Sunday, March 1, 2015

Movement flashbacks anyone?

Here's a bit of a weird post. Do you get movement flashbacks? I do. And I am not the only one. So what's all this about? I dunno really but it's pretty cool.

First - just what exactly is a movement flashback? Well, it's a memory that pops up unexpectedly, usually on the same day as the event, and it's a mind-body phenomenon, and it's a positive experience. To be clear - it's not "runners high" or "flow" - both great things in their own right. Runners high typically is a physical driven response that follows a run, but it applies to any good movement session and refers to physical and mental (or more) elation following the session. Flow on the other hand is the feeling of being in the zone while in the act of movement. A movement flashback on the other hand refers to a strong memory re-occurrence of a recent previous movement session or event. Like the runners high and flow, it feels good! But it's unique in that it can occur well beyond the event.

So what about it? Well, I have never experienced it until I started natural movement training, whereas I have had my fair share of runners high and flow. Why have I never heard of movement flashbacks? And remember it's not just me, others training with me have experienced the same phenomenon. Not only that, but it only seems to happen for distinct types of movement sessions. Looking back at when it occurs, it happens whenever there is movement in a context rich environment. So we are talking here about fast work over complex obstacles, but also slow movement through complex situations. It tends to occur when running through complex terrain, jumping over complex obstacles, or climbing through complex branch networks or tricky rock configurations. I have never experienced it from sole manipulative movement modes such as lifting, carrying and throwing (yet).

What does it mean? I dunno, that's why I am blogging it. I have done some quick research on it and here's my gist of things:

It's either movement as reward, or movement as learning. Or something else entirely!

Here's some links I saved that covers some of the considerations I seem to be making:








Yep - it's another rabbit hole, and I haven't the time to burrow down into it today. Let's make a quick jump to the bottom now and worry about the truth later! How about movement as reward?  Either it's an evolutionary response universal across animals that rewards specific movement patterns that enhances survival chances. Perhaps movement through a complex environment is good because it is likely to be a more fruitful scenario than say, walking though a desert. Or it may be that this kind of movement through complex and stimuli rich environments is simply a good survival pattern in it's own right.

My second thought, and perhaps more realistic, it about the movement & learning link. Is this simply a learning processing response related to complex movement situation? I dunno. You could argue that the snatch or clean is a complex movement, but there is no environmental interaction. These movement flashbacks only occur in combination with complex environmental interaction with movement (fast or slow).

Why it this important anyway? First - it's cool! Second, it's a good motivator to get up and train in the morning. Third, it may be an indicator that I am learning more. And forth, there might be some cool ways to apply this phenomenon as both a motivator and learning tool.It could revolutionise the nature and role of PE at school! Or at work for that matter.

So, has anyone else experienced this, or come across research covering this area? Let me know, and if anyone wants to see if they can get a movement flashback, drop me a line if you need any tips! It's a great day if you can get flow, a runners high, and a movement flashback before lunch!