Have you ever looked at how a child plays? Or how they squat down and crawl along the floor? Have you ever noticed how a child thinks? They have no fear, everything seems so simple for them; they have the ability to move in just about any direction and think freely. So why do we lose touch with those abilities as we grow up?
I think that at some point we realise the level of responsibility needed to be an adult, we then over complicate things and lose touch with our adventurous side; I am a firm believer in trying to stay young through movement. Yet in the world today the majority of us confine ourselves mentally and physically into jobs and ways of life that go against our very nature; the whole time our inner child screams at us: ‘let me out to play!’
I sometimes find that my inner child is the reason I become agitated when I am inactive for too long. I then think to myself; what other species on this planet puts themselves into a situation where being sedentary in office jobs, racing through emails or driving ‘forwards’ in the pursuit of money are more important than living life? I remember when I was at my heaviest at 22 stone I was always angry and annoyed with one thing or another. I had lost touch with how to live, I had no channel other than food to absorb the stresses of my work life. I was in a state of heightened stress because my inner child was trying to be honest with me, it was trying to tell me to break free and move!
Our natural reaction to lack of movement and high pressure jobs is to ‘stress out’; back when we were hunter gatherers our stress triggered a fight or flight response. We would use the adrenalin to aid us. These days we are hardly likely to fight for our life in a day job, but our bodies can’t distinguish between stress from work and stress from a wild animal coming to eat us. The stress just builds up and we often have to suppress it - you could fight your boss, but you might find that your job wouldn't be there for you in the morning. So it is a vicious cycle that we can get stuck in; all the while the stress is like an inner child beating on our souls to escape and enjoy living again.
How do we deal with stress then? Some choose to join a gym, some choose to go out and have a few drinks and ‘blow off some steam.’ Some may turn to other drugs or develop habits and hobbies that help to quiet that inner child and soothe the soul. But what is the best solution? Since getting fitter myself (see video) I'm focused on being strong physically and I feel fitness training is the most under utilised way to deal with the ever changing world that we live in. If you can finish reading this post with some key points today then I'd like them to be:
We need to give ourselves the best chance to strive in this world, as we have established; life is tough, there is no point in training easy, eating poorly and sitting back when we need to be ready for what life throws at us. There is a billion dollar industry that has been created by lack of movement with fitness and activity trackers becoming the new fad. Don't get me wrong they are cool and can show some awesome statistics, but ironically what this industry is telling us is that we have forgotten that we are designed to move. If we mean't to be active we would just be blobs of flesh with brains.
We have become accustomed to having stimulants like coffee and prescription drugs to get us going in the morning, suppress our stress levels, balance our blood pressure, keep our cholesterol in check and stave off the headaches. Instead of listening to our inner child we have created industries upon industries to help us become more accustomed to being unnatural. I think back to when I was growing up; I didn't need a coffee in the morning, I didn't need drugs to ‘help’ me function. All I needed was to be woken up and given the chance to move and play. If we unleash our inner child, maintain that spirit of youth then we will change the way we feel, we can be more creative and live a more fulfilling life.
I have had the privilege over the last few weeks to work with some fitness professionals who have made it their life work to go back to ‘the old school’, to go back to where moving was the most important thing we could do to stay alive. Yet even in a fitness environment we have learned to limit our movements across different planes and have a rigid way of moving. We need to break free! Let’s move in all three planes and remember that our heart is the most important muscle in the body! The longer we put stresses on it without listening to our inner child then the more we will suffer in the long run.
Here are three movements that you can treat as a tri-set to get you moving like a kid again;
Bear Crawls – forward and back – 4 metres.
Body weight squats - rep them out for the allotted time.
Side to side jumps - rep them out for the allotted time.
30 seconds for each move back to back - 15 second break - repeat 5 times.
It doesn't matter how fast you are, how deep your range of movement is at first, don’t overcomplicate them, and just do them. 5 minutes a day could help to save your life!
There is always a huge debate about evolution and how we came to be, yet we are witnessing it with our very own eyes. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, mobility issues, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression can all be linked to lack of movement and yet we contemplate what pills to swallow to ease the suffering.
This could be our devolution! We need action! We have forgotten to move because we have lost touch with our roots. We are becoming SOFT as a race!
My advice to all is to move, to train your heart by staying as strong as you can. Let’s not forget that the saying, ‘survival of the fittest’ also applies to the human race.
Stay strong and keep moving lovely people!
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.