General Approach to Movement Sustainability

My passion in life has always been movement.  I love to move.  My personal and professional goal is to learn as much as I can about how to sustain movement.  I feel at some point in our life we all ask the same question:  How do I sustain movement?  All my research into movement has been aimed at this goal of sustaining movement.  In this pursuit I believe there are fundamental principles that we all have to follow in an effort to successfully reach the goal of sustaining movement over a life time.  Some of the most fundamental principles for movement sustainability include efficiency of movement, adaptability of movement and sufficient durability. 

I think we can all agree that efficient movement is more sustainable.  Efficient movement affords less stress on our bodies resulting in less pain and improved durability.  I believe that every movement is a skill that can be developed with practice.  Sustainability of movement requires that we develop enough adaptability to choose and efficient strategy for a given task.  The movement strategy utilized to complete a given task dictates how stress goes through the body.  One thing that none of us can avoid is that we are all constantly adapting to the stress we put through our bodies therefore movement strategies will dictate the tissue response and adaptation.  This is good because we have the capacity to change over time if we provide an appropriate stimulus to the body. 

To develop efficient movement skills we must first take away barriers that prevent someone from selecting an efficient strategy.  Once we provide a safe, easy environment for consistent practice of an efficient movement strategy then motor learning occurs.  Fundamentally, I believe if we are efficient at the movements that we have to perform the most first then life is easier.  Simply put, be good at what you have to do and you will have more capacity to do what you want to do. 

Movement patterns we all have to do include; breathing, walking, moving in different directions, balance reactions and transitional movements.  If these are performed efficiently they can actually allow movement to be a huge positive stimulus for relaxation, recovery, tone management and stress management.  This is vitally important for self- regulation because the physical manifestation of stress of any kind (mental, emotional, physical) is increased resting muscular tension.  If these movements are performed inefficiently then your movement strategies are causing stress all day long.  Once these patterns are efficient and we are able to regulate/remove tension, now it is appropriate to introduce movement patterns that increase stress/ tension including, pushing, pulling, carrying, lifting, agility, jumping, sport specific movements and running. 

Efficiency is promoted before capacity in all these movement patterns to minimize stress and maximize sustainability.  It is critical that any training strategy implemented at this stage promotes success with a specific movement goal.  All efforts in training should push you closer to success with your movement goal.  If the training strategies are not directly linked to your movement goal it will surely take longer to reach the movement goal or it will prevent success all together. 

In order to sustain movement it is necessary to monitor for yourself to determine if you are properly prepared to perform an activity with and efficient strategy.  Preparation leads to success and sustainability.  Additionally, it is necessary to have a functional understanding of how to recover if there is a barrier to efficient movement.  This is a dynamic process that requires honesty and self-accountability.

Dr. Matthew O’Connor DPT, ATC

Hi, I’m Dr. Matthew O’Connor

My personal and professional mission is to help people regain, sustain and optimize movement. I believe a well balance approach including:

Efficient Movement Strategies

Efficient Posture and Breathing

Self Maintenance and Monitoring Strategies

Sufficient Movement Adaptability

Sufficient Movement Durability

give each of us the best opportunity to enjoy walking, running and an active lifestyle over a lifetime.

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