Make It Functional
Whether a movement is functional largely depends on context but a good way to define whether a movement is functional is whether it serves a practical and relevant purpose to actual challenges that we face in life. A great recommendation is to work movements, not muscles and to focus more on the real-life benefits of a movement than on how it will make you look in the mirror. Some examples of movements that will support you in daily life: walking, lifting, carrying, reaching, squatting.
Make It Diverse
Today's world revolves heavily around sports and because of that, movement and training have become very specialized and specific. In the right situation, specific exercises can be of benefit but when we fail to move beyond highly repetitive movements it can take a toll on our joints and bodies.
When movement was essential for survival, our array of movement was diverse. We hunted, gathered, built shelter, and were forced to adapt to the variety of challenges that our habitat presented us. Movement variety is essential for long term health and continued adaptation of the body so don’t get too specific.
Make It Fun
For a movement practice to be sustainable it must be enjoyable. When exercise is done as a means to anend it turns into work - something we do because we have to, not because we want to. Play, on the other hand, is enjoyable, creative, and fun. Make sure your movement practice is fun and you will be leveraging a powerful tool that can help you sustain a movement practice for life.
We spend way too much time indoors and movement has fallen into this category. Many people think that the place to move is in the gym or the yoga studio but one of the most beneficial environments for movement is outdoors. The natural habitat presents an environment with unlimited possibilities and allows you to get back to our ancestral roots of diverse and practical movement. Outdoor experiences that present real challenges and adversity like going on a large hike, climbing a rockface, mountain biking or surviving a few days in nature are some of the most invigorating experiences filled with movement and a renewed connection with our natural habitat.
A Fundamental Need
Without adequate movement humans suffer - it’s a fundamental need for optimal mental and physical health. If movement is a fundamental human need and we live in a society that revolves around lack of movement there is an inherent mismatch between biology and culture. Modern culture revolves around adopting static positions for prolonged periods of time. We sit for meals, at work, when driving, at meetings, on the couch and we force our kids to sit all day at school. The danger is not so much sitting (there are over 100 ways to take a break from gravity), but the fact that we don’t vary our position when resting from gravity and this lack of movement is costing us our health. Change comes through awareness and we need to help people understand that movement is fundamental and help them discover strategies to incorporate more movement into their daily life. Like anything, small steps accumulate into massive changes with a bit of consistency. Help someone remove a lack of movement from their life and they will have removed a massive source of suffering.
Mover vs. Sitter
Many people who exercise daily consider themselves to be an “active” person or as we like to call them, a“mover”. Whether you are a mover or a sitter really boils down to some simple arithmetic: do you spend more of your waking hours moving or sitting? If the majority is spent moving (ie not in a static position and not in a chair) then you are a mover/active person. If the majority is spent sitting then you are a sitter/sedentary person. This means that if you sit for 8 hours a day but exercise for 2 you are still considered a sedentary person but if you never step foot into a gym to “exercise” but spend your entire day on the move you are an active person/a mover. It’s an important distinction and something many people don’t take into account. Help people switch from being a sitter to a mover and they will achieve massive positive changes in their global health.
Movement Centric Lifestyle
Living a movement-centric lifestyle in a modern, urban environment means being a movement opportunist. It also means making efforts to engineer your physical environment to promote movement and dis-incentivize sedentary behaviour. It means living a lifestyle that is closer to our biological norm yet further from the current cultural norm. It means sacrificing comfort and convenience to create chances to express your physicality. A movement-centric lifestyle prepares you for life and ensures that your physical and mental function remains optimal for a lifetime. Our role is to inspire people to understand the benefits of living a movement centric lifestyle and to help them discover opportunities for movement every day that they didn’t know existed.