A friend on Facebook recently posted a video of her 1-year old baby walking. It was fascinating to watch as I am not a mother and did not spend a lot of time around young cousins or neighbors as babies. While some of the other viewers were excited that the baby was walking, I could not take my eyes off of his perfect form. I mean, like to the T, absolutely perfect, unadulterated alignment. His feet were completely parallel, regardless of if he was still or moving, and to top it all off, he drops in and out of a squat (HANDS FREE!!) with still perfect form. Knees out, feet parallel, upright spine – I mean even the professionals (cough cough, me) work daily at this stuff. And here was this little baby, rocking movement like a pro.

So what changes? Is there a certain stage of development or age where we start walking like a duck and forget how to squat? Eh…sort of, but it isn’t development and it isn’t genetic. At some point, this baby, just like the bajillions of babies in the world before him, starts to watch those around him. Babies pay close attention to how mom and dad stand, walk, sit, and move, as well as any older siblings around them (who had the same models, I might add). Eventually, baby starts taking on the habits and patterns of those around him, because that’s what the rest of his “tribe” does.

At the ripe old age of 5, we ship little ones off to school, where they spend the next 13 years of their life sitting in chairs for 8 hrs a day. School systems have cut down on playground time because they are prepping students for standardized testing and playground space is being covered by more classroom buildings due to increased enrollment. No one has time to move anymore! When you make it to 45 and you have “bad knees” just like Dad, it isn’t because you share the same genes, it’s because you learned your movement habits from him.

It’s never too late to unlearn a habit. It just takes dedication and some patience. Whatever physical ailments your parents have are not a life sentence for you. Make the conscious decision to move like that baby, with parallel feet and a killer squat, daily, and you will be well on your way to better movement hygiene in no time.

a safe and wonderful New Year – may it include lots of squats ;)

Check out the wonder baby video below!