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Movement Babbling

I've spent a good part of 2020 listening to lectures and podcasts from neuroscientists.

Figuring out how the Human Animal operates and helping optimise it has been a fascination of mine.

Neuroscience seems to be the best chance we have of really understanding what we are.

This morning in the car I heard a great expression.

Neuroscience rock star David Eagleman said "movement babbling"

What a great turn of phrase.

It's a term used to describe the exploration of the body that babies do.

They babble verbally to develop the motor control to speak.

But they also babble physically, touching all around them, putting their toes in their mouths and so on.

If you have kids, you will be familiar with this.

What does this have to do with you, the hard charging athlete?

As a coach and as a movement therapist, I'm always talking about mobility.

Mobility is range of motion, or more specifically, available and useful range of motion.

If we consider the word "range" it suggests a continuum, from one end, to the other end.

If we never explore and define the ends of this range, how can we know the actual extent of the range?

If our nervous system doesn't have a clear "map" of the body and it's available ranges, it will only allow movement through its perceived ranges, or the range it is certain of.

This is where this idea of movement babbling comes in.

Rather than a structured movement session, can we simply "babble" over the day?

Can we fidget, like a young child, throughout the day?

And in doing so, can we take all joints through all ranges?

In doing so can we offer definition for that body map held in our mind?

And in doing so can we keep ourselves from becoming stiff and tight.

Can we avoid many of the non contact, niggling injuries?

Can we become smoother in our movements?

More cat like

So while we may train in a limited number of movements, keeping the lifting to the biggest bang exercises that stimulate the greatest amount of muscle and central nervous system activation.

But before, during and after training, we can babble.

You can babble in the morning, the afternoon, the evening.

No rules

Just explore

Be it 30 seconds or 5 minutes.

I think you'll find the response in your body will surprise you


Dave Hedges

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