In her 2021 book MOVE! The New Science of Body Over Mind – Caroline Williams puts forward a Movement Manifesto.
Caroline’s Movement Manifesto recognises that while there is ample scientific evidence and general knowledge about the benefits of movement, the practice of movement is seriously lacking in our society – and this is having a significant detrimental effect on those who don’t move.
In other words, lack of movement is having a detrimental effect on our whole society.
The Movement Manifesto is divided in to four parts: 1. Start ‘em Young, 2. Body-based Therapy, 3. Choose Movement and 4, Elderly Action.
Start ‘em Young
Caroline Williams explains how movement in schools, from the provision of physical education to the length of break times, has been reduced and cut over the years. This is having a detrimental impact on children’s health and well-being and it might also be contributing to reduced concentration and learning too.
The Movement Manifesto says: “…moving more is good for kids – not just emotionally and physically, but academically too. We need to turn this around, and the sooner the better.”.
We need to get out of our heads and into our bodies. Caroline Williams suggests that movement needs to be given equal weighting to medication, meditation and talking therapies and prescribed in just the same way too.
The Movement Manifesto says: “It’s time for the medical profession – and those who fund it – to stop treating movement as an optional extra and put some serious money behind movement-based treatments and therapies.”
Choosing movement as you move through middle-age and beyond is an important element of staying fit and healthy.
Caroline points out that as a society we need a variety of different movement activities to keep us all engaged and active.
The Movement Manifesto says: “The only thing that we all need to do the same is to realise that making time for movement in your life is not a luxury, and it’s not self-indulgent: it’s a necessity.”
Caroline quotes data suggesting that older people can spend up to 80% of their time being sedentary. As in young people, this can lead to detrimental effects on their physical and mental well-being.
Older people are more likely to suffer degenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s and dementia and they are likely to become physically weaker too. Movement, appropriate to people’s functional ability, has been shown to improve the lives of people living with such conditions.
The Movement Manifesto advocates for movement saying: “…it can bring comfort, familiarity, and a sense of community to people who might otherwise feel lost and alone”.
We have an old-fashioned relationship with movement and learning. We rarely allow them to happen at the same time. In schools and universities around the