Category Archives: Tutorials

Emotional Intelligence

During a recent CAAWS workshop (Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity) I suddenly realized why working with others to improve your fundamental movement skills was so important. In the process of completing the challenges with others, you are investing in your Emotional Intelligence. For years we have know that most successful leaders have a high E.Q. and research shows that it is far more important than a high I.Q.. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively manage your own and others’ emotions. It focuses on emotional connections, emotional management and self- awareness. A high E.Q. enables a person to handle stress, change, uncertainty, ambiguity and demonstrate resiliency. It therefore allows a person to face the challenges and demands of day to day living.

In the 55+ group, individuals deal with ongoing multiple changes to themselves, to their companions and to their environment, without a high E.Q. coping can be quite a challenge.

In the Fundamental Movement Workshops individuals learn more about themselves. After the self-assessment they understand their strengths and weaknesses and once complete they are able to objectively see what actually exists rather than what they wish or fear. They also have the ability to look for new information that confirms, justifies and supports feelings, thoughts and perceptions.

The 55+ group need activities that enable the building of Emotional Self-Awareness, activities that develop the ability to know and understand oneself, or to be aware of ones thoughts and feelings and know why they are experiencing them. They need activities that develop Self-Regard or Optimism so that they have the ability to be decisive but humble and they have the ability to persist in the face of adversity.

One of the fundamental movements is walking, you can start with a self assessment of the skill however working with someone else allows the activity to strengthen your EQ. Begin by assessing your posture from top of the head to the base of the ankle. On the website you can download an assessment tool which you can use as a guide. When working with a partner focus on empathy, recognize and understand your partner’s thoughts and feelings as you give feedback. Clearly express your thoughts and feelings, this giving and receiving helps maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. While walking watch the placement of the foot and the swing of the arm, give continual feedback. Throughout the walk maintain a positive attitude and outlook.

On the website you will find continued updates on the importance of a high Emotional Intelligence as well other related research.

“In those fields I have studied, emotional intelligence is much more powerful than I.Q. in determining who emerges as a leader. I.Q. is a threshold competence- you need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional Intelligence can.” Warren Bennis.

Self assessment Tool

This is a self assessment tool developed by the “Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity”, print a copy for your personal use.  To assess your posture correctly, stand in front of a full length mirror and examine your profile from the left side, from the right side and finally facing the mirror. Is the frame of your body straight, are your shoulders level, are your shoulders or back rounding. Start at the top of your head and work your way down to your feet. 

Self assessment tool 1.0

You are the product of many years of living a life and being employed in a variety of jobs. You may have developed a bad habit through these years which may affect your balance and flexibility in the near or distant future. Knowledge is power, if you see a problem, develop a plan to correct it. 

Testing Your Fudamental Movements


Once a year you should test your Fundamental Movement Skills, if one of them is weak or missing all may not be lost. Through a variety of simple activities you may be able to get the skill back.

It is important to maintain each fundamental movement skill. Researchers do not know what cognitive skill fired up when you acquired a specific Movement skill. They do know for sure that neurons that fire together are wired together. They also know a second thing about neurons “Use or Lose It”! At different points in your life the brain does a self assessment and it trashes any neurons that are not being used or that the body no longer seems to require.

The question is : If a FMS or movement neuron is gone what cognitive neurons is also gone or is in jeopardy?

Read this related article produced by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portfolio

Fast Twitch Fibers

Your fast twitch fibers are important to maintain, they are what help you respond to a sudden change in your walking surface, helping to prevent falls, the leading medical issue as a person ages. One of the ways to test your fast twitch fibers is by jumping.


it is important to practice your jump technique by jumping over a board, line, or book. Make sure both feet travel together, use your arms and legs to propel you over the object landing on both feet at the same time, knees bent.

Stand with two feet together in front of a raised platform that is about 6 inches or 15 cm off the ground. Use your arms and legs to propel yourself up onto the raised platform, landing both feet at the same time, knees bent.


Fundamental Movements Skills

The Fundamental Movement Skills develop in children between the ages of 6 and 11 years. The current approved Ministry Curriculum in Ontario emphasises the need to design activities which promote the development of these skills.

Maintaining your Fundamental Movement skills is very important. As a child, motor development skills were happening at the same time as cognitive development skills and neurons that fire together are wired together. So if you test your fundamental movement skills periodically and they are fine then you are pretty well sure that your cognitive skills are in good shape as well. Strong performances of the FM skills require good balance and some agility, so testing them is also of benefit.

The tests to check your FM skills are not complicated but because they are not a part of our regular routine we often fail to know that we are losing them.

To test your balance all you need to do is stand on a line with one foot in front of the other with the heel of the front foot in line with the toes of the back foot. Hold steady for a minimum of 20 seconds, then reverse your feet and try it a second time for 20 seconds. Now try it with your eyes closed.

If your balance is off you could be at risk for falling, practice maintaining your balance on a regular basis. Practice for about 21 days, then retest as above.