First we all need to understand that we are human beings in a physical body. This is not a choice, but a fact. Therefore, movement is part of our everyday life.
Unfortunately, it seems that for the average person nowadays a lack of movement is more common place.
I often start off talks I do for organizations by breaking down the amount of time we spend sitting in a day and not moving. It’s staggering!
Recent research suggests that a sedentary lifestyle is the worst thing in regards to your health. In other words, someone who is smoking cigarettes but staying active is considered to have better health and more likely to fight off disease than someone who has a sedentary lifestyle.
If you think about that for a second, it makes a lot of sense. Take, for example, your lymphatic system that relies heavily on the cardiovascular system for its circulation. A lack of movement could potentially slow and stagnate this circulation causing toxins to accumulate, and immune cells are not being delivered to the parts of the body where they are needed. Stagnation will occur to any part of the body when that particular part is not being used.
The body is a very efficient machine, but it’s adaptations are dictated by us. Just like the thoughts we choose to entertain in our minds will have a great impact on how we conduct ourselves in our lives, the quality and quantity of movement will have a direct impact on our physical bodies.
Our body will turn over its trillions of cells within a year. How it does this, is in great part dictated by us.
If you decide you are going to be one of those people that sits in a chair for 8 or more hours a day and do not address the cost that has on your body, your body will adapt to that dominant position. This, of course, causes a host of problems, and they get worse before they get better. However they can also be reversed if you pay attention and put in not only the right kind of work, but also the right amount. This is going to look different for everyone and reveals the importance of taking an individual approach.
Some of the best athletes in world may be producing the same kind of world class results but have significantly different training approaches. These highly-tuned individuals have attained the body awareness that enables them to train specifically in line with their individual adaptation capabilities to maximize gains and performance.
So now that we have a better understanding of the cost of what you do and don’t do, let’s talk a little bit about how you can start to approach your training or movement practice with this new perspective.
I feel that taking a look at what you don’t do and addressing it, will usually help the things you do. The things you do all the time you can probably handle doing less of, but the things you don’t do are usually the things you need the most.
These will usually be your weak links. Addressing these is very important if you want to sustain a healthy physical body that’s built for longevity and resilience.
Ask yourself what’s the biggest cost of what you do a lot of, in terms of physical movement, and or lack thereof. If you are sitting all day, chances are you need to work on your mobility and flexibility.
You also need to understand that whether it’s sitting all day or doing cross-fit or even yoga, all of these types of movement/non-movement have a cost on the body. Some are obviously more damaging than others, but we should ultimately all be aiming to achieve some balance in the various types of movement that dominate our day to day lives, if we want to keep enjoying movement into our later years.
It’s also important to take a closer look at the things you are doing. I’ll use the gym as it is a great example and easy to relate to.
While there are many great things you can do in a traditional gym setting, from the broader view of how our bodies move in everyday life, it can quickly become quite limited.
Not only that, but many gym goers are so caught up in only training to achieve a certain look that they won’t even perform many of what I consider to be some of the best exercises. The exercises they do choose they often tend to perform incorrectly and over-train them, leading to a body that is more out of balance and prone to injury.
It comes down to creating and growing your sense of body awareness and different movement you expose yourself to. Start learning about how every individual part of your body is supposed to be able to move, how they move together, and where you are restricted.
I would recommend getting some help along the way. I do this professionally, and I am still constantly discovering new ways to do things and I hire coaches to help me along the way. Keep exploring new ways to move your body and keep asking yourself what the cost is of what you are doing and not doing. Be well!
Phil Wittmer is a Holistic Life Coach who helps his clients improve their strength, movement quality, and every day well being. He takes several different factors into consideration to create programs and coaching strategies that will help his clients achieve their desired results. He has worked with a diverse clientele from professional athletes in the NHL, CFL, NLL and collegiate athletes, to business executives and life coaching clients from all over the country. Phil travels extensively to receive advanced continuing education all around the globe to deliver the best and most up to date information to his clients. He currently works out of a private studio in downtown Vancouver and offers on-line coaching and consulting.