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Physical Activity Australia: Why moving well should be a key part of your practice

Helping clients move is one thing. Helping them to move well is another.

In this article, we discuss what moving well is all about and why harnessing it as part of your approach will help your clients get the most out of their physical activity.

Movement is in our DNA

Before getting into what moving well is, let’s talk about the important relationship between humans and movement and how this has evolved over time.

The human body is a profound system that is innately designed to move – to roam, hunt, gather and even flee. In the past, humans needed to use their muscles to sustain themselves; but today is a completely different story.

Technological advances and labour-saving devices have removed the need for physical activity from almost everything, leading us to live sedentary lives that are damaging our health without us even realising it.

Our genetic makeup was formulated when physical activity was essential, so living a life with minimal or no movement inevitably leads to faults in human design. When our energy output systems (lungs, heart, blood, blood vessels, muscles, nerves and hormones) aren’t used as they were intended, they begin to deteriorate

The same goes for our metabolic systems. Our blood becomes more viscous, our blood vessels weaken, and the risk of diseases such as coronary artery disease increases dramatically. In short, when our bodies stop moving, they start to break down.

Foundation-trainable elements that make up ideal health and function through a lifespan


The deep stabilising system – comprising the thoracic diaphragm, transversus abdominus, pelvic floor, deep neck flexors, and intrinsic stabilisers of the foot – activates prior to purposeful movement to establish a stable/ informational basis for moving.

In development, we mature through sagittal, ipsilateral and contralateral stabilising strategies to evolve upright bipedal locomotion (gait mechanism). Throwing, hitting, striking, running and side-stepping tasks are all derivatives of the locomotor function.

The posture forms our skeleton by means of basic locomotor function (process of maturation). This means that our brain and central nervous system software is responsible for skeletal formation, joint shape and muscle recruitment.

Posture always informs us about any pathology in the body, via observation. We use specific types of exercise based on developmental postural patterns, including:

  • lying supine and prone with breath-stability

  • holding spine in space in quadrupedal postures up to bear pose

  • gliding postures

  • side-lying and rotation postures

  • standing postures, including yoga postures which lengthen two joint muscles

  • squatting, lunging and frontal plane loaded postures

  • locomotion basis, coordination drills, up to maximum speed running.

Posture is a centrally encoded motor program in the brain integrating all body joints and muscles. (The movement foundation is the same, encompassing all changes in the task.)

Ultimately, postural-locomotor function is an in-born program that is coded in the brain and posture-locomotion-skeletal formation is interrelated. From a practice perspective, we learn how to train optimal postural-locomotor stereotypes.

If we train from a ‘physiological ideal’ perspective, which is none other than our birthright, we’re able to maintain ideal function through the decades and maintain health through a lifespan, including changing compensatory patterns from prior injury.


Nasal breathing/diaphragm function integrated with stabilising function:

  • Greater surface area of the lung used for gas exchange – increasing oxygen uptake.

  • Increased oxygen delivery to cells, and therefore, energy production – based on the principles of the Bohr effect.

  • As a result of increased O2 delivery to cells, lactic acid onset is delayed.

  • Increased brain tolerance to CO2 reduced breathing rate and volume, leading to greater breathing efficiency.

  • Increased core stability via the diaphragm.

  • Reduced heart rate during exertion resulting in further efficiency benefits; breathing efficiently with the diaphragm links with attention and is ideal for relaxation.

  • Quicker recovery between intervals due to increased breathing efficiency and parasympathetic innervation.

  • Increased alpha brain wave activity linked with increased parasympathetic activity.

What moving well means and why it matters

Moving well is the cornerstone of the Bluearth approach (Physical Activity Australia is a subsidiary of the non-profit Bluearth Foundation).

Since movement is innately programmed in humans, moving well is all about enabling people to move and thrive as their bodies intended.

It involves moving regularly, intentionally and mindfully, so you gain the most benefits out of your physical activity. It is more than simply moving your body, but having a meaningful experience with movement.

It involves moving regularly, intentionally and mindfully, so you gain the most benefits out of your physical activity. It is more than simply moving your body, but having a meaningful experience with movement.

Here is a breakdown of each equally important element:

  • Moving regularly means moving your body often and avoiding long periods in toxic sedentary positions.

  • Moving intentionally is about moving with purpose as well as prioritising and making the time to be physically active.

  • Moving mindfully involves paying attention to what your body does while engaging in movement and how it feels. This focus on the present moment allows us to check in with ourselves and practice self-awareness.

Moving well brings about an inherent set of physical, social and mental benefits – positively impacting different aspects of a person and their life. All of these, combined, improve wellbeing and thus make moving well a key factor in living a happy, healthy life.


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