Too many of us live a sedentary lifestyle and think nothing of it. Let’s face it, we are pretty good at being comfortable. We are built for comfort and have robots doing everything for us - from the assistant on our iPhones, to remote controls and even Uber Eats.
There have been many studies and statistics thrown around over the years, like if you add up all the hours in the day you spend sitting, you’ll actually find that you’re spending around 20 years of your life sitting down. That’s a huge chunk of your life, and it has huge repercussions down the line.
Moving your body is so important - it ensures you don’t lose flexibility along with a whole lot of other functionality.
A toxic combination
So, why is it so important? Moving your body means you can release resistance, regain flow and loosen up. This may sound morbid, but dying is essentially a combination of dehydrating and getting stiff. That’s the end of life, so flexibility in your body is a key component to high performance.
I (Angie) came across a statistic on designedtomove.org: “In less than two generations, physical activity has dropped by 20% in the UK and 32% in the US. In China, the drop is 45% in less than one generation. Vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us. What we do in our leisure time doesn’t even come close to making up for what we have lost.”
Golden rules for movement
Don’t be alarmed; we have three simple golden rules for movement that you can follow from our book, ‘Three Lessons On How To Lower Stress Naturally’ (which you can get free here).
The first is to trust the body and move gently. Push yourself to your limit; be willing to push your comfort zones, but make sure that you listen to your body’s response.
The second is to move in all three planes, so front and back, side to side, and twisting and turning. The latter is especially important, because the majority of injuries and stiffness that people suffer from is due to a lack of twisting and turning. Go to any gym anywhere and you’ll see most people moving forwards and backwards when doing their curls or bench press. Twisting and turning is also key for brain functionality, because it activates the left and right brain and enables you to think outside the box.
Thirdly, ensure you breathe while you move.
Start with small wins
One of the easiest ways to increase your movement is to start your day with a walk.
Make like John Travolta in ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and break out into a morning swagger. Take big strides, move the shoulders and the hips and breathe into it to release tension to balance out your body. The more you can move the shoulders and the hips in this rhythmic action with the breath, the more it's going to loosen and tone the body up.
It’s an especially good way to ease yourself back into movement if you’ve been out of the game for a while, and walking is especially good for women who tend to have stiff hips and carry a lot of stress in their glutes.
As long as you don’t overdo the first time, you’ll soon begin to see the results. You’ll feel better, your breathing will improve, and you’ll actually start to live better. I (Angie) notice that feeling of being stuck starts to shift and I enjoy the ride a whole lot more, feeling confident and good about myself.
From there, think about what will motivate you to regularly move your body. It doesn’t have to be complex, it could even be a simple warm-up exercise. The important thing is that you actually make the time to move.
All the functions in your body require you to be moving, even the deep functions like digestion and lymphatic draining; they require the body to be moving and pumping fluid through it.
You can also take time to sit on the ground and stretch out your body while breathing deeply. It supports your life and its rhythm. We're built to move freely, and your body will support your lifestyle.
A quote by Ido Portal, a legend in the movement space, sums this up nicely: “The body will become better at whatever you do - or don't do. You don't move? The body will make you better at not moving. If you move, your body will allow you more movement.”
Peaking at 30
That also relates to something I (Shane) discovered lately. When we reach 30 years of age, we go through a big hormonal change. We hit a peak at 30 and then start to taper off. So it’s important to make sure we change the way we move and the way we exercise. You can focus less on really pushing yourself through hard crossfit-style circuits or hard runs, and focus more on strength-based calisthenic work where you do a lot of body weight work and lower-intensity cardio.
I (Shane) read that if you’re over 30 and try to work out like you’re still in your 20s, you’re actually starting to drain your life force because your body will break down faster. That's why we always say the movement doesn't have to be complex or hard. You need to find a way to go from discipline to devotion and start to enjoy it.
Being in tune with your feelings
The question that we invite you to ask yourself is: Are your workouts making you feel good or are they causing you more stress?
You might feel good because you’re breathing better, but is the body aching? Are you in pain? Have you pulled any muscles? It’s something to be mindful of because you might actually be moving counter to how your body needs you to.
A lot of people have bad days and want to take their anger out with a gruelling, punishing workout. But how you feel should be taken into account when you choose your workout. Discipline and punishment do not go well together when you're trying to move that needle from discipline to devotion.
Regardless of how you feel though, make a commitment to move every day, to be active and to not take the easy option every time it arrives. We live to move and must move to live. It’s that simple.
All the functions in your body require you to be moving, even the deep functions like digestion and lymphatic draining; they require the body to be moving and pumping fluid through it. Starting your day with a walk can help with this.