4 Steps to Improving Your Movement IQ

Movement IQ was born out of the belief that we, as humans, need to take-back control over our bodies.  You know the bodies I’m talking about – the ones that are often-injured, incapable of performing basic functions like walking and exercising without pain.

Sound familiar?

If the description laid out above rings true for you, then you probably have low movement intelligence, something we call “Movement IQ”; 

That’s right. 

I’m saying that you have a low Movement IQ, but is Movement IQ even a thing?  No, but we are making it one and that is why we rebranded our company to that name.  

Now that we’re friends, you can call us MIQ for short.  

Back to the subject at hand…

We know that if you have a smarter Movement IQ – you will be happier and healthier.  You’ll be far more capable to accomplish the many goals you have in life and the best part, is that it does not matter whether you are a sedentary survivalist, a desk jockey or an athlete.  Everyone can stand to improve their current intelligence when it comes to their body and movement.

If this idea intrigues you, then please keep reading and let me explain a little more about Movement IQ, why you should improve it and the steps that you can easily take TODAY, to level-up your movement intelligence.

What is MIQ?

First let’s get some baseline definitions of the core terms as I think it’s important to know what I’m talking about.  Let’s see what google says about the terms:

  • Movement
  • Intelligence
  • Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

We then can come up with the correct definition to find out what Movement Intelligence (IQ) means to us:

Movement IQ – Your ability to acquire, develop and apply movement skills through ranges of motion under various loads and speeds.

It’s about being able to have complete control over your body and how it functions in any given scenario that life throws at you.  This essentially turns you from someone who says “I can’t” into someone “who can”.

Why Improve Your Movement IQ?

As we touched-on above in the MIQ definition, improving your Movement IQ really comes down to your quality of life.  By having complete control over your body and how it functions in any given scenario, it means that you have freedom.  Being free is fun and exciting!

When people seek us out, it’s usually because they fall into one of these buckets:

  • Eliminate Pain – Someone is experiencing some kind of physical (or emotional) pain that they are tired of living with.  They may have tried as many things that they can think of, seen numerous doctors, had surgeries, etc. but just haven’t received the care, or results that they had hoped.
  • Move Better – Often times, people feel restricted in their own body.  Everything that is happening in the body is some form of movement.  From the muscles and joints to the nerves and neurons; they are all meant to move.  Problems generally arise when “things” stop moving as well as they are supposed to. Over time, parts of the body that become stuck or move less can lead to pain and dysfunction in the body.
  • Perform Stronger – It’s quite common for words like “sluggish”, “lethargic” and “tired” to get used when asked to describe how someone feels.  Enhancing physical performance is great (and usually assumed when we say performance), but cognitive performance is just as important, if not more than the physical component.  When pain is eliminated and movement improves, we see physical and cognitive performance indicators skyrocket.

Considering the buckets above, let’s take a deeper look at why you should really be serious about improving your Movement IQ.  You’ll note that there is overlap between these buckets because all three connected. By addressing one bucket, you’ll essentially be addressing all three buckets to some degree.

Eliminating Pain

Pain can be confusing and frustrating.  On one hand, it’s an amazing alarm system for the body that can save you from bigger problems and even death.  On the other hand, if you can’t figure out how to turn that alarm system off, it can be debilitating, depressing, while experiencing a lower quality of life.  

I won’t cover the intricate details of pain and how the brain processes it, that would take too long.  Plus, the study of pain and pain science is constantly evolving. In place, I recommend you watching Missy’s video on the Threat Bucket – a concept developed by Doctor Cobb of Z-Health that helps summarize your experience of pain and how your brain processes it.

Your beliefs may be challenged by this video, and that is ok.  This is from the latest research on pain-science and will shed some light into ways you can begin addressing your pain or in addition to what you are currently doing.

You’ll note from the video that some of the easiest places to start eliminating threat is by enhancing your movement quality, vision, balance and breathing.  When you develop movement skills and apply them through various ranges of motion – the way your body was designed to move – tons of higher level stimulation is happening in the brain that negates noxious (pain) signals.  

Science research is showing that quality movement and moving often is one of the best remedies for decreasing chronic pain in the body.  The better control you have over your body, the less global threat and pain you’ll experience.  

*There is some great literature about pain to help stream-line your understanding of it like the book entitled “Why Do I Hurt” by Adriaan Louw.  Foor folks who really want to geek out on pain, a denser (more expensive) book entitled “Explain Pain Supercharged” by David Butler and Lorimer Moseley

Moving Better

Quality movement usually goes hand-in-hand with pain.  What we generally see is that the better someone moves, the less chronic pain they experience and the faster they recover when something does come up.  Of course there are exceptions that require specific attention and remedies.

By improving your MIQ, you’ll feel less restricted, ultimately providing you with the experience of feel more capable in life.  Walking or running that once felt impossible, actually begins to feel good. Lifting an arm over head that seemed hard before, is now easy.  Getting up and down off the floor isn’t a chore anymore, thus playing with the kids is fun again.

It’s these simple examples that provide the motivation and encouragement to work on moving better to enhance one’s quality of life.  Although nice byproducts, movement/exercise doesn’t always need to equate to vanity metrics for success.

Performing Stronger

In general, humans have a strong desire to be better.  Better at careers, better at relationships, better at hobbies, better at sport/competition.  Let’s call this better performers.  

If your goal is to get better at something, then you have to practice.  

For example, you aren’t just born with the ability to walk.  You learn progressions and develop the ability to stand, walk, run, etc.  You must first learn progressions like nodding the head, rolling around, rocking, crawling and even falling, before learning how to stand.  These developmental patterns are practiced over and over.

At some point, however, the development of movement skills just slows way down.  This is usually around the time that you are thrust into a desk at school. As a child, you go from playing all day to being locked in a chair for hours.  

Sure, there’s recess and physical education class, but for the most part, school is a sedentary activity that shuts down a lot of motor skill development (outside of fine motor skills like writing, painting, etc. and even that is less due to computers, tablets and technology).

Motor skill development is essential for better physical and cognitive performance.  Yes, learning new mental skills in school is needed to function in society, but we could mitigate a lot of problems down the road if people continued develop motor skills along with developing their education.

The better control you have over your body, the better your performance will have physically cognitively, and in life.

Steps To Improve Your Movement IQ

1) Have a strong why.

If your goal is to make a change/improvement, it’s essential to have a strong reason behind it.  We call this your “why” and it’s really the source of your burning desire for improvement.  

Simon Sinek has a brilliant book on this subject called “Start With Why, however if you want to save some time, then check out his Ted Talk on the subject that’s valuable as well.

There are many examples of individuals and companies falling short of their goals because their reasoning wasn’t strong enough to make changes last.  

Simplifying this down to the individual, having a strong why is your North Star, your guiding light to keep you on track when everything is pulling you away.  It’s the emotional foundation to accomplish your goals.

2) Start where you are.  

It’s important to have a clear idea of where you are.  It’s easier to formulate a plan to where you want to go, when you already know where you’re starting.  Below are some starting points for common scenarios that we come across.

Are you new to this whole health and fitness thing?  

Great, congratulations on getting more serious about your health!  A great place to start is developing some body awareness by learning how to move all your joints independently, then together.  This is called joint mobility and education. It’s like learning the ABC’s of movement and is essential for avoiding injuries. This will set you off on the right track and you’d be surprised at how challenging it can be.  It’s also wise to seek-out a reputable coach to help guide you through this training. Having a set of eyes is highly beneficial to expedite the learning process, while offering you the ability to ask questions and feel confident in your progress.

Are you dealing with aches and pain?

The good news is that you aren’t alone.  The bad news is that you aren’t alone which shows how common aches and pain are.  First and foremost I’d recommend seeking out a medical professional to rule out anything serious, while getting cleared to begin some kind of movement program.  From there, it’s important to avoid moving into pain, while relearning how to move well. Again, some kind of coach or professional is ideal here for eliminating pain but if you opt not to go that route, begin by moving areas that don’t hurt, in ranges of motion that aren’t painful.  Maybe it’s as small an ankle circle or just rolling around on the floor. Start small and build from there. Don’t be afraid to just explore what you’re capable of.

Have you taken a few years off from exercising/moving?

Welcome back to the party!  Instead of jumping in where you left off, it’s important to revisit quality movement patterns to re-educate yourself on how to do things properly.  This is also a great opportunity to take a few steps back to move better and build better habits. In no time, you’ll be back on track and feeling great about your progress.  

3) Be curious.

Curiosity is a sign of being  interested in something. In order to boost your Movement IQ to yield all those benefits you’re seeking, you have to generally want to move.  If you’re curious about your body and how to improve it, you’ll be more inclined to immerse yourself in research, read books, subscribe to literature and seek-out people to learn from.  

It’s a committed pursuit to get better that is required for this stuff to work.  There are no shortcuts. Only patience and desire will provide you with results. The great part is that it doesn’t take much, only about 10-20 minutes of target movement practice per day.  This daily body maintenance adds up quickly though so just keep building the habit.

4) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

There is research that shows people go through 7-12 strong change attempts before goals actually stick and one of the biggest reasons that people quit is due to a lack of preparation.

Murphy’s Law states: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong

f you truly have the desire to improve your movement abilities (a strong why), then you need to spend time preparing for everything that’s going to try and hold you back from accomplishing your goals.  

We call this Murphy-Proofing your life.

You’ll get really great results if you take the time to think about the areas that need Murphy-Proofing.  Chances are, if you’ve made attempts before to make changes, it’s these areas that have contributed to past failures.

It’s time to move-on and make your movement stick.  For good.

It starts by knowing exactly what you’ll do when ______ happens.  You have planned and prepared for the worst in order to get your best results!

Implementing Your MIQ Strategy

You’ve probably noticed by now that we haven’t told you one single movement-related exercise to do.  There is a reason for that.

Before the actual doing, It’s important to align your mind and the language you use, to your goals.  In order to make any change you have to first understand that, who you currently are, and what you’re currently doing, isn’t working.  

Once you realize this, take some inventory and figure out why you need to make this change in your life.  Successfully making changes are easier when have a strong and emotional connection to them – your why.

Having a strong why empowers you to take action.  Before you can do that though, it’s essential to know where you are and where you want to go.  This starting point should be specific to your current level and abilities. 

Upon learning where you are in your journey, it is encouraged to be curious, and learn as much as you can.  There are plenty of resources out there from free to paid. Find reputable resources that you trust and enjoy investing your time in.  We happen to like our Movement IQ Membership program for this.  

Regardless of which route you go, becoming more educated on your body and how to move it let’s you make informed decisions.  Having this control over your health gives you freedom.

The last step is to plan and prepare your success.  Murphy-proof your life so you can’t do anything but succeed.  This consistent effort will yield life-long results that go beyond moving better and feeling better.

And THAT is how you improve your Movement IQ!

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