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Loaded Movement
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 • Posted May 9, 2014 4:04 PM

How many times have you said or heard, “Time to do your chores?” Well, there’s something to be said for farm work, yard work and household chores. Think about it. For generations, the work of daily living revolved around moving our bodies under a load. Whether planting, hauling, squatting and lifting, climbing, harvesting; our bodies are made for movement. Over the last hundred years, we’ve stopped moving. We drive cars instead of walking or riding. We sit at desks instead of heading out of doors first thing in the morning. We have to make time to move our bodies, because a lot of movement just isn’t part of our regular day’s activities. Not only that, but pain isn’t part of our day, either, if we can get away from it! I wonder how many 1800’s farmers stopped working when they felt a blister form on the back of a heel, or noticed a raw place on one hand. But I digress…

Loaded movement- it’s what cowboys, farm hands and landscapers do. Manual labor: tossing, lifting, shifting bulky bales of hay or loads of wood, climbing up and down with a load over a shoulder, moving around with a mass, or moving a mass around; it’s hard, physically draining work. Translate that into a training program- it’s called ‘loaded movement training.’ Developing a resistance training program that incorporates movement mimicking activities of daily farm living is a good place to start. Whether shoveling, stacking, gathering or herding, when we perform farming type activities, we use our entire body. The scientific thinking behind this type of training is that the transmission of force along longitudinal and adjacent anatomical lines that occurs during loaded movement, helps to create a more robust anatomical construction and greater overall stability in the body because that force transmission involves movement of different loads, at different speeds and at different angels of motion, thus requiring the body to adapt in multiple ways: the loaded pathways develop healthier muscle fascia, healthier skin tissue, healthier bones and neural pathways. If the pathway of movement is changing, because of varying movement patterns, then the benefits of the movement are translated over a wider range of the body.

Bottom line- as opposed to old school weight lifting, loaded movement training is more naturally effective in building strength and functionality in the whole body, not just isolated target muscle groups. As long as the spine is kept in safe alignment, the squat or step is a controlled movement initiated at the hip, and the reaching comes from the shoulder blade, most anyone can incorporate low weight loaded movement into a regular training program. A program can even be developed to meet the needs of individuals with limited mobility, though I counsel you to speak with your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition and how a training program might meet the needs of your wellness goals.

Beginners and seasoned athletes, as well as those of us in between, can benefit from loaded movements that mimic those chores we all love so much! So don’t put it off, if you’re thinking it might be a good time to get started on those chores. Make the best of the day while the sun is shining on you. Today is a great day to begin!

Sally Windham is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor in Blanco, TX. Please send questions and comments to sally.windham@yahoo.com

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