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.
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You may think that sweating and breathing hard is the measure of a good exercise program. That your progress depends on it.
Running a marathon. Lifting weights. A demanding yoga practice. All have their place. But slow movement may be a better strategy for you.
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. Why?
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. Small movements allow you to notice what needs to change. You will miss this information if you move too fast. You can’t change what you don’t notice.
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 over time.
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.
Slowing down helps you pay attention to how you are moving. Your attention enhances the brain’s ability to change and improve.
World-renowned Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich coined the term “neuroplasticity.” This is the brain’s amazing power to re-wire itself again and again and again.
Merzenich reminds us that “brainless exercise is a lost opportunity for improvement”. When you move fast, you lose the opportunity to improve or to add a new skill.
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.
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Pay attention to what you are doing.
And then… notice the changes that you have created for yourself.