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  • Derek

Movements we're Losing

Human beings are losing the ability to perform natural movements more and more with each passing year. How often have you been in a situation that requires you to move to the ground, or into a position that makes you think "oh, I can't do that" rather than simply doing it without humans evolved to do.

Whether you're starting a campfire, gardening, cleaning, picking something up off the floor, tying your shoe or another movement/activity;

Can you MOVE without thinking about it or do you grunt, groan and regret the fact that you even attempted it??

(Which one are you?)

Our days are spent in chairs, couches, cars and other man made contraptions that eliminate the need (and ability) to be on the ground and in a variety of different positions. Our ancestors didn't have to be concerned with this, whereas today we have to make a concious effort to balance out our movement and rest "abilities" to ensure our body is moving through a variety of motions.

* MovNat (founded by Erwan Le Corre) is a wonderful company that has been around since 2008 and brings "Moving Naturally" back into frame for modern day humans. They have a wonderful article I've come across several times called "10 Human Movements that are going Extinct". Scary and true!

* Katy Bowman (biomechanist and author of several awesome books) pushes the fact that MOVEMENT and EXERCISE are two different things, and that MOVEMENT is what is natural to our body (vs our modern day definition of exercise). Here's an old video that I've watched several times, showing you how her home is designed to create more movement in her and her family's days.

* Anna Hartman (Athletic Therapist and founder of Movement Rev) takes this same concept one step further to explain how we don't even REST the same way anymore! Her article about rest postures has been a go-to of mine for years and more similar articles have come to the forefront since. It's the premise that for most of us, we can't even get INTO those natural human rest postures anymore! Scary, but true.

What are you getting at Coach D??

I came across the campfire picture from our few days away this summer and was reminded of how much we need to offer more practice opportunities for people to re-learn how to move in these ways.

I was also reminded with a handful of clients recently when working on a mobility exercise and realizing that NECK MOBILITY (or lack of) is an important issue right now as well. The first thought was "how do they check over their shoulder in the car without being able to turn their heads easily??". A scary, but realistic thought right? Even over the past couple years, the realization of the inability to properly perform a hinge movement is frightening (and explains many of the aches and pains people complain about).

Here's a thought/fact that was brought to my attention listening to a podcast recently (which may have been the Dr Greg Wells podcast, but I can't remember). They were discussing the fact that as technology advances in very cool ways, we progressively (as human beings) have to move less and less. Some examples of this are robot vacuums and backup/overhead cameras/blind spot cameras and alarms in cars. It seems like an insignificant amount of movement lost right? But that's the issue! We don't realize what it's doing, until we go "uh oh!". It's becoming MORE noticeable in those I work with and meet than not.

How do we reverse these effects?

PRACTICE - Bringing these simple, overlooked movements back into our days on a regular basis. It's a balancing act for sure. I'm not saying you have to avoid all of the awesome technology that's out there, but you may need to consider what that piece of tech is taking away from you, and perhaps how you could balance it with ensuring more movement is fit into your day to make up for it? Better yet, we can start putting more energy into simply MOVING WELL and OFTEN during our days instead of trying to do the biggest, bad ass program that sucks the life out of you (rather than gives you life!).

As you see in Katy Bowman's video in the link above, it's not about doing "an hour of 'x'" or a "6-week program of 'y'"; it's changing your approach to your days and changing your mindset regarding movement.

Here's a few simple ideas to explore and see how they work for you...

1) Put in some dedicated time to mobility work. Taking 10min or more each morning or evening for example to do some deep squats, bends, rotations etc... to add variety to your movement and to ensure the body doesn't get "stuck" in certain "preferred positions".

2) Conciously practice basic human movements while doing other things. My campfire picture above is an example of this. Rather than using a log to sit on, or chair I squat, kneel on the ground etc... to put my body into a variety of positions that last from 30sec to minutes at a time depending on what I'm doing. Gardening is another easy example of this; If you have the ability to practice being on the ground without the use of a bench or stool, do it! Use it or lose it is a real thing!

3) Get on the ground. We don't typically do that anymore unless we have to. In which case it often brings the grunts, groans and/or discomforts, which more often than not are brought on not because we're "getting old", but because we DON'T DO IT. We don't give our body the practice of getting down and up off the floor anymore. It's a good skill to have for your entire lifetime, so it's definitely something to practice and not take for granted.

Overall, it comes down to the basics. Don't overlook the simple small stuff. Definitely don't NEGLECT it. This is a prime example of how little bits over the long haul make a huge difference (be it positive or negative differences).

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