Spend any time looking at the animal kingdom and you will notice the interdependent relationship between moving and eating. Before you eat, you must move. In days gone by our own relationship with moving and eating would have followed a similar pattern but today it’s a very different story. For all the great things technology has given us, the erosion of movement has been one of the main trade offs.
Our food takes no energy to acquire and comes in limitless supply. Our work confines us to a desk. Our leisure time sees us residing on a sofa. Our commuting sees us behind the wheels of a car. Everywhere you look, the need to move is rapidly declining.
As we all know a lifestyle which revolves around sitting does not translate to a strong and healthy body. The obvious solution then… exercise.
Exercise is used by many (myself included) to help diversify our movement circle and plug the gaps in our otherwise static lifestyles. However, as author Katy Bowman argues in her excellent book, Move Your DNA, we should be thinking beyond just a few weekly hours of structured exercise when it comes to satisfying our movement needs.
For all its benefits structured exercise takes up a small percentage of the 168 hours in a week and often sees us repeating the same exercises and movements over and over again. Whilst we get fitter and stronger at what we practice we often get weaker and less capable in those we don’t. Imagine the cyclist who can ride for a hundred miles but can’t do a single push up, or the bodybuilder who can lift a ton of weight but struggles to walk up a hill.
Diversifying and growing your exercise regime is one option. Another is to expand your repertoire of movement completed outside of your structured workouts. Here are just a few examples:
The benefits of a more diverse movement circle are multiple. More musculoskeletal tissues loaded, broader cellular adaptations across the body, wider array of movement skills, greater all-round fitness, fewer overuse injuries, more time spent moving and for those looking to lose weight more calories expended. So how can you diversify your own movement circle beyond the few hours per week you devote to exercise?