There is a prevailing mindset these days concerning health, fitness and well-being that has spawned what is probably a multi-billion dollar industry.
As a result, most of our clients are people who injure themselves trying to get healthy.
Advances in technology allow a satellite to monitor our heart rate, our breathing, our blood pressure and count how many steps we've taken from the car to the desk. And yet, the actual understanding of fitness seems to be getting lost.
In short, we're buying products and paying for services that promise to help us reach goals. Those goals are determined by the standard the industry sets for itself. (Example: If I want to sell weigh benches, I want the public to think that big muscles = fitness. Or, if I sell cosmetics I want you to believe that smooth skin = health.)
But, what is 'fitness'? And what is 'health'?
I've worked with guys who were so muscle bound that they lacked endurance. Where they 'fit'?
I look at the guys and gals on the covers of health magazines and I question, "How do I know they're healthy?" They might have picture-perfect bodies but are dealing with "diseases of captivity"* - high blood pressure, thyroid problems, diabetes. And I wonder, what's their range of motion? I really don't know.
We're offered health idols based on an appearance, and often, little else.
And, based on that standard, we're sold products like treadmills and elliptical machines, free-weights and dumb-bells, and exercise programs - all designed to strengthen our muscles in an attempt to conform our shape to the statue ... err .. standard of what fitness 'looks like'.
In the next few weeks, we would like to challenge the conventional approach to fitness and wellness. In particular, we want to examine the differences between 'exercise' and 'movement', as well as between what good health 'looks like' and how it actually manifests.
One of the most exciting directions Gina and my practices(s) have taken recently is the discovery (by Gina) of Katy Bowman's work, and her emphasis on 'nutritious movement',
We've learned and continue to learn that health and fitness have a lot to do with being able to function naturally in a natural environment.
Our intention is to present insights concerning the body's design (anatomy) and function (physiology) in a clear and understandable way - hopefully without your eyes glazing over.
We believe that the better informed our clients are, the more equipped they are to know what's actually supportive for them, instead of taking the industry's word for it. The great thing about knowledge is that it equips you to ask better questions!
We'll talk about muscles and how they're designed to function, and the role posture plays in tendons, ligaments and whether or not it makes sense to go to the gym after sitting all day.
We'll also offer practical suggestions to reclaim movement opportunities throughout your day.
You'll be amazed at how much natural movement there is to be experienced, free-of-charge and without carving out any extra time in the day to do it.
For example: When walking from my car to my office, I've begun walking on the curb instead of the blacktop... ya know, like we did as kids!
Why do we stop doing this as grown-ups? I don't know.
But, I do know that a simple thing like balancing on a slight curb brings movement ... natural movement ... into my otherwise non-movemental day, (And, yeah, I did just make that word up).
It costs me no money, it costs me no time, and I gain the benefit of engaging my core muscles, all the while, starting off my work day doing something fun!
That's what we're talking about. Reclaiming movement as opposed to (or in addition to) 'exercising'.
Here are some upcoming topics that are sure to challenge the Conventional Fitness Paradigm:
- What is meant by 'nutritious movement'?
- What is muscular strength really?
- Does lifting weights provide the same benefit (nutrition) to the body as climbing a tree?
- Why treadmill walking is NOT the same as walking outside
- The difference between isolationist and holistic workouts
- How can small things like walking on a curb possibly be as effective as a workout routine?
- But your ____ hurts, and what if you can't do a lot of the stuff we suggest?
We also invite you (and this is important) to send us your thoughts and questions. (You can comment below, or privately.)
There's no sense in us just talking about what WE think is important.
As we explain the benefits of natural movement, we need to hear from you concerning the challenges and difficulties of moving more and sitting less in your every day life.
Is it a deal? Good. :)
==> Here's some homework until the next time: Pay attentionto how often 'Fitness', 'Healthy', 'Wellness' and 'Health Care' are used in commercials, logos, and other forms of advertising, and ask yourself, 'What are they REALLY selling me?" What images are being held up as the ideal?
Write your answers down and hang on to them. Throughout this series, we'll have you come back to this and draw comparisons between what they're selling and what natural movement offers.
Next week: Working Out vs Working Outside.
In the meantime, stay outta the news!
(*A phrase coined by biomechanist Katy Bowman, to describe the health conditions that may have a strong root in a sedentary lifestyle, reinforced by an environment that doesn't require us to move much. ~ G)