Movement: The first leg

If you’re on the path of fat loss, strength gains, or performance improvements, you have to remember: to be an optimally healthy human, you’ve got to act like an optimally healthy human. It’s not enough to just lose weight, or lift heavy, or crush at your sport of choice. You must consider how your goals impact your life, and how your life impacts your work towards your goals.

With the goal of improving your health, your life, and your performance, consider a three-legged stool:

The three legs are movement, nutrition, and stress management. To make this stuff work, you’ve got to consider all three.

We’re starting with movement.

Why? Dunno. No reason. It’s the first thing I typed.

Okay, maybe there’s a reason. When I started teaching yoga and running many years ago, I was clearly teaching movement. Just like you, when I think of being fit and healthy, movement (or exercise) is the first thing that comes to mind for most people.

Side note: why not use the word exercise, instead of movement? Aren’t they the same thing?

No, they’re not.

Exercise carries connotations: going to the gym, or going for a run. It’s often done with the goal of getting stronger, or burning calories.  And exercise is movement – it’s a very small subset of the category of movement. Just like every square is a rectangle, but squares make up a very small percentage of the rectangles in the world.

But movement is broader, more expansive. Going for a run is movement. So it going for a walk. And so is getting down on the floor and up again. So is squatting down to look a child in the eyes, or to pick radishes.

Here’s an idea: should you be squatting with weight, if you can’t comfortably get down to pick up something off the ground?

My answer is an absolute, unqualified no. You’ve got to own a way of moving, before you start adding weight to it.

Here’s a challenge for you: set a timer for 5 minutes, and move constantly for those 5 minutes. Try not to do the same thing for more than 30 seconds. So take a few steps, and the squat down as low as you can. Put your hands on the ground and crawl for a few steps. Put your knees on the ground and crawl backwards. Reach a hand up to the ceiling and rotate your ribcage. Don’t do more than is comfortable; keep yourself safe; start to explore what you’re capable of.  You don’t have to make it especially hard; there’s always tomorrow to do a bit more.

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