Be a ninja at 90, not a sloth at 60! (HINT: You need to start NOW!)
Whenever I saw pictures of me walking I always KNEW something didn't look quite right, even though I walk the same as everybody else does.
I'm in pretty good shape, always have been.
Injury-wise I've had a few over the years (to be expected really) and little niggles that come and go.
Now I know what the problem was.
AND IT’S RIFE! Everybody walks like this! And we're doing it wrong!
And ironically, it's made WORSE by the health and fitness industry! 🤦♂️
Lifting can mess you up!
(and before the cardio junkies jump in with their “I told you so’s” - that stuff will mess you up just as much if you don’t follow the same rules!)
Who knew?! 🤷♂️
It doesn't mean don't lift - there's no downside to being stronger, ever.
But it does mean you need to pay attention to the way you lift, and the way you move in general.
I've been a barefoot advocate for nearly 20 years.
I've encouraged people to choose alternatives to sitting in chairs and move more.
As I write this, I'm kneeling on the floor (on a mat) NEXT to my office chair (which may soon be with the scrap man BTW).
I'll change between various ground resting positions as I work.
There’s a natural way to move that we’re all born with and we lose it as we get older, not because it’s something we grow out of, but because it’s something we’re coached out of, unintentionally, by our parents and everyone around us who’s living this unnatural life.
Kids are encouraged to walk as soon as possible - MISTAKE! Crawling is how kids develop coordination, strength and natural movement. Late crawlers often make the best athletes!
Crawling is also one of the best ways to rehab movement - shoulders, hips, spine… Good coaches often regress people to crawling to rehab injuries and build natural, safe strength, and help them re-learn coordination and good movement. If crawling is insanely difficult for you - take that as a warning sign that you’re not moving as you should.
Kids are put in shoes almost instantly - HUGE MISTAKE! Those tiny little feet are soft and malleable and developing the way they’re supposed to… until you put a shoe on it! Then you mold those feet into the unnatural shoe shape like the chinese cats in the jars!
If you wrapped their little hands in mittens and then squeezed them into hard leather pouches all day long - how well do you think they’d be able to use their hands??? They’d be deformed and mis-shapen, and you can bet their handwriting would look like a doctor’s!
Then, they go to school and sit in chairs for 6+ hours a day (which continues, for most, right through adulthood until we pop our clogs!). ANOTHER HUGE MISTAKE! Our bodies are designed to move almost continuously. We’re not meant to stay in any one position for extended periods of time (aside from sleep). And sitting in unnatural positions (on a chair) messes us up.
Ground sitting is the natural way. Can’t sit in one position on the floor for long? GOOD! That’s the point - it’s a signal to MOVE!
The aim isn’t to kneel, or squat or even stand for 8 hours straight. It’s to keep moving and changing positions. When we’re dead, we don’t move. When we’re alive, WE MOVE!
Since starting writing this I’ve moved from kneeling (sitting on my feet), to tall kneeling, and I expect shortly I’ll be switching to a half-kneeling position when I get tired of this one.
So if you find a “comfortable” chair that you can plonk yourself in and not move for 3 hours while you watch TV - that chair is not doing you any favours.
If we could change JUST these 3 things (let babies crawl for longer, don’t put anything on their feet, avoid sitting in chairs as much as possible) I personally think we’d eliminate 90% of back pain, knee pain, joint replacements and surgeries and the majority of non-contact injuries.
Let’s make our kids better than us, not worse!
For those of us who’ve already been put through this unwitting torture, we need to address the problems and fix them. You might not have had a hip or knee replacement yet, so let’s keep it that way.
We need to learn to move properly.
Going back to my gut feeling that all was not right when I saw the pictures of me walking - it was all wrong!
And regardless of spending an hour in the gym every day (ironically, reinforcing the bad movement habits much of the time), it’s the habits of the remaining 23 hours that shape us the most.
If you’re walking 10,000 steps a day, do you think that has less of an impact than “3 sets of 10” squats in the gym?!
Pay attention to how you move ALL OF THE TIME. How you walk, sit, stand, run, hop, skip, jump.
There’s a natural way, then there’s the unnatural way we’re unintentionally trained into that causes many of our joint issues and injuries.
I’m still working on my improvements - always will be because we’re living in an unnatural world and I want to be an 80-year-old ninja, not a wheelchair-bound mess waiting for my next hip or knee replacement.
So, what you need to do now is simple.
The first part you can do yourself starting today:
Sit less - find alternative positions to work in. Standing, kneeling, half-kneeling, sitting cross-legged, sitting on the floor… F*** what your co-workers think! This is for you.
Move more - keep moving. Don’t spend prolonged periods in ANY position. Take a walk… do some stretches and mobility work… crawl… PLAY! Do what feels good.
If you’re watching TV, try sitting in different positions for a bit, even if you just start with 5 minutes a day and build up (watching less TV would also be a good move)
Improve or maintain your mobility - go through a full-body mobility routine every day so all your joints and muscles are doing what they’re supposed to at least once a day.
These will have an impact on your health and longevity.
If you want to take it further and really get your body in shape (functionally, not just how it looks), get some help.
Get some coaching on how you can move better - those 10,000 steps a day can either be making you better, or moving you further away from good movement - make them count. That’s a lot of reps.
Start training for better movement.
Again, the hour in the gym won’t make up for the 23 hours outside of the gym, but you can really accelerate your progress if you spend that gym time working on the right things, and likewise, really slow down progress if you spend it working on the wrong things (what I used to do, and what 99+% of gym-goers also do!)
The difference is often subtle, but profound.
No-one would look at how I walked and think anything of it - it looks normal. Don’t be thinking of Kevin Spacey’s character in The Usual Suspects (probably showing my age with that one).
But “normal” isn’t natural. “Normal” is broken.
I’ve changed the way I walk and it feels 100% better, even though I’m not there yet.
It’ll take time and it’ll take even longer to translate that into running, and eventually sprinting.
But there’s a revolution coming in the industry and it’ll be a game-changer.
It’ll also leave a lot of people with a bitter taste in their mouths because what they've been taught all these years is wrong! So it may take some time because there’s going to be some resistance.
But you can start YOUR journey to Moving Better NOW.
You don’t need to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.
Don’t wait for the pain to get unbearable before you do something about it.
And if you want to be better at sports - better movement is the number one requisite to that. You can’t be the best at ANY sport if you can’t move well. Prove me wrong.
Get in touch and book in a call if you want to chat about training options and how I can help you Move Better.