You may be familiar with the Rocks, Pebbles and Sand Story (aka Jar of Life Story). If you are not it is a great little story that reminds us of what is important in life. Take two minutes and watch it here.
I will wait...
Obviously, the message that this story brings displays what is really important in life. Without a doubt.
After thinking about this story it can also apply to improve the way you move by prioritizing. Now that you know what this story is about I will break up how we move in 3 parts: rocks, pebbles, and sand. This is not an exhaustive overview...but it will give you an idea of prioritizing how you practice better movement.
The rocks of movement are what we have to do to carry on with our everyday life. This can include:
- Getting in and out of bed.
- Going to the bathroom.
- Walking with agility and balance so we don't fall.
- Picking things (or little people) up, carrying them and putting them in other places.
- Getting into and out of the car (which can involve pulling & climbing).
- Being able to turn our head to look for things.
- Navigating uneven terrain along with inclines and decline.
- Clothing and bathing ourselves.
- Taking care of our children/family.
- Carrying babies, pushing strollers and spending time on the floor.
Some that see this list may feel that it is mundane. If that is the case then these activities are not arduous or take much thought. Or you or a family member may have problems doing this, there may be some compensation to perform them or at the most extreme - someone is helping them do it.
These rocks of movement are imperative to be able to do. A vacation is different when you are not able to get up, move, put your clothes on or other movements on your own.
Because these are the rocks of movement it is so undeniably important that we practice moving better so can either move better or with less discomfort...or continue to be able to do them.
The pebbles of movement can include what we do for a living or who we care for. This can include:
- Sitting for long periods of time (don't worry I will talk about this below)
- Being on your feet for long periods of time.
- Lifting heavy weight and placing it elsewhere.
- Walking long distances
- Professional/Amateur Sports
- Manual labor
- Carrying babies, pushing strollers and spending time on the floor
- Caring for older individuals
This is what we do that can involve different ways of moving aside from everyday life activities. It can be a movement that we should practice so we avoid injury (like mobility or strength). On the flip side if we sit all day our posture will be affected. Also, the footwear that we are wearing can also affect us. We should be aware of the pebbles that should be developed so they don't erode. We should also be aware of the pebbles that can negatively affect how we move and find ways to reduce that chance.
In other words, you have to think about what your pebbles are. Especially you have chronic pain or tightness in these pebbles it is time to assess how to eliminate them. Our pebbles are what we need to do so we can live a comfortable life however we define it.
Need an example? What if your job involves picking things up and putting them in various places. That not only involves your arms but your legs, core...yes your entire body. This video below also applies to the rocks! You reach to pick up things all the time.
The sand of movement can include what we do for fun or ways of movement that have a greater chance of injury if not performed correctly. This can include:
- Competing in half-marathons obstacle course races and the like
- Physical feats like climbing Mountain Everest
What do you do for fun? Golf? Running races? Adrenaline-fueled activities? You could still continue doing what you need to do in your life but this is what makes it so much fun. However, if you ONLY did these that is not good. Why? You should be strengthening your rocks and pebbles so you can reduce a chance of injury and perform at your best!
Think about it this way - if I only ran Marathons every month and nothing else I would not be at my best. Why? I would not be working on strengthening my legs, core and entire body for the event. Also, any pain and tightness coming from not addressing the mileage I am putting on my body will affect how I live my daily life and also my job. It is not fun when you are hobbling around the house or have to do your job is awkward because of chronic it band tightness. At the worst, I may have to stop running marathons because I was not strengthening the foundation of my rocks of movement.
You may have different types of sand, pebbles, and sand in your life. The way you practice moving better for the rocks and pebbles is important. If you only take the time to pour all sand in your jar you are neglecting to strengthen your rocks and pebbles. Also, when it comes to improving movement is more than just strength, the ability to move, have the flexibility, coordination, and balance is just as important!