Movement vs. Exercise: What is the Distinction?

By:  Monika Volkmar

We’ve got another awesome guest article, posted with permission from the writer’s original website, Dance Training Project.    Think back to our article on the Cossack squat and the dancing of the Cossacks.  You’ll see how taking movement from a variety of specialties is useful.

About Monika

The Dance Training Project was founded by Monika Volkmar, a graduate of Ryerson University’s dance program, certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA, Functional Movement Screen (FMS) certified, level 2 NeuroKinetic Therapy practitioner, Anatomy in Motion trained practitioner, and Thai massage therapist (at Bahn Thai Spa in Toronto). After a string of injuries forcing Monika to temporarily stop dancing, she became immersed in the world of strength and conditioning, injury prevention, movement training, and Thai massage. Since then, Monika takes great happiness in helping dancers develop strength and knowledge that will help them to have long, successful dance careers with fewer injuries. Monika also writes a the column “Balance” regularly for just dance! magazine.

Now, Let’s get to the Article:  

In writing this blog post today I am procrastinating the completion of a massive piece of editing. I’ve created a monster. I’ve been assigned the rewarding task of creating a resource paper for Healthy Dancer Canada. “Write two pages”, they said. Naturally, that exploded into 10 (concision isn’t a strong suit of mine…).

My brain’s going a little dead, so, to avoid making silly editing decisions, I’m giving the paper some space so I can remember why I’m writing it in the first place.

When you lose sight of the purpose, just sit with it. The solution often comes when you take a step back, zoom out, remember the bigger picture.

Anyway, let’s talk about me: I’m in a weird place with my training right now, and I’m pretty sure some of you will be able to relate.

I haven’t deadlifted since November 2015.

I know… Who am I??

I love lifting. I love feeling strong. I especially love doing what I do best- Sagittal plane extension-based movement. But I’ve lost sight of a greater “why”.

Honestly, taking Anatomy in Motion was the catalyst. AiM forced me to reflect on this idea of movement vs. exercise. This course explores natural human motion, and participants get to bring to life, in their own bodies, what this means at every joint, in every plane of movement (and I’m excited to be re-taking this course in May in New York).

After AiM, I realized that I no longer had the desire to “exercise” for the sake of exercising. It needed to mean something more, and I needed to re-evaluate the relationship I had with it.

So I  dropped anything that felt like “exercise”. My training is now quite minimalistic.

I was trying to explain this to my room-mate.

“What?? You’ve stopped deadlifing? The king of all lifts?” Incredulous.

I told him that the distinction between “what is movement and what is exercise” had become muddy. I needed to step back from it and sit with this idea for a while until I had clarity.

The look he gave me

“So what are the distinctions?” He asked me.

You can read the rest of the article on Monika’s website, The Dance Training Project