How to Start Moving Again When You've Stopped

Since this blog started I've noticed an interesting trend.

It appears as if they're are a lot of you that are into this whole "moving your body again" thing. The problem is you're overwhelmed because it's been a while and you don't know where to start.

You see cool stuff like primal movement, forest parkour, or awesome flexibility and it feels so exciting! I get it. Sometimes I feel like a kid in a giant playground with so many cool things to play with that I have no idea what direction to go in.

But if you haven't been moving for a while, not only are you going to have trouble with what to focus on, you'll also probably be lacking some confidence in your body.

Telling you to "just start" and "listen to your body" doesn't help much when you're lost in a strange world where you no longer speak the language your body is talking in.

So, how do you get started started moving again if it's been a while?

My first recommendation might insult you. You might think "I came here to learn how to move again, and you're giving me advice I could have gotten from a five year old."

That's the whole point though. Learning to move again doesn't have to be simple or complicated.

That's why I suggest you get started with, wait for it... walking.

Yep, simple, plain old, walking.

What I do recommend though is that you start with your shoes off, and try as much as possible to walk on uneven surfaces (we're not meant to walk on flat, predictable surfaces, it makes our ankles and feet weak). In between the sidewalk and the curb is usually the best best if you're in an urban setting. Or if you have access to trails close by, that would be the best.

But don't just walk like a typical, docile caged human let out for it's "free time."

While you're walking try hanging a little from any low tree branches you encounter. Experiment with jumping on rocks, curbs or other objects you encounter. When branches and leaves are in your way, duck and weave your head out of the way instead of simply walking around them.

Don't worry, the environment is safe to touch, you're not going to break anything or get arrested.

By actually moving and exploring a typical walk can turn into a very enriching movement experience.

Just talking about it is making me want to get up from the keyboard this instant and start walking!

After walking, start exploring like an uncaged human

Find some monkey bars and play around with them. Try jumping on or over benches. Play on a swing. Relearn how to just move without making it into a big deal.

Once you've done that a bit, you can challenge yourself by trying to figure out how many movement possibilities you can find with a simple object.

This could be a park bench, a tree branch or a simple railing.

Let's take for example a common rail. At first sight you assume there's only one real movement you can do: jump over it.


So you think "That's boring. Who wants to play with this stupid rail?"

Surely a jungle gym or obstacle course would be much more fun."

But stick with it and you'll see that it's not just a stupid rail.

If you release your judgments and you'll find there's more to this rail than you thought.

Aha! You can also climb under it.

And upon further inspection you realize you can balance on top of it. You could even jump onto it or vault over it if you got enough confidence. Or hang from it. Or underbar it. Or flip, cartwheel or roll over it!

You get what I mean. 🙂

Pretty soon a stupid rail is a magical playground of endless movement creativity.

Still not seeing it? Here's an example:

But what if my posture sucks, I have muscle imbalances or I'm afraid of hurting myself?

There's a lot you can do to start healing yourself. Learning as much as you can about your own body and how to maintain it is a critical part of being human.

But a lot of it is simply moving again. Many of us stop moving when we're hurt because we're afraid of injuring ourselves. That usually just makes the problem worse.

If we stop moving we then develop muscle imbalances from stationary living and only reinforce the fear of using our own bodies.

If you're really serious about correcting imbalances and realigning your body, I recommend getting these two books:

  1. Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman
  2. Pain Free by Pete Egoscue

They'll help you get started on your path.

However, for the majority of folks, it's very difficult to self-diagnose what you need to work on. For this I recommend seeing a functional movement screen practitioner or an Egoscue exercises practitioner.

They can help by look at your body as a whole and how to address your kinks and weaknesses.

The next step is actually learning to listen to your and learning how it works

You might start by investigating these questions:

  • What is alignment?
  • What is the proper technique for walking, lifting, throwing, or falling?
  • How do my joints move? What are all the ways each of my joints can move?
  • What are the different tissues in my musculoskeletal system? How do they work?
  • What does tension feel like? What does relaxation feel like? When are these useful to apply?

How far you want to take this investigation is up to you and how far you want to go with movement.

Whatever you do, just start where you are. Break free from your rusty cage of human domestication and trust your animal instincts.

Go outside, and be curious. Be willing to be seen as the "weird adult moving around."

You'll find that it isn't as hard as you think.

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