Update on Progress of New Book: Playing With Movement

I have been a bit negligent in updating this blog recently but I have an excuse - I'm hard at work on a new book that I hope to complete by this fall: Playing with Movement: How to Explore the Many Dimensions of Physical Performance and Health. (Update - its done! Click here to learn more. 

Like the first book (A Guide to Better Movement), the general goal is to help people move better and feel better through application of practical science on pain and motor learning. But the subject matter in this book is far more expansive and ambitious. 

The central theme is that problems related to movement and pain are often "complex", that complex problems are usually best solved by simple interventions, and that “play” is a good way to find them. By play I mean a process of exploring movement that is very curious, variable, intuitive, intrinsically motivated, personally meaningful, and (as much as possible) fun and pleasurable. 

Playing with movement can be contrasted with many popular methods for "working" with movement that are very regimented, repetitive, prescribed, directed, measured, boring, and often intrinsically meaningless. 

My argument is that both styles of movement practice have their role, but our society has tipped the balance too far away from play, and we are paying the price in numerous ways.

Here are some of the topics I will address: 

• The concept of "movement health" and its various "dimensions", which include physical structure, fitness, coordination, adaptive capacity, sensory perception, psychological mindset, social context, and environment. 

• A discussion of science related to play behavior and its value as an aid to learning and adaptation in biological systems.

• A discussion of various myths related to viewing the body as a machine and not a living thing. Topics include "fails" in the areas of surgery, posture, exercise prescription, injury screening, and biomechanical/structural methods of therapy/coaching.   

• The basics of complex systems theory, including concepts like self-organization, attractors, feedback loops, phase shifts, and variability.

• Why experts are incredible at solving "complicated" problems, but cannot significantly outperform common sense wisdom in solving complex problems. And how to tell the difference.    

• Play-focused approaches to motor learning that incorporate complex systems theory such as nonlinear pedagogy and dynamic systems theory.

• The science of stress and adaptation as it pertains to exercise and movement health. 

• The science of pain physiology, with an emphasis on identifying complex pain states and finding simple solutions that don't require an expert  

• Practical advice about how to “play” with various factors related to movement health (social, psychological, environmental etc.) and specific kinds of exercise (aerobic, resistance, mobility).  

• Pictures of LOL cats 

I'm pretty psyched about this book and expect it will come out well. What do you think? Sound good? Anything missing here you would like to see? Let me know in the comments. Over the next few months I will share some excerpts from various sections of the book.