Slow down. Your body and your brain will love you.
In a world where fast and hard is the norm for athletes and other movers, there are some very good reasons to slow down instead. Slowing down allows you to notice and change subtle patterns.
You may think that sweating and breathing hard is the only measure of a good exercise program. That your progress depends on it.
Maybe this notion keeps you from moving much at all. If I can’t do a sweaty gym workout or run marathons, why bother? If this kind of thinking keeps you from moving, you may want to think again.
Running a marathon. Lifting weights. A demanding yoga practice. All have their place. But slow movement may be a better strategy for you.
Science tells us that slow movement does something that fast movement cannot do. If you want to learn a new skill, heal your body. If you want to sit and stand better. If you want to improve your balance, mobility, and stability, slow down.
Slowing down allows you to notice subtle movement patterns. Once you notice, you can change your movement for the better. This is the Weber-Fechner law applied to sensory perception.
Smaller movements allow you to notice what needs to change. If you move too fast, you will miss this information. You can’t change what you don’t notice.
Slowing down also allows you to reclaim a wider range of movements.
As we age, we stop moving the way we did when we were younger. We move less to protect ourselves from an old injury. Or because of a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, our movement options shrink and shrink and shrink some more.
Become a student of your own body by slowing down when you move. Your awareness and curiosity will allow you to reclaim a wider range of movements.
The act of slowing down helps you pay attention to how you are moving. Your attention enhances the brain’s ability to change and improve how you are moving.
Your brain has an amazing power to re-wire itself again and again and again. World-renowned Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich calls this “neuroplasticity.”
According to Merzenich, “brainless exercise is a lost opportunity for improvement”. When you move too fast, you lose the opportunity to improve or to add a new skill.
Summing up: Slow down, pay attention, but don’t stop.
If you move less than you used to because it hurts to move. Or because of habit or an old injury. Or for any other reason. Try slowing down when you move. In your daily life and at the gym or yoga studio.
Pay attention to what you are doing.
And then… notice the changes that you are creating for yourself.
Medical Disclaimer: This article contains information intended to assist you in improving your health and well-being. However, the information presented is offered only as-is for informational and educational purposes. It is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a medical professional.
Via Anderson, E-RYT 500, is a 76-year-old grandmother/expat from California. She teaches movement classes at Yoga Vallarta, online and in her home studio in 5 de Diciembre. Via believes that healthy movement is an elixir that can eliminate the aches and pains of aging and injury. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.