By Coach Pax
There are two types of people in the world - those who enjoy exercise and those who don’t. However, there’s an important commonality between the two - they both have bio-”logical” bodies that need specific and intelligent care. The bad news is whether you like to exercise or not, you’re going to have to move to stay healthy. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be difficult or costly, you don’t have to pump iron or set aside two hours a day for 5 days a week to visit the gym. All you need to do is start thinking slightly differently and you’ll see new opportunities to move spring up in front of you over the course of the day. Here’s what I suggest you start with:
We lay our body down to sleep each night, then we wake and get it back up again. Sounds easy enough, right? But what if your bed was on the floor, like during a camping trip? Or what if your daughter fell asleep on the carpet but you wanted to lift her onto the bed? Performing these movements, safely and with grace, can call into question even the fittest person's capabilities. For example, do your joints have the range of motion to do a smooth squat or half-kneel and from that position, can you lift a child-sized object off the ground safely? Have you ever tried any of the many different ways we can go from laying to standing and vice versa, but without using our hands at all? The idea of the “get-up” offers a lot of options, so we urge you to start challenging yourself with interesting ways of practicing them.
Crawling is a very effective way to strengthen the whole body. Spending just a few minutes a day practicing different crawls can make your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, and core coordinated and able to support your weight in doing these “ground movements”. This builds confidence and could save you from falling on your face if the real world ever trips you up. Plus, it’s fun! For example, we like to teach how to move like different animals: the bear, cat, crab and many more! We find these metaphors are effective at getting our members moving in creative ways and though crawling may sound like something we only do as babies, it’s a challenge that any adult will receive benefits from.
Whether you take the stairs at work or go hiking, you’re doing step-ups. These come in all shapes and sizes, and because of that, we need our joints and tissues to be ready for all of it. Healthy ankles, knees, and hips can get us onto that tall rock in the forest or just as well, power through a thousand small step-ups on the park staircases you do your conditioning runs on. We can move quickly, working on power and explosiveness, and we can move slow, working on stability and end-range mobility. Strengthening your step-up is a sure way to be a more resilient human.
Squatting is basically sitting, but not the kind of sitting that’s been likened to smoking cigarettes, no. The squat is one of the most common resting positions humans use all over the world today. People can use this position in many practical ways, for example: drop down to toddler height and play with your nephew, take a trip to India and be able to use the ground level toilets they have (which are more natural for us, mind you), or come to Restore Human and use the squat as a strength building exercise to lift progressively heavier objects off the ground safely. The bottom line here is, whether you do any of these things regularly, your spine, hips, knees, and ankles were designed for it, so you owe it to your body to practice squatting.
Barefoot is the way we’ve performed walking, running, dancing, hunting and jumping for a very long time. Shoes are a considerably recent development for us and although they protect our feet in some ways, they also have their detriments. We promote a barefoot training space, not only to slowly undo the negative side effects caused by the compressing and over-cushioning of our feet but also, of course, to strengthen them in a variety of ways. We bounce, hop, walk on logs and large ropes, learn to balance on one leg and so on. Feet are the foundation - learn to trust them and please take them outside once in a while!
These are just a few of our favorites. Together, these movements make up a solid foundation for daily body maintenance. As you can see, they are not too tough or complicated, and honestly, the best exercise rarely is. We’re aiming at sustainable, long-term fitness and taking your practice outside of the gym and into the context of your daily life will help you achieve just that. Start small, practice every day and let us know if you need guidance – Restore Human is here to help.