In the book, “The Big Picture,” Sean Carroll discusses three features that are ubiquitous to our concept of life: compartmentalization, metabolism, and replication with variation. Compartmentalization, he writes, is actually part of a more general concept called self-organization.
When Mr. Carroll discusses life, he is looking at it from a cellular level, but these three ideas could easily be translated to the foundations of healthy movement. Compartmentalization and self organization are how the body organizes itself to move effectively and efficiently for the task at hand. When joints work both independently and interdependently, forces tend to be dispersed more fluidly up the skeleton.
Metabolism is required for movement (and life) to take place. A person that moves little is not using as much energy as one who moves often. The ability to use energy means the system is alive, so movement is a way to maintain life.
Replication with variation is a lot like repetition with variation. Repetition with variation is how we learn, and in movement, is a way to define play. It maximizes options, improves self organization, and requires energy. By moving in similar, but different, ways regularly, we maximize long term success for moving efficiently and effectively.
Maintaining health and vibrancy throughout an individual’s life is multi-faceted, but it is clear movement is a large part of the equation.