When I studied Neuromotor Learning at Princeton University, I saw the assumptions that neuroscientists, and people in general, make about movement. Generally, the assumption is that you first “think,” and then the brain sends signals to your muscles to enact movement. The causative arrow begins with your thoughts or intentions and subsequently spreads to actions.
But the causative arrow actually works both ways. Your movement influences your thinking. Back in 2012, researchers at Tufts and Stanford Universities published yet one more study documenting this effect. They showed that when subjects practiced making smooth, fluid, curvy movements, they became more creative. This is just one small piece of an exploding field of study linking movement quality and movement diversity to perception, cognitive function and overall health.
The quality of your movement matters
My extensive background in dance and other movement experiences has alerted me to the importance of movement quality. Health and cognitive function depend on movement health. Movement health is more than fitness: it incorporates proper posture and optimal patterning of muscle activity; and it also delves into movement style, effort, phrasing, body awareness, expressivity, and non-verbal communication.
I hope to help each of my patents broaden their repertory of movement qualities and diversify their movement experience. In recognition of my expertise in this area, I am certified as a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT), an honor conferred by the International Somatic Movement Educators and Therapists Association (ISMETA).
Try this at home
Here’s an experiment you can perform for yourself that contrasts two different movement qualities.
First, picture a spot in front of you about two to three inches above eye level, and sharply point your finger to that spot. Repeat this direct, targeted action ten to twenty times.
Second, as a contrast, imagine a three feet high “figure 8” floating about eighteen inches in front of your body. Use your entire hand, not just your pointer finger, to gracefully trace the shape of the “8”. Repeat 6-8 times.
Feel the difference?
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