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You Are How You Move...or Don't
Hola, I hope that your Cinco de Mayo is off to a great start. Here are a few thoughts on the movement, and lack thereof, to chew on between bites of taco!
ONE FROM THE AGES
“A mind that is stretched by new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
ONE FROM TODAY
Author, coach, and manual therapist Aaron Alexander on how we “harden” into patterns:
“You are a product of your momentary movement or your situational movement…Every decision you make, you make a little divot, and the more that you make that decision, the deeper that divot becomes.”
Source: Zestology with Tony Wrighton - episode 132
ONE FROM US
We can train our muscles to grow stronger and train our cardiovascular systems to endure ever more extreme challenges. The human body is amazingly adaptable. Yet, in other ways, we harden into postures that we can never seem to change.
Our bodies have a layer of fascia, densely woven connective tissue, that encases everything beneath our skin. Think of a jumpsuit made of a thin, fibrous film that is extremely strong under tension. We cannot live without our fascia. It supports the static shape of our body by holding everything, all of our internal systems, in tension. This state of opposing tension allows all human movement.
Fascia is slow to adapt and thus provides a kind of physical memory, solidifying specific movement patterns and postures. This is why your golf swing begins to feel like “muscle memory” and why a posture from four decades of desk work seems impossible to change. Your body remembers the patterns that you repeat and your tissues change to make the postures that you spend the most time in more easy and comfortable.
Prolonged sitting has a bad well-deserved bad rap. We’ve begun to echo the line that “sitting is the new smoking.” Sitting at face value isn’t bad. But, because of fascial memory, sitting begets more sitting. Prolonged sitting slowly makes standing, laying down, and many other types of movement more difficult and even destructive and painful when your fascia has changed shape under the assumption that seated your natural static position.
We’ve built a formal education that expects kids to sit in the same chair all day. Most parents then allow kids to assume a very similar position once they get home. Not only are they hardening in this position, but they aren’t learning or exploring new types of movement.
Kids need a varied diet to develop properly. They also need a movement diet rich in as many different movement patterns and postures as possible. Abundant sugar in childhood can prime developing bodies for insulin resistance and the list of problems that it brings. Sitting (or any type of excessive sedentarism) creates bodies and minds that don’t know how to move properly and are at a severe anatomical disadvantage if they do try to learn in adulthood.
Your kids are home and no longer required to sit all day. Rather than allow the type of sedentary time that school demands, get your kids moving. Send them outside, rather than let them sit in front of a screen. Make up active games inside. Better yet, join in and set an example. Walk. Play catch. Teach them to throw a football or frisbee. Build a swing. Swing on that swing. Make up a family dance.
If you’re enjoying this line of thinking, here are a few places to continue. Your lifestyle choices and your kids' patterns might be giving away their future movement freedom. I also explored the above topic of “movement nutrition” on my personal blog. And finally, Shane wrote an awesome article about the effect that phones have on us and kids.
Thanks and remember, life is too short to be normal!