Fitting In vs. Healthy Movement
These days it is strange to see someone just randomly moving around in public. To squat while waiting for the bus or to stretch while in line for a coffee are outside of the norm and can result in more than a few glances. Or perhaps it may strike up a new conversation about what you’re doing and why. It can become problematic for us over time to choose to "fit in" and "behave" like so called "adults". When it comes down to it our movement capabilities as a species are in decline and with declining movement comes declining health. It is estimated that we move around 700 times a day (yes two zero’s) LESS than our earlier ancestors.
The question becomes what are we doing to compensate for our lack of movement? A 30 minute HIIT workout at the gym will not cut it and may even result in injury without also including regular daily movements in the program. Since many people are moving like everyone else around them rather then counteracting our modern lifestyles can look strange when in fact it is normal for our species. In essence fitting in may mean settling for being less healthy and vibrant than you could be.
Is it weird to move around throughout the day in diverse and different ways? Maybe walking in straight lines isn’t all it’s cut out to be. Unless you’re in a rush to get somewhere then walking or running straight is the best choice for sure, but otherwise maybe a lateral shuffle on your way to the store could be good for your lateral stabilizing muscles and fun! Humans are not linear but it is often considered appropriate to move this way for some reason. Expressive movement is not really welcomed at a board meeting or in many other public situations.
This is more concerning today in a world where we can get by with quite limited ranges of motion - but simply getting by is not what we are here for. Just "getting by" with your range of motion will FOR SURE lead to pain and/or discomfort in some shape or form down the road. Figuring out a way to bring more diverse, dynamic and expressive movement into your daily life (not just workouts) will help you thrive for many years to come, although it may seem a bit odd at first.
Take the following activities for example that are typically considered normal:
-Sitting in chairs for extended periods of time
-Looking down at the phone on the bus
-Walking the same way all the time in linear, proper and appropriate fashion on flat surfaces
Now take these activities that are very good for us, but could be considered weird:
-Squatting to wait for a bus, to eat or go to the toilet (PS. squat toilets are making a comeback!)
-Stretching on the bus (sitting in a compressed posture is often considered normal)
-Walking laterally or backwards, shuffling to work, side stepping your way home
-Dancing like nobody's watching at the pub (isn’t that what you’re supposed to do after a few drinks?!)
-Sitting on the floor
-Laying on something not made of memory foam
-Balancing on one leg
-Looking up (hellllloooo blue sky!!)
The common modern-day human has come to believe that if we are doing a movement then there should be some purpose of reason for that movement. The problem with this is that we don’t do a lot of purposeful movement anymore. We have outsourced many movements to far away manufacturing firms so somebody else does the labour to provide us with a device that does the work for us. The remote control replaced getting up to change the channel, the automatic car replaced the manual one, the button key replaced the turn your wrist key, the gas fire replaced the one you had to make with your own two hands. In the kitchen instant foods like a brownie mix replaced good old elbow grease to beat the eggs.... The List Goes On. Much of our daily work and activities require very basic range of motion, limited movement and is often seated.
I wonder if we could create a world where the modern human feels free and safe to move around in ways similar of our ancestors. No, we aren't hunting and gathering, and yes we have flat concrete streets and iPhones, and this is not a bad thing! Lets be grateful for the fact that we do not have to hunt our dinner and with modern technologies we can spend more time exploring our movement! I think all it takes is a little courage, an open mind and a willingness to maybe not fit in. What if the purpose of our movement is to just move. Movement for health, happiness and expression. To move because the quality of our lives depend on it.