Claim Your Natural Movement (GUEST POST)

(photo by Imani Clovis)

I often get so passionate about the nutrition side of wellness, that I forget the physical aspect of things. Good health isn't just about what you put in your body, but what you do with it as well! So my friend Joshua Colea, a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach, is here today to give some tips on how to benefit from moving our bodies more! So without any further ado...

Claim Your Natural Movement
When you think about ancestral movement, does the image of a big box with fluorescent lights, cables, padded benches and running machines that take you nowhere come to mind? Likely not. Look, I’m not here to bash gyms. I think they’re a great place to develop and strengthen the body. That said, just like the way some of us strive to emulate our ancestral diet in a modern world, so too can we emulate movement. In both cases, it will only be a replication. We can’t go back to what it actually was and trying to do that is not helpful. Though what we can do is work to take components of our natural patterns and place them where they fit in the modern world. (No gym required)

So here are 5 tips to help you get back to natural movement.

1. Change your Mindset
A lot of us are mostly set in the way of thinking that the gym is the only place for exercise. Really, the gym is just one tiny twig on the huge tree of movement that is available to us in our world. You can really make anything a workout. Begin to look at the world around you as a playground. If you’re cooking and need to reach something in the bottom cabinet, do a full squat to reach it instead of just bending down to get it. Walking down the street, you see a bench. Jump up on top, walk across it and jump down. You can hang on the overhead bar on the bus or train. Stand up and stretch out every so often when you’re sitting for a long time. It might feel weird at first but hey, beats going to the gym right? Simply bringing movement to your awareness will open up a whole new world of insight towards exercising. These habits really add up to create an amazing impact on your body’s health and capabilities.

2. Walk more
So you may have heard stuff like “park further away from the store so you walk more.” Thing is, little habits like that can be huge! As humans, we are made to move. I think people would be surprised to know just how beneficial walking can be. Just light walking is extremely beneficial in building endurance, stamina even boosting metabolism. If you need any more motivation, remember the saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Well you definitely want the ability to walk, right? Aside from parking as far as possible from the grocery store, here are a few ways to create habits that put more walking into your day. You could start a morning routine, going for a 10-20 minute walk before you start your day. That way you have a moment to get some movement in and clear your mind for the day ahead. You could also think about places you go that are near your home. If they are close enough, instead of driving you could walk there. Or maybe a friend lives nearby, take a walk over there!

3. Focus on perfecting movement patterns
As humans, there are a few different movement patterns that we are designed to do and most of us do every single day. These are: squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, bending and lifting and rotating. Here’s a modern day example. Imagine someone leaving their house. They walk to their car, open the driver door and perform and lunge with a twist to get in the car. They drive to the grocery store, walk to the front and pull open the door. Then find the juice aisle and notice the gallon is on the bottom shelf, so they bend down and lift it into the cart.

Though these movements seem simple, it’s really important to do them well to both prevent injury and become as healthy and strong as possible. Here is a great place to get started thinking about those movements.

4. Think About Your Focus
After you get the basic human movement patterns dialed in, you can start to look at goals you have. Everyone has different goals when it comes to exercise. Some people want to be strong, others want to have endurance and some want to perform well in their sport. Each one of those goals are achieved through different modalities of training. If you’re going for general fitness, you might not need a lot of extra weights and equipment and if you want to gain strength, start to think about what equipment you might need for that. From a health and longevity standpoint, it’s a good idea to train a little bit of everything but there might be a focus area that you either like or are interested in the most.

5. Listen to Your Body
When you take a moment to breathe, check in with your body, and take a break from all the noise of the day, you may start to hear things your body is telling you. Check in, do you feel tired or sore? It might be a good idea to invest in a foam roller and spend some time with that or move around joints that feel still, like wrists and ankles. You might check in and feel a little stagnant. It might then be a good time to go for a run or work on perfecting those movement patterns. Feeling really good? Drop down for some push ups and squats. Make it your own time. Exercising should be enjoyable and fun. If you hate it, might be a good idea to change it. I think there’s so much pressure and guilt around exercising. Let’s change that and make it fun.

The body is made for constantly varied movement. It’s how we work. Take this next week to really become conscious of your movement patterns. Walk a little more, tune into what your body is trying to tell and and take a lot at which movement patterns needs attention. Move well and feel great!

You can check out more of Joshua's work, read his articles, and hire him for personal coaching on his website here, and be sure to follow him on instagram for motivating content!

That's all for this week!

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