Good movement should look effortless effective and beautiful in people of all ages, from children through to manual workers, managing the demands of their job, and even to the elderly who, with the right tools can be seen to move with confidence and independence.
So, try this……
- Get into pairs and using a gym ball or a well blown up beach ball, each of you place one hand on the ball using your whole hand (as much contact as possible).
- Start with your hands directly opposite each other, fingertips pointing upwards. One person leads the movement in any direction, trying to push the other into larger changes in position.
- Keep your feet on the floor, but move around your centre of gravity, keeping your wrist relaxed. If you can have someone watch the pair of you, then look for good transfer of body weight during the movement. It should look effortless and smooth, not static and awkward.
- Your trunk should stay relatively upright with the bend coming from the hips, knees and ankles.
- If there is not enough bend in the legs then you lean forwards hunching your trunk or shoulders come up by the ears instead of staying relaxed and down.
- Firstly find the centre point in the middle of the foot, and be able to bend / drop down through your hips, knees and ankles, whilst having a relaxed and upright trunk giving good hip to trunk co-ordination.
- Secondly you need to be able to move your body weight easily from side to side and even forwards and backwards. However in order to do this there needs to be co-ordinated contraction and release of muscles, occurring at the right time i.e. eccentric and concentric contraction of muscle groups.
- Thirdly there needs to be the body’s ability to listen to the sensory feedback of what is coming through the hand, what information is coming through the sensory organs such as the eyes and ears and balance apparatus in the head. This is what we call working proprioceptively, and in order to make the most of this we need to enjoy it and stay relaxed.
Now try doing the same exercise just placing your finger-tips only on the ball. What did you find…… it’s much harder as there is less sensory information coming through your finger-tips, and you’re more likely to tense up and fight the movement. Similarly try closing your eyes and performing it again. Here by reducing the type of sensory information coming from your eyes there needs to focus much more on what you feel through your hand.
So remember, listen and feel through your senses, stay relaxed and focused, and enjoy moving with less effort.
By Jane Morris