Much like Organic food was hardly talked about a decade ago but is now a household name, many are predicting the same trajectory for Movement culture. As more people move to urban landscapes and live deskbound lives, likely tempered with just a few hours of a singular “fitness” activity each week, we are our own guinea pigs – and time is the true test of the repercussions.
Is standing is the new sitting?
We are beginning to realize it’s not any one thing that contributes to an outcome. Standing desks are trending right now – but standing all day is no better than sitting all day. We started sitting because we used to stand all day, and that was detrimental. Now we’re realizing that so is sitting. Every action we take – or don’t – determines the “loads” we place upon our body. This means if you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, you are likely rotating between a few positions every day throughout that time. Yes, you are rotating, but it’s still a small selection of very limited loads. This determines which muscles develop – and which atrophy. This is true even of things that are well-intentioned, like training in a particular discipline. It is beneficial to a point, but we often see over-use injury when we prioritize certain muscles or movements at the cost of the whole system’s health.
Movement as nutrition
More and more people are having to learn this the hard way. The advent of so many diseases and injuries related to stagnation and fragility in the body is unprecedented. Especially in contrast to the amount of information we have available. In this modern culture of “convenience”, some have aptly re-named our species ‘Homo sapiens domesticus fragilis’, a sadly ironic and too-accurate statement. Our bodies are unfathomably complex. They perform more functions in a day than we ever acknowledge. Yet we reduce them to a fraction of their capacity. We dull our senses. We glorify sterile environments at the cost of our own resiliency, and it is now coming back to bite us.
This explains the all-too-common phenomenon of a twisted ankle caused by simply stepping off of a curb, or a thrown-out back from putting a child in a car seat. It might seem mind-boggling that the weight of a child could cause you injury when you lift loads five times heavier in the gym. But it’s not, when it comes down to it. The gym scenario is a “perfect” condition: you can pick up X amount when it’s on a rack, lifted in a specific direction, over & over. But life is not perfect or predictable – it’s far from it. Exposure to constantly varying elements in an environment is what keeps us capable, healthy, resilient. It’s what keeps us able to take actions that are actually relevant to our daily lives and the stimuli in them. It’s the “preventative medicine” – our “movement nutrition”, so to speak. And I think most of us prefer to learn our lessons by choice, not necessity (pre-hab versus rehab.)
What is movement to me?
Movement is amorphous. It is cross-disciplinary. It changes tempo, character, function… It is about generating new neural pathways and firing new muscles more often than not. It’s about unlocking more of the potential innate to these physical bodies that are ultimately our only lifelong companions. Movement is relevant to anyone that has a body. Contrary to whatever story you might be operating from: “I’m too stiff/old/busy/shy/etc. to do this”, there is something for you to do. From juggling to dance to restorative yoga to martial arts, the possibilities are truly endless.
This is why I have chosen this Movement journey as a lifestyle and career path. I am obsessed with pushing the edges of human potential, exploring the mind-body connection, and relishing the physical nature of this human experience to the fullest. For me, physicality is inseparable from mental, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal health. I am simultaneously humbled and empowered everyday by my relationship to movement. It permeates every part of my life. I also know that not everyone is as interested or able to explore these realms as I am, so I’ve made it my mission to wholeheartedly pursue them in order to distill and deliver the insights and information gleaned. Movement is for everyone, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than support others in exploring their own mind-body connection.