Don’t overthink it. Just move.
What is the number one excuse you make for not exercising?
I worked in Exercise Rehab for years, with people from all different walks of life, and the excuse was often time, proximity to a gym, and ignorance on what to do – that last one was usually related to being concerned about what other people would think about them as they worked out.
…your body is the most magnificent thing in this world.
If any of those excuses is why you don’t workout. I have a message for you: KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT compromise your health because of someone else’s opinion. And certainly DO NOT let your beautiful body go to waste because you do not have time or access to a gym. That’s right, your body is beautiful. I don’t care whether it’s fat or skinny, strong or weak: your body is the most magnificent thing in this world. It has the capacity to bring forth life, it can be an immense source of pleasure and pain, it houses the most powerful computer on the planet, and your body is the only vehicle you will be given that can get you through this life.
The analysis of movement, has caused the paralysis of a basic instinct we wouldn’t have even questioned thousands of years ago. Structured exercise (even calling it exercise) is a construct created by society. Exercise is often thought of as something we should likely do, but it is optional. For cavewoman, exercise would have been life or death. Her fitness level would have deeply influenced her ability to feed herself, give birth, and function in her community. It was a necessity. And it is a necessity for us too, we just don’t realize it.
…exercise is only optional if you want a life of less consequence.
Physical activity affects every aspect of our lives, from mental health to physical health, which in turn affects our society in very big ways – from our healthcare system, to crime, and education. It influences EVERYTHING. And we look at it as OPTIONAL. It is only OPTIONAL if you want a subpar existence. I’ll repeat that again: exercise is only optional if you want a life of less consequence.
So instead of thinking about exercising, break free of that construct, and start thinking about movement. Start adding it into your days. How? Well, think about what our ancestral mama would have done:
Cavewoman would have….
- Rested in a squat position: Chairs didn’t exist, those are an invention, and being reliant on them has caused a massive mobility issue for western culture as a whole. The ability to just rest in a squat to complete tasks, the ability to simply compress your body in that fashion, is reflective of overall health – in my opinion. I used to have clients do this throughout the day to work on squat mobility. If you can pepper it in, it will get much easier and eventually become a rest position for you as well. One of the most beautiful qualities of our body is it’s ability to adapt, so challenge it and work on this simple position! TIP: set your alarm to go off throughout the day and try sitting into a squat position for a couple minutes.
- Give maximum effort: there would have been times when cavewoman called on all of her strength. Whether it was fighting a beast, helping on a hunt, chasing down an animal, fighting with other humans. There would have been times when she gave 100% effort to save her life, or nourish her life. When is the last time you gave 100% physical effort? I don’t care whether it’s an all out sprint or a squat max – do something that requires you to struggle, and calls on a level of effort you’re not used to giving. TIP: run as hard as you can for as long as you can, or jump as high as possible a couple times a week – don’t give a half effort, try to set a new record each time. If you have some joint issues or concerns, try swimming. The point is you’re challenging your limits.
- Played: there was a time before speech in our existence. How do you think we communicated? Movement would have been a big part of it. We would have spent time as a community, playing and moving together for fun. Not exercise. This can be structured or unstructured, with your kids or on your own, but making movement fun would go a long way towards your physical health.
- Extended periods of cardiovascular work: this would have occurred during migration or during a longer hunt. We’re built for this kind of work, expose yourself and build up your endurance to anything, it will improve. TIP: go for a long hike on the weekend. Connect with nature, and make sure your heart rate is up. Get even more savage and try barefoot!
- Walk everywhere: get out on your feet more often! Whether it’s a walk at lunch or in the evening. Try walking more, instead of driving everywhere. TIP: actually use the age old tip of parking as far away from where you have to go.
- Spend time outside navigating the environment: we would have climbed, crawled, walked, ran, jumped….there’s no wrong way to move your body. The only wrong thing to do with your body is NOT move it. TIP: go to a ninja gym, a jungle gym, or find a tree and climb it with your kids!
It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be something.
Cavewoman wouldn’t have planned or scheduled exercise. Given the world we live in, maybe that isn’t necessarily an option now, as our lives are busy, we work 9-5 (on how to break free of that, contact me), and we feel like we have to schedule when we move our bodies. I think if you can implement any of the ideas listed above on a daily basis, you will absolutely see positive affects in your physical AND mental health. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be something.
Your body is the greatest gift you will ever receive, so love on it, love on yourself, and do yourself a massive favor and challenge it, walk it, exercise it, fuck it, caress it, nourish it, and give thanks for all it does to get you through this life. It is a modern marvel, and it, and you, deserve to carry on through this life with uninhibited freedom. Go move!