Nourish Your Body And Start Moving Better

Fresh off our discussion on Nourishing Movement I wanted to expand a bit and give some practical ways we can include some supermovements into our daily diets…


Just as we think of superfoods as things that give us a big hit of nourishment and keep us healthy, let’s think of supermovements as something that give us the same value. Supermovements are ways of moving, positions, habits or movement environments that enrich the body in numerous ways and encourage it to express its full capabilities and function. Supermovements nourish the body from the inside out and are beneficial no matter your current status. These powerful movements help develop or recapture one or more of the following:

Full hip range of motion
Full shoulder range of motion
Twisting and lateral flexion
Core strength
Power production
and more…

All in all, supermovements are like superfoods. You get the best bang for your buck with them. There are dozens of kinds of them and they all enrich the body in countless ways.

Here’s the thing- supermovements usually aren’t quite as fancy as they sound and are often just simple things that help us get back to the ways of natural body motions by limiting the some of the damage our everyday lives inflict on us. Some supermovements can get pretty fancy, equivalent to acai berries and quinoa in superfood land (we will cover those next time) but those aren’t the ones that make the biggest difference. The day to day traditional movement stuff (like the superfoods of eggs, fish, liver, vegetables) are the ones that matter most.

The way physiology works is that it adapts to what you do most frequently not to what you do with the best of intentions. ~ Katy Bowman

What does that mean? An hour at the gym two or three (or even 7) times a week doesn’t undo 40 hours of sitting at your desk, 10 hours commuting, elevators, and 20 hours of couch time no matter how great your workouts are or how dedicated you are.

We need to build more things into our daily lives that lead to favorable adaptation and lessen the things that don’t. That’s the underlying concept to focus on and with that in mind, these first five “supermovements” are basic human behaviors…

Breath through your belly.
Be barefoot.
Sit on the floor or stand.
Elevate your feet when you sit on the toilet.
Drive your arms back when you walk.

These are primal movement habits that get bypassed so easily in our modern day culture of hustle and bustle but each one of them can have a tremendous impact on how we feel, move and function.

Let’s look at them in a little more detail…

Breath through your belly
Everything starts with the breath. Shallow breathing not only limits your flexibility in your torso, it limits the oxygen your whole body gets and it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, aka the fight or flight stress response. Breathing deeply, through the diaphragm, opens up the lungs, torso and spine and oxygenates the body fully, all while stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, aka the rest and digest relaxed response. This is one of the most powerful supermovements I can offer and will enrich your life if you relearn it. Here’s a link to a quick video on belly breathing and a how-to video.

Be barefoot
This is another basic tenet. Let your feet reconnect to the ground whenever possible. Everyone of your innate biomechanical and movement systems start from the ground up. Standing on an elevated heel of rubber separates you from the feedback you need to turn on your entire musculature. You don’t have to be barefoot all the time but the less you wear shoes when not necessary (like when at home) the better your whole body will function.

Sit on the floor or stand
I love chairs and couches. They are convenient and can be terribly comfortable. But they turn off so many of our bodily capabilities and freeze up joints and muscles. Once again you don’t have to throw out all your furniture but the more you can sit on the floor or stand the better everything will function. Just the act of standing keeps your body’s metabolism humming and muscles active, the act of squatting down has numerous benefits and the numerous sitting positions help open up ranges of motion many of us haven’t seen since childhood.

Elevate your feet when you sit on the toilet.
Just like the previous tip- sitting on the toilet is bad news. Several physiological sequences and structures need the squatting position to work, particularly when going to the bathroom. When we sit passively on the toilet a number of things end up deteriorating over time. The solution? Either squat like most humans do (or have done) or elevate your feet with something like the Squatty Potty. It might sound silly or trivial but it’s definitely in the supermovement category.

Drive your arms back when you walk.
This is the opposite of what we are told to do. Punching our arms forward just enhances tight shoulders, biceps, chest, neck and upper back, which is what bad posture stems from. Instead think about your arms on the other part of the walking motion, as they go back. Drive them back to train the muscles of the posterior chain like back, rear shoulders and triceps, which helps combat all of our sitting and iPhone use.

Start with these 5 supermovements and see how these make you feel over time. The more you nourish with them the better you’ll feel and the quicker it will happen. Next up we will look at some more advanced supermovements that take the next step toward full body nourishment.

Keep in mind it takes time to renourish the body. Be patient and nourish gently. Just as you need to crawl before you walk you need to breathe deep, ground your feet, sit down, squat deep and walk right before you can start doing anything complicated.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!

P.S. Belly breathing with Elmo… 🙂

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