Healthy movement matters; it goes beyond an aesthetic view of ‘perfection’ pedalled by the media. Of course, it’s great to look in the mirror and to like what you see, and for clothes to fit well; it can boost confidence and self-esteem, both of which are incredibly important. But healthy movement is liberating and crucial to our everyday lives.
In my years as a health and fitness coach the most important thing I’ve learned is that developing a body that moves well is the ticket to a place where you feel capable, confident, and free.
Modern human life has become structured in a way that makes it very easy to avoid movement; We sit in our cars on our way to work. At work, we sit for most of the day, then we come home and sit down to relax. That’s not what our bodies are built for, so creaky knees, stiff backs and ‘ I can’t keep up with my toddler’ have become the norm.
If you can’t move well, it may be a sign that you’re not as healthy as you could be. But the quality and quantity of your daily movement, your strength and agility are markers for something far more important.
During my time as a fitness professional, I’ve watched a lot of people lose a lot of weight – the results are amazing, and I’m not talking about what they look like on the beach in their bathing suits, although that’s always a cause for celebration. Most often, the thing people are most excited about after they go from heavy and stiff to lean and agile is the feeling that they are now living better, and they notice that they’re:
- More energetic and younger-feeling
- Able to do things that they’ve been putting off for years
- Proud of their lifestyle
- Free from many of the anxieties and limitations that held them back for so long
They’re happier, not just because they wanted to look better and now they do. They’re happier because their bodies now work as they were supposed to. They can now do things they know they ought to be able to do, and achieve things they never thought possible.
As humans, we move our bodies to express our wants, needs emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Ultimately, how well we move and how much we move determines how well we engage with the world.
It’s proven that healthy movement helps us to:
- Feel well, both physically and emotionally
- Function productively
- Think, learn, and remember
- Interact with the world
- Communicate and express ourselves
- Connect and build relationships with others
Our ancestors didn’t need to ‘workout’ when they were walking, climbing, running, swimming, throwing, and carrying things to survive. Working out is just an artificial way of getting us to do what our bodies have done for most of human history – regular movements we lost and forgot as we evolved as a species.
We may not have to hunt for our dinners anymore, and may take the lift more often than the stairs. We may move significantly less, but movement is still programmed into the human brain and is critical aspect of how we interact with the world. Therefore, to not move is a much greater loss than your weight or dress size.