Health and Movement: A Paradigm Shift

My thoughts and beliefs surrounding health are constantly changing. Things I thought to be true several years ago have shifted and no longer hold sway in my life. Back then I would have told you that I was a very healthy individual because I swam, biked, and ran a ton.  Cardiovascularly I was in great shape because I could do those particular activities well and hours worth of each was no problem for me.

If you’ve read my story you know that perception of my health was nowhere near reality.  I was injury plagued for several of those years, mostly minor nagging stuff, but still injuries nonetheless. And what is injury but the antithesis of health.  When a major one finally sidelined me for several good months I got into the iron game and built my body back up on a foundation of strength.

I realized I needed to be strong to be healthy. That was my first paradigm shift.

Right now, I am undergoing another paradigm shift of my beliefs on health.  I just finished reading an absolutely fantastic book call Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman (Highly recommended!).  In it she describes how our daily movements, and the myriad of ways we put our bodies under load, impact our bodies on a cellular level, and, in particular, the expression of our DNA.

One of the most striking topics covered in the book were the diseases of captivity seen in certain animals.  My short summary won’t do the topic justice (read more here), but certain whales in captivity will develop a flaccid dorsal fin due to being unable to dive to deep enough depths and forcibly swimming in a confined circle.

Think about that for a minute.  Their daily motion (in this case a similar, but different motion, than that seen in nature) had a direct impact on the physical expression of their DNA.

So I got to thinking about how this applies to humans.  I can’t remember who to attribute this quote to, but we are no longer homo sapiens.

We are homo sapien domesticus.

We are creatures living in the captivity that modern society has imposed upon us.  We are not battling the elements on a daily basis.  We are not walking because that’s the only way to get somewhere the way it used to be. We are living nothing like our ancestors did.

We are not moving.

In fact, we’ve recently had to invent this thing called exercise to combat the diseases of this societal captivity.

Is an hour or two of exercise really enough to reverse those effects?

I argue it’s not. There’s still 22-23 hours left in the day in which poor movement/loading patterns can have a detrimental impact on health.

I used to go on five hour bike rides and spend the rest of day lounging in a chair with a book and beer. Or, more recently, I would lift heavy in the morning and lay on the couch for the rest of the day watching football.  I thought I was being healthy through my sports of choice, and I was admittedly doing a bit better than the average couch potato, but was I really pushing myself toward optimal health?

I’m beginning to believe that I am barely scratching the surface of what it means to be healthy. In the video below you’ll see me expand upon my thoughts on movement and health and how those viewpoints have coalesced into a rough, personal solution to this problem.  It’s not perfect, and it will likely change as I continue to learn and educate myself, but it’s a start.

Take a look:

What do you think? Has my paradigm shifted for the better? Am I on track to more optimal health? Drop a comment below!

Burpee Match Workout - A Friday "Fun"isher
Snatches and Burpees - A Friday "Fun"isher

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