Free Movement - Solo Throw & Catch

Free movement is playful, practical, and personal. It’s a means of exploring the world at large. The ability to move with confidence and to adapt to any environment. Free movement comes from dedicated physical preparation and holding a child-like mindset of curiosity.  These Free Movement Snacks are meant to help you see the world in opportunities and begin to take movement out of the box.


 

The current state of the human condition presents an odd paradox that I'm really not cool with; we're becoming very comfortable with allowing external sources to direct our internal experiences.  A by-product of the age of information, we are becoming much more likely to Google the answer, before even attempting to ponder the question.  Fuck the process.  We want the facts...summarized in easily digestible language...10 minutes ago...with a ribbon.

Everyday I see this paradox manifest as I witness people on the chase to be fit.  The mainstream health industry (external source) dictates the standards of fitness for us and will gladly sell us what we need to chase those standards. 'Murica: where cardiovascular capacity and obsessive strength rule the day and more is never enough.  Meanwhile, other valuable qualities fall through the cracks.  Skills such as balancing, agility, quickness, coordination, and fine motor skills go unused or undeveloped.  Too often there's no bridge between our childhood practice of play and our adult practice of exercise.  All the hours spent in the gym exercising won't translate into the ability to move with fluidity and grace through any environment.  Random acts of fitness will not equate to free movement.

I'm here to tell you that there's a different way.  We can take this concept of fitness and define it on our terms. We can mold it to the landscape of our unique lives.  Fitness needn't be an overwhelming act of drudgery or self-abuse. Fitness shouldn't be a product to sell but it can be the product of a life-in-balance. I'm here to tell you that movement can be mentally stimulating, spiritually inspiring, AND physically effective.

How do you get to this state of mind? You were there once upon a time...

Back before exercise,  before sets & reps, counting calories, calculating macronutrients, before HR monitors, FitBits, and tracking every.possible.metric.

Back before we magnified every bodily imperfection. Before we knew how to actively dispute our own happiness. Before we became experts in undermining our inner strength.

Before all that egoic drama, we lived in a perpetual state of wonder, fueled through play.  As kids, we met each day with unbridled enthusiasm for the all the potential adventures and small mysteries we might encounter.  Play sessions were organic and spontaneous.  Our energy levels soared into the stratosphere.  When  we were exhausted the come down was a smooth descent, not a crash and burn. We moved for for the sheer joy of moving, and we moved beautifully.

In my work, I have been shocked to find how few adults are less than competent in their ability to cut loose and play.  So you want to grind through 26.1 miles of sweat, blood, and urine to put a bumper sticker on your car, but play sounds like a silly idea?  Play is exactly what is going to keep you young, vibrant, sharp, and flexible - physically and cognitively.  Do your research, if you're skeptical.  The rest of us will be over here living it with a smile.

I respect the resistance that we have towards this lighter way of being; it goes against what we've come to know as fact.  I understand that positive experiences enable a shift in perspective. That's why I'm all about offering up movement nutrition.  Today's snack: a game of catch.   Throw & catch is the epitome of play. What kid didn't grow up playing catch or throwing rocks into a lake or at an empty soda can?  That's right, kids with iPhones...(Angry Birds doesn't count and that's probably not even a relevant reference anymore *sigh*).  And beneath the surface lies more movement goodness than you realize - cardio interval training, multi-planar movements, plyometrics, hand-eye coordination, reflex conditioning, and that key element of fun (you're probably deficient).  Play with a partner or if you are lonely only child, like me, play solo against a wall.

I'd suggest beginners start off with a soccer or tennis ball. Use simple throws and catches at a reasonable distance to build rhythm.  As your nervous system lights up begin to add complexity: moving side-to-side, forward / backward, catch and throw off the bounce, field grounders, pop flys, over-the-shoulder, reach for the sky, 360˚ spins...let your imagination run wild for a change.  Ego check: if you can't move dynamically enough to make this a cardio event, that should tell you something about the imbalances in your movement skills.  If you can't control your vehicle with precision, don't prioritize a bigger engine. The physical complexity of this game will regulate you. The simplicity of this game will help you redefine just what you're fit for.  You'll have more fun that you can imagine.

Play has no performance standards. Engage in your movements. Focus in your body. Breath. Smile. Be a kid. Embrace freedom of movement. Trust the process.