Ok, so what do I mean by ‘moving naturally‘? Surely we all do that all day long anyway? And even if you sit a bit for work, then you can work some movement in at the gym and it’s great, right?
Unsure as to how to describe what I mean by all of this, as I wondered how to word it, I bumped into my wonderful friend and physiotherapist (in our local cafe while taking a break from our new walking to work/creche thing – though daughter getting used to no buggy much quicker than I thought!) . I told her about my New Year challenge of getting more movement into my daily life and she put it rather well: “We are designed to move“. With that as a starting point I will go on…
Exercise at the gym is a form of movement. But that is all. One form under the umbrella term of movement. And the thing I am learning about movement is that just as it’s good for us to eat a variety of different foods, our bodies work best when we move in a variety of different ways.
But we don’t! Even if you exercise a lot, it is likely you are not moving in a variety of different ways. If you walk to work (the main picture is of my walk to work, by the way!) you walk on a flat terrain. So your feet, ankles and beyond don’t get the chance to flex in the hundreds (thousands?) of different ways they are capable of (and designed to do). And you’re possibly doing it in heels anyway (even you guys and even kids…! See here if you don’t believe me) which throws you all out of whack.
So you cycle to work? Great – much more movement than sitting in a car or on the bus. But cycling is sitting and then you go to the office and sit some more? It’s variety I am after.
After work you go to the gym and to 3 x sets of 12 on a good few machines, or using your body weight. Great! But what happens to the muscles NEXT to the muscles you are working? I don’t know, to be honest, but look at the links I list as my inspiration and what they say makes sense (and, in the spirit of scientific enquiry and evidence based learning, are backed up by people who have studied this for very many years and who have taken in 100s of empirical studies – not including what Google says as that doesn’t count as research). And still, the joints, muscles and your body in general is capable of so much more, designed for so much more and crying out for so much more (well, regarding the latter mine certainly is).
From what I understand, you can be sitting in your office chair. You get up and out of it probably around 30-50 (more?) times a day. But you get up using your arms or lean forward with your feet back so you let gravity do a bit of the work. With very little adjustment you could just do 50 or more reps with muscles moving naturally every time you get up out of your chair. As the video shows, maybe you have a standing desk. Great! But then you stand all day. And hairdressers & factory workers aren’t immune to sticky muscles… Again, it is about variety. DYNAMIC, natural movement. Change it up!
When I first read Katy Bowman I didn’t really get it, to be honest. I was coming from zero understanding. Zero, only a few weeks ago. But she writes so well, and it took only a few posts before it clicked. Then I accidentally bought all of her books (Kindle one-click is dangerous and I must not buy any more books this month…) and, as you can see, am really taking them to heart.
I have LOADS of ‘sticky’ muscles. I’m sort of a bit hunched over due to, I think, tight shoulders. I can’t touch my toes. If I reach up for something over my head my arms cannot do that alone – they take my whole ribcage with them. I use a computer a lot so my wrists and hands sometimes just don’t feel right. My tummy is still out there and I am starting to learn that it’s more due to alignment rather than strength (and so I am avoiding the short term gain of getting it flat given all I am learning about what that could mean for the rest of my body).
So, I have a lot to work on. And I am in it for long term gain. I always, always, always had this feeling that excessive gym work was about short term gains and not what I was looking for, personally. This all feels good, for me. I read something by Deepack Chopra, somewhere, which said you should exercise half as much as you are capable of, meaning if you can push yourself to swim 50 lengths it doesn’t mean it’s good for you in the long term, so swim 25. Interesting sentiment.
I am starting with restorative moves and stretches throughout my day. Very simple and gentle (I don’t have access to a trained personal trainer through all of this so am being very sensible). And working on moving more, dynamically, during my daily life.
On that note, I have started with walking to the creche, the little one too. And we are loving it! It means we both start our day with a good 35 minute stroll and end our day with one too. Now I just have to learn how to walk better…more about that later!
This blog is about how I interpret the information I am reading, how I misinterpret it, how I make mistakes, get it wrong, discover where I’m getting it wrong, start doing it better. If you want to create your own moving naturally goals, go direct to the source and read Katy Bowman and/or work with a PT who is trained in this area (many aren’t – many gave me programmes to follow which did my core and pelvic floor no good). I’ll post more links and resources soon.