Difference Between Locomotion and Movement

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between Locomotion and Movement

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To perform any daily activity, we need to change our body positions and make some movements, as well as move from one location to another. It has just become as normal as breathing, although breathing is also considered a part of the movement; for instance, the air is being inhaled and exhaled from one position. All sorts of living beings on the earth have motion. And without any motion, the world we see today wouldn't have existed. Because to work is to be in motion, any non-living object is motionless, as are some humans and animals who have been diagnosed with serious diseases.

Different objects have different types of motion, as well as different laws and workflows. Many scientists became interested in such subjects and created controllable non-living objects, allowing us to move and locate anywhere else. inventions such as the locomotive train, diesel engines, bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles, among others. To operate such a machine, we practise both movement and locomotion. Because the machine requires movement of our body parts to operate, and the machine assists us in locating from one location to another (which fulfils locomotion as well as movement activity).

We tend to make mistakes using these two terminologies interchangeably when they have different meanings and functions to perform. Although both locomotion and movement, help our human body put itself in motion, we'll see how they differ below to help us understand and clarify the concepts of both terminologies.

Locomotion Vs. Movement

Locomotion and movement are the visible activities that encounter the energies in the organism. Such activity keeps us in a constant state of movement and locomotion. However, as previously stated, there is a fine line between locomotion and movement as they are incorporated into the organism, particularly in animals. In continuation, animals are not the only ones who show movements; plants also show interesting movements. It will be easier to conclude the difference after discussing the minute differences between each terminology below.

It is commonly believed that locomotion is a shifting change in nature and organisms, such as earth rotation, birds flying from one place to another, humans travelling to work every day, and the rest of all the common activities that a living organism does, which include shifting from one place to another. Some microorganisms don't have a specialised structure that could accomplish locomotion from one place to another. Hence, microorganisms and plankton don't require energy to move from place to place, as they take advantage of nature's wind or water.

Furthermore, in modern society, such locomotion occurs as easily as possible, not only by walking, jumping, and swimming but also by a variety of transportation services. It has evolved to such a level that some of the transportation services have become the lifeline of the nation.

To achieve locomotion the utmost and most necessary thing to do would be; to move. The movements help us locomote from place to place, and not just visible movement but also an invisible movement that takes place inside the body of each organism, whether it be a human being or an animal. The movement of various objects and things started even before time existed, before the existence of our now-known universe. The movement is an eternal part of the universe, for these are the ones that, with slight changes, created the universe we live in today.

Furthermore, the movements that are visible and non-visible play a vital role in all living organisms functioning at full efficiency. For some, the movements are aided by external body parts, whereas for others, they are aided by internal body parts. As people age, their movements become more fluid. They start by crawling, and with time they learn to walk, run, and move in a variety of ways. The movement helps us and other objects in motion to move from one place to another.

With specific details and discussion, we will learn the difference between movement and locomotion and use the terms for what they are.

Difference Between Locomotion and Movement in Tabular Form

Parameters Locomotion Movement
Meaning The clear change in the position of an object or living being from point A to point B is known as locomotion. The Movement can take place without a clear change in position. As a simple movement can be done without changing position.
Applicable On The locomotion is applicable on earth only, in air, water and land. The movement doesn't require any specific environment, it can even takes place in space.
Level The locomotion takes place on the organism level. The movement takes place on a biological level.
Energy The location change is necessary; hence, the locomotion can be energy-consuming. The location change is not necessary and hence the energy is less consumed.
Voluntarism The locomotion is voluntary, since, the object at rest won't be able to move on its own. The movement can happen both voluntarily and involuntarily.
Types   Various types of locomotion are running, jumping, walking, and swimming. Various types of biological movements are Amoeboid Movement, Ciliary Movement, and Muscular Movement.

What is a Locomotion? 

The first thing that shows up when you browse for "locomotion" is either a locomotive train that was created in the year 1825 or the meaning of the word "locomotion," which is falsely described on some websites as "travelling." Yes, it is travelling, but not completely, and that is not the basic definition of locomotion. As can be expected, the name of the locomotion train too was given by the means of locomotion, i.e., "locomote" means to have the power or force to move from one place to another.

Movement is one of the basic characteristics of all living organisms. Every parent memorialises the first time their kids start to crawl and walk from one place to another, and it is emblemed as a sociocultural milestone. The ability to move independently is the birth right of any living creature, whether it be animal or human.

As they say, everything starts with baby steps, and it truly does. The baby starts to crawl, roll, creep, and try to stand, and when they do that, they try to walk, and slowly, with each step they take, they learn to walk, and with the process, they even run. Surely, to reach the phase of walking, there are several transitions one must make. The change one goes through is to first become an efficient and safe locomotor, and later on, with time, it becomes slow and efficient. The challenges for an older living organism may include falling due to health risks and negative impacts on quality of life.

There is a musculoskeletal system in the human body, also known as the locomotor system, which organises the locomotion of human beings. The help of skeletal and muscle structure; makes us capable of moving. This human locomotory organ provides support, shape, movement, and body stability.

There are three types of muscles involved in the human body's locomotion. Those are skeletal muscles, which aren't under the control of the human being, and they are present in the legs, neck, face, and so on.  The smooth muscle is the second type of muscle, that cannot be easily controlled by a human, such muscle movements are caused by the autonomic nervous system and are not striated. And thirdly, there is the cardiac muscle, which is generally observed in the heart and is striated.

What is a Movement?

All the living beings in the universe come across the movement, at various stages, including cellular, tissue, organ, or the entire organism. Movements are the most visible means of the expenditure of energy that has been stored in an organism. Likewise, it is observed, in all living organisms (vertebrates and invertebrates), including plants. In some living beings, movement is carried out with the help of external body parts, and in others, it is performed by internal body parts.

Although in biology, there are three types of movements: ciliary movement, amoeboid movement, and muscular movement. White blood cells, cytoskeletons, and microfilaments are examples of amoeboid movements in our bodies. The internal tubular organs, cilia present in our trachea, and the ova in the female reproductive system exhibit ciliary types of movement. And whenever we move our limbs or stretch our backs, such activities fall under muscular movements. And every movement is the result of the coordination of the three previously mentioned biological movements. Moreover, muscular movements are further classified into two major groups, such as voluntary and involuntary movements.

Voluntary movements are those that can be controlled by living beings, such as stretching, typing, running, swimming, and so on. The motions that are not under our control are called involuntary movements, such as digestion of food, breathing, blood circulation, exchange of gases, and so on. Additionally, there are umpteen cellular movements that take place in humans, animals, and even plants. Movement is also observed in plants, unlike locomotion.

The processes carried out by the involuntary movement in nature and living beings create energy. This energy has helped us grow exponentially as living beings, and with every passing day, the movements of the growing human get better and more flexible. In old age or the case of any person infected by the disease, such involuntary movements are affected, and hence, the body can't function at full energy.

Thus, movement is a change in the state of rest or motion; it can also be defined as the displacement of body parts.

Main Difference Between Locomotion and Movement in Points

  • The basic and chief difference between both terms is their definition. The motion of a living being with the body at rest, whether, visible or non-visible, internal or external body parts included, is defined as a movement. Locomotion is the movement of a stationary object or living being from one place to another.
  • The visible difference between the two terminologies is the position. In the case of locomotion, there is a clear change in the position of an object or living being, whereas, in the case of movement, the same cannot be true, as, for some movements, a change in position is not necessary.
  • The movement described above occurs only in living organisms. Likewise, in the case of locomotion, it can take place in living as well as non-living things. Such a living being can locomote from one place to another with various movements, but with that, the living being can also control non-living motional objects such as railways, buses, bicycles, and so on.
  • The locomotion is done voluntarily, as the object at rest won't be moving on its own. On the contrary, the movement can be voluntary and involuntary, such as the movement of external and internal body parts.
  • The above factor creates one of the most exclusive exceptions in the case of movement that doesn't apply to locomotion, i.e., movements that can take place even in plants internally. The same does not apply to locomotion.
  • Both terms involve the consumption of energy, but the energy consumed in locomotion is greater since one has to change positions from point A to point B. The energy consumption in movement terminology is quite low, but some actions do require energy.
  • The level of locomotion at which it takes place is organism level; on the other hand, the level of movement at which it takes place is biological.
  • There are three types of locomotion: aquatic locomotive, land locomotive, and air locomotive. There are various ways of moving, such as climbing, walking, swimming, crawling, moving a fingertip, and so on.


Taking in all the points in this article, I believe it clears any query related to locomotion and movement. Furthermore, humans and any other living organism bear both of these terms as their most important features. The one who can move on his own will always have the advantage over the one who can't, but that's a different matter.

To conclude this article, the human body needs to move and travel so it can maintain balance. Also, our history and present show us how easy, causal, and of utmost importance these two terminologies are. Without any motion, no agenda can be achieved.


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"Difference Between Locomotion and Movement." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sun. 19 May. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-locomotion-and-movement-1129>.

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