MAKING OUR MOVEMENT MORE HUMAN AGAIN....
By Lee Snider
March 13, 2023
I know this is a crazy thought; moving more like a human. We can only move like a human , Lee, what are you getting at? Well, I look around, and people's movement is lost. Broken. I've experienced this myself the last 5+ years. And I thought I moved pretty well like a human. I was wrong. What authority does this give me to tell you your body is broken? None, but I've spent the last half decade plus trying to "fix" my body, understand in-depth human biomechanics and understand where we went wrong with our movement. So, I'd love to help.
The reality is, the defaults of our society aren't really geared towards good, natural human movement anymore, or maybe never really have been. We sit always, wear shoes that are damaging to our physiology and are sold a screen activity at every turn, rather than a walk in the park. Worst of all, the conventional supplemental movement - aka exercise - in which we partake, really doesn't support our biomechanics...at least by my assessment. This all adds up to ever-rising rates of orthopaedic injuries and a very sedentary lifestyle for the average person. And this is sad. We are amazing machines built to move remarkably well for a long time, and we should all be doing really cool sh*t along the way!
How do we change this? To me, the first step is gaining an awareness of our own body and wanting to begin understanding where our own movement has been lost and the effects, as well as the problematic behaviours in our lives. Once we are more aware of our own movement and have taken an honest inventory, we can begin take the power of our human movement back and thrive in so many ways.
What does this mean? My answer to this is 3-fold:
1) Have a more human lifestyle, as our ancestors
The easy place to start with this, is to sit more like a human. Which mainly means sitting less! Sitting with better postural awareness and doing things to offset our sitting can help of course (which could even just be scheduled walking throughout the day). We weren't made to sit as we do. I believe we were nomadic hunters and gatherers through a big part of our evolution, meaning we didn't sit at a desk for hours everyday. A stand up desk could be a great option for you. The main thing is to consider the ways of our early ancestors and stand up more, walk more and sit less! Become a modern day Hunter-gatherer! ...whatever that means.
Another important piece to this is the shoes on our feet. This is a whole other article in itself, but my main emphasis is to shift towards footwear that allows our feet to operate as feet. Look into Natural Footwear.
2) Recognize posture as the foundation and address it accordingly
So much of our "Rehabilitation Industry" is flawed, as it does not consider the underlying pieces. We see an injured part of the body and we mostly address that part of the body. More times than not, we fail to consider the bigger picture equation which likely led in most part to the injury. If we don't consider that the "underlying frame" of our bodies - aka the skeleton and "fascial network" - has been compromised, or has shifted from it's starting point, then we are neglecting the fact that our body is out of balance and has lost function and leverage of many joints and muscles. This, to me, is in essence why injuries happen.
When we begin to account for posture as the starting point for movement, we can truly begin to move well and more like the human we are.
3) Honour your body with movement that's more akin to the human blueprint
I trained in a very conventional way for almost 15 years and it caught up to me just past 30. That is unacceptable by human standards. Those who prioritize movement and overall health, shouldn't be breaking down in their 30s. I was, and many or most people that I know in their 30s and 40s aren't far off, if I'm being honest. Either way, I've concluded that we don't prioritize human movement enough. Our general fitness protocols - by my assessment - don't train us to be better at human things, like walking or even running. I've also learned through observation, that all our time spent sitting and doing other repetitive tasks, has made us very impatient and imbalanced standers. A very human thing we do.
Our conventional fitness ways don't cater to these necessary human movements, but rather tend to train us to stand on 2 feet and perform a squat or hinge with load on our shoulders. Applicable? Sure, but not to the extent that we train it. We need to explore movement more closely resembling the human blueprint for movement like walking and running, even standing and climbing and maybe even BREATHING!
I implore you to explore new modalities of movement that challenge your human ways and see how "fit" you are in that sense. If you've spent many years squatting and deadlifting like I had, your results may surprise you!
These are my recommendations to become more human in your movement. They will take work and a powerful level of self awareness, but that in itself is part of the large package of benefits that comes with channeling this more human side. I invite you to go against the grain of our society. Challenge the norms. Explore the distant edges of your comfort zone and try something new. Something more human.