Use it or lose it…Not really
This human body may be the best example of an organic learning machine ever. From the earliest age, our brains are like a blank database waiting for information and instructions. However, we are not just vessels of information. We venture out into our environment using that information in an attempt to be better at everything we try. We have tremendous capacity. We can engage on a seemingly infinite number of topics, and master many of them.
When it comes to movement, we use motion as the battery that drives our metabolism. We also use our senses to imprint the experiences of motion on our brains. It’s motion that creates the circumstances for new learning opportunities. And a lack of motion that causes a decline in our health. Our learning machine takes our movements and improves them each time we perform them. And it has the ability to become more and more efficient at every movement we perform. When we run on Monday, we are better at running on Tuesday. When we train this month, we're stronger next month. The miraculous human constantly creates example after example of demonstrating that given enough time, and the opportunity, we can overcome most anything.
It’s this same potential that I have seen in clients over the last 30 years. Our bodies adjust to the lives we live. If it seems that certain movements are moved to the back burner and we’ve lost the ability to use them, it’s only because we haven’t used them in a while. As soon as the conditions present themselves to require us to run or jump or throw, you’ll find that your first attempt is the ugliest. A little practice can restore the muscle memory, and a lot of practice can bring back the potential for mastery. To that end, maybe the body is actually less a learning machine, and more a vessel where hope springs eternal.
If you’re ever feeling like the ability to heal is lost, or even that you are too old, in too much pain, too out of shape, or too whatever…you can always count on your body to remember the time when movement made you feel good. It’s only been doing what you asked of it. It has slowed because you ask less of it. We become more specialized. We sit too much. It’s got the potential locked away, but not forgotten. With the right circumstances, it will respond again. It will heal. And you’ll feel all the potential that was previously stored inside. There is only one requirement to be better tomorrow...you have to start today.