Hope for the motor morons among us
Finally, here is some relief for clumsy, uncoordinated people. Did you know that some of the best athletes suffer from the same problems as you? It’s not your fault. You were most likely never trained how to do this. Were you aware that coordination, balance and good motor mechanics are learned behaviors that you can change dramatically?
Now, due to exercise breakthroughs, you people (by “you people” I mean clumsy people) can stop walking with “two left feet” and not be “all thumbs” anymore.
One of my clients informed me that her physical therapist called her a “motor moron” — to her face. To my client’s dismay, I commented that it was a fabulous description. For professionals who heal people with exercise, the term motor moron makes total sense. Let me explain.
“Motor” refers to your neurological ability to move at will and/or against your will. Most people understand what a moron is.
We develop movement patterns throughout our lives from many factors. Some patterns are good, some are bad. The bad ones usually cause discomfort and lead to injury and as we age. By the time you have to see a physical therapist to fix an injury caused by a movement pattern problem, you are desperately trying to reverse your destructive patterns, because it hurts. You are also trying to create good patterns to create a positive outcome and thus recover from your injury.
A motor moron is someone who through voluntary and involuntary movement patterns is causing most of the problem. The good news is that you can fix it.
Good mechanics often go out the window in order to get the job done. I love this ability we humans possess and it benefits us quite often. How lame would sports be if nobody threw themselves into precarious situations for our entertainment?
Great athletes are born with good mechanics. Pretty good athletes have pretty good mechanics and they have to work at it. I have also seen many top-level athletes with horrible mechanics do quite well until they age a little. Then the wear and tear shows its face. You can get away with a lot of bad behavior when you are young. The damage that I see on a daily basis from years of poor mechanics that causes people a lot of pain is what I’m trying to help you with.
A common element that many healthy aging athletes share is that they have great mechanics. This factor is a major contributor to their physical quality of life. You can learn their secrets by investing some time into learning good mechanics sooner than later.
The gym is a great platform to learn good form and posture. It’s also a great place to finally get some instruction on mechanics and make up for where we left off from gym class 20 years ago.
I’m not sure why people think that they should instinctively know how to do this, especially us men. It’s humbling for top-level athletes to be shown how to walk, sit and run by some athletic trainer geek like me, but they end up thanking me in the end. Even people with the best genetics need training.
The bottom line is that it pays to invest as much time into training for good technique as you spend doing other things along your journey of maintaining your body. Whether you are younger and just training to be buff or you are older and just trying to get out of pain, not being a motor moron will serve you very well for the long haul.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer, owner of Midland Fitness and occasional motor moron. Contact him at 945-4440.
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