I have had the privilege to experience education in the formal setting from multiple levels. Not only as a student, both within school and at university, but also in front of the classroom as secondary teacher and now as assessor within vocational education and training.
I currently work within the fitness and rehabilitative environments, and I ask the question; Who is teaching exercise literacy to our youth and who is responsible?
As parents, we do not take our children to an allied health professional like a physiotherapist or podiatrist for assessment unless they are in pain with an acute injury. We do not ask our PDHPE teachers to educate students on correct posture, self-care for movement, or educate them how to sit on their chair in class, or learn how to stand in a mindful way.
As a movement practitioner and educator, I treat so many children under the request of their helpless parent/s who ask if I can assess and educate their children how to effectively use their body in motion so that they do not have musculoskeletal issues in the future.
The initial area of learning needs to be in developing an understanding of how to walk. A child’s gait pattern will tell the tales of poor posture, signs of hypermobility, knee and hip asymmetry, and over time it will impact shoulder pain. Flat feet is forever common in children and is a natural during their youth however, who teaches them about proprioception, how to apply the correct pressure of their feet during locomotion, both walking and running?
With the rise of smart phones and computer-use in the home and school, children need to be educated on simple yet effective head and neck postural exercises that will prevent treatment in the future and ensure that your child’s back does not fatigue when at rest.
Today, I educate and treat many adults of these fundamental principles to correct postural deficiencies and manage musculoskeletal pain. If exercise literacy was injected into the primary and secondary school curriculums, over-time we could create an Australia that is self-aware about their own movement, reduce the risk of injuries and become as natural as learning their alphabet.
By ERIC SAID, MOVEMENT SPECIALIST/PT NATIONAL EDUCATOR