to prevent any injury or liability on the part of schools.

It's old news to say that children are getting heavier and moving less, creating a true public health crisis. Children who don't move become adults who don't move, and who risk developing Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA), joint pain, diabetes, and musculoskeletal problems. I will leave it to Dr. Kwame Brown to further explain the detrimental effects of "movement-deprivation" on young children and adults. Suffice it to say that the more one moves, the more one's brain develops.

For anyone in the teaching profession and for those working with children in any capacity, I would highly recommend Dr. Brown's work. He will be teaching his first New Jersey Move Theory weekend seminar in Pompton Lakes, NJ.

Here's a video of Kwame teaching children, through play, the basics of movement: