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Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.

August 20, 2023 | Max Jenkinson

Exercise - We Got It All Wrong

The average person spends 7-12 hours sitting every single day.

That is crazy.

Moving a lot, not moving a lot, who cares?

Well, moving a lot decreases your risk of dying from anything within the next year by 500% compared to those who don’t move a lot.

This is a lot more than smokers compared to non-smokers.

You read that correctly.

Not moving enough is worse than smoking, much worse.

Lack of exercise is now one of the main drivers of disease, pain and death.

The reason for this is twofold.

  1. We have the wrong view of exercise.

  2. We don’t understand the importance of exercise.

I used to believe exercise demanded many hours a week doing something specific, like being a gym rat or running.

Because of this belief, I did not move at all from ages 13 to 17.

The common view of exercise creates a barrier of entry that is an illusion, nothing else.

Exercise is arbitrarily defined.

  • Is running for one minute exercise?

  • Is going for a 10-minute walk exercise?

  • Is doing 20 pushups at home exercise?

Exercise is when the movement gets over a certain, subjective, threshold.

Everything below this threshold is thus put into the same category of non-exercise.

If we can reframe our view on exercise it becomes clear that getting enough is not hard.

Enough “exercise” is not only not hard but makes us feel amazing, not in 5 years, but today.

I call this reframing Movement > Exercise.

In a couple of days you can go from a lifestyle that increases the likelihood of:

  • obesity

  • depression

  • heart disease

  • dementia

  • & pain

To one where you increase the likelihood of:

  • a lean body

  • a healthy mind

  • a strong body

  • & zero pain

Let’s get into it.

 

Movement > Exercise

Every day we are exposed to fitness influencers whose lives revolve around exercise.

They look great, and we want to look great too.

But, we have busy lives and we are not interested in spending hours every day exercising.

We think that to get the benefits of exercise we need to live a lifestyle like theirs.

The distance between where they are and where we are is so far that we end up doing nothing.

The common belief is that the benefits of exercise come somewhere at the end of the effort spectrum.

In reality, it is the complete opposite of what is true.

This is why I want you to stop using the word exercise and replace it with movement.

Movement is an object changing its position in space.

Movement is like money.

Money makes the largest difference for those who don’t have a lot.

The more money you have the less difference $1000 will make.

Research has shown that at a certain level of income, more money has no impact on general well-being.

The less movement you do today, the more movement will have an impact on your health and well-being.

The largest benefit comes from going from no movement to a tiny amount.

As you increase the amount of movement the benefits subside.

Being sedentary (not moving) is what kills us.

Not going to the gym or playing a sport is not the problem at all.

We live in an environment that is not conducive to movement.

We got introduced to 90-degree sitting when we could barely walk.

From that day forward we spent less time on the floor and more in chairs.

Over the years we lost our natural ability to sit in a perfect squat.

One of the most fundamental resting positions for humans was lost before we hit 15.

But, this is not the only one.

If you do not use it you lose it as the old saying goes.

Think about the movement you do on a daily basis. Really think.

I bet you’d tell me that you walk, sit, walk, sit, walk and sit.

What you are not doing you are losing.

And you do not want to lose the natural beauty that can be expressed with the human body.

All animals move.

Humans might be the most diverse movers in the animal kingdom.

We can jump, run, climb, throw, crawl & dance.

Look at gymnasts. Look at basketball players. Look at break dancers.

They all perform feats of athleticism seemingly impossible, but, their excellence in movement is restricted to one sport.

What happens when humans focus on movement for movement’s sake?

Ido Portal is one of the godfathers of something called movement culture.

It is a movement philosophy that views movement holistically.

It asks: What is the human body capable of and how can we express that?

Again, if do not use something (like a movement pattern) over time we lose the ability to perform it.

The things Portal and his students can do is awe-inspiring.

Just watch this:

I have a newsflash for you. You are the best movers on the planet. So, bro, what kind of muscles you have? No. Bro, what kind of patterns you have? Can you flip? Can you invert? Can you crawl? Or is it just aestetics?

Ido Portal

Ido Portal and the movement culture have taught me to view the human body as something beautiful.

That beauty can be expressed through movement.

It needs to be expressed often so that it is not lost to time.

As the body moves it works on multiple domains.

  • Dynamic strength

  • Static strength

  • Coordination

  • Flexibility

  • Balance

As the body moves it is always engaged in fundamental movement patterns.

  • Lifting

  • Walking

  • Running

  • Jumping

  • Carrying

  • Climbing

  • Balancing

  • Swimming

  • Self Defence

  • & Moving on all fours

Let’s express these patterns daily. Here’s how.

 

Introducing Movement as a Part of Daily Life

Every time you move think of new ways you can move through the fundamental movement patterns.

1 – Take walks but don’t just walk.

As you take a walk, remind yourself of the fundamental movement patterns.

Can you balance on something, jump over it, or sprint up a hill or some stairs?

Can you hang off a branch, can you lift up a stone and throw it?

When you were a child on holiday walking through a city with your family did you just walk?

Children jump, run, dance, balance, climb, play, fight.

You are not a child, but that doesn’t mean you should lose your playful spirit.

2 – Don’t just sit, sit actively.

While watching your Netflix show, can you sit in a squat, on your knees or sit crosslegged?

Babies play on the floor, they roll around, crawl, sit, stand up, and spin around.

All these movements strengthen the kids so that they one day can do all the fundamental movement patterns.

The message?

Be more like a baby.

While studying or working break the sitting with pushups, squats or pullups.

Everyone should have a pullup bar at home.

Hang off the bar, do some pull-ups, spin around, or hang off one arm.

3 – Play! Play sports, play games, play.

Do you like any sport?

Can you play it with some friends?

Play basketball or football or any sport you want.

Plan activities with some friends.

Is there any particular movement you’ve always dreamt of being able to do?

For me, it is the handstand.

Practice it throughout the week.

Stay consistent and all of a sudden you can handstand, do a backflip or just one pull-up.

4 – Dance!

Dance more often, put on songs you love and dance.

Maybe learn a specific dance with your partner or friends.

Every culture ever has danced and danced often.

Why?

Well, I’ll leave you to answer that.

But, one thing I can say is that it is for good reason.

So, dance, dance more, dance often.

 

We are dancers, we are runners, we are climbers, we are jumpers, we are movers.

You are moving every day.

Most people have forgotten this.

We walk to where we are going, then we sit down.

We walk and we sit, day in and day out.

This is only one of the fundamental movement patterns your body is designed to do.

If you are more playful try this approach:

  • every time you move do more than one movement pattern

  • play with it, dance, jump, balance, hang, sprint

If you are more structured, implement planned movement.

  • Before I brush my teeth I will do 20 push-ups.

  • During every walk, I will do a 30-second sprint.

  • Every day I will follow a five-minute handstand routine.

  • While watching Netflix I will do a 15-minute stretch routine.

If you are like me, do both.

The point is not to become a fitness influencer.

The point is to move more and express the beauty that resides in your body.

As you move more your body will feel better.

Feeling better will signal to the body that whatever you are doing you should do again.

You will gain more and more motivation to move.

The motivation to move is actually a great indicator of general health status.

Going from no movement to a full-out exercise regime is usually a path to failure and quitting, ending up in the place you started.

So, start slow.

The goal is to move more today than you did yesterday.

Over time you might want to buy some equipment to do the movements you enjoy harder.

You might actually find that you enjoy dancing, acrobatics, or strength training.

Once you find something you enjoy you can do more of that.

 

Moving more is the most important thing you can do for your health.

It is more important than eating a good diet, not smoking or sleeping well.

Exercise is usually rigid, movement is not.

Play in movement is always fun.

Fun is what we want, so, play more.

Movement changed my life and it will change yours as well.

Too much focus today is on external success.

Without internal success, the external does not matter.

If you don’t have a resilient mind and a strong body what makes you think you will feel good?

A resilient and healthy body starts with movement.

Keep moving.

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Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.