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Movement As A Healer: Health Pillar 2

Welcome to the second Gymbia pillar of health; Movement.

This is an absolutely huge, varied & fascinating topic of which I would love to write a book about one day! I will begin here by giving a synopsis of the importance of moving around & it’s connection to our total health & vitality. I will also give some suggestions of how to incorporate more movement into your day along with a set of foundational exercises & how to perform them.

Movement is life! We would never have got to the point we are at these days without the ability to interact with the environment around us in order to survive. I believe that one of our greatest assets as human beings is our ability to move in countless ways to perform all of the incredibly varied tasks that we have created for ourselves. We can run, jump, swim, climb, play musical instruments, dance, build civilisations & even create rocket ships enabling us to move around on the moon!

Many health conditions can be massively helped & eliminated just by getting more movement in. Make sure you’re getting yours in each day!

We are designed to move & by doing so we stay happy, healthy & strong. Early man would have needed to move around a lot to find food, build shelter & generally survive. When in doubt always ask what would our ancestors have either done or had?

You do not need to train like a gladiator to get your movement in! It can be as simple as walking or biking to work or just a light jog a day to keep your system happy & healthy. We can also control our weight by getting our steps in. Did you know? You burn nearly the same amount of calories over a set distance if you walk rather than run meaning that you will still burn a half marathons worth of calories even if it is a slow walk.

Movement is also a great medium for our self expression to make the world a more colourful place 🙂

All of these amazing things that we have evolved to be able to do can be traced back to 7 Primal Pattern movements employed by early man in order to survive. Take away any of the following patterns & survival starts getting pretty difficult!

Bend: In order to build shelter, prepare food & lift objects, early man would have used a bend pattern. Today we use the bend pattern any time we pick things up we employ it. Note that it’s important to bend with correct form, that is keeping a straight back & bending at the knees rather than bending the back! This is one way of avoiding a back injury!

Lunge: Lunging was & still is essential for traversing rough terrain. Today you’ll see the lunge in most sports & also while wearing sparkly leggings at a festival 🙂 Lunging is very important, especially while getting older as failure to lunge properly massively increases the risk of falls. Mastering the lunge pattern decreases this list & improves balance & core coordination.

Push: Pushing will have been a key pattern in moving heavy objects to build shelter, clear land or have a good old fashioned ruck with your fellow early man!

Pull: The pull pattern was also essential for dragging dinner home to the cave. Today the pull pattern is utilised in many sports & also day to day activities such as opening a door or gardening.

Twist: The twist pattern was essential for early man to hunt as it is key to throwing objects such as a spear or rock to catch dinner. Today the twist pattern is used extensively in sports & manual labour such as wood chopping. The most common source of back injuries derive from movements that combine twisting & bending at the same time. This makes twisting an extremely important aspect to train as through training twist patterns we integrate it into our physiology which will result in correct recruitment of muscles when it does come to twisting & bending which will lower our chances of injury.

The final essential movement for our survival is gait. Gait can be described as the movement pattern to enable walking, jogging, running & sprinting. All of these employ a slightly different gait pattern & have different emphasis on different muscles that must be trained separately. This means that a great marathon runner will not necessarily transfer over to being a great sprinter straight away due to the different muscle emphasis that needs to be employed.

Most movements in life are a combination of the different patterns eg to get in a car we need to bend at the hip, twist & squat. To throw a ball we lunge then twist & then push. In tennis we often have to perform a set of different complicated movements in quick succession in order to serve, then run across the court to lunge & backhand serve. Training specific movements individually with perfect form in an exercise environment has a direct carry over to the rest of our lives which can greatly reduce our chances of injury as we get older.

Muscle Building.
By moving we use our muscles! By using our muscles we develop them. Here is an article previously written by myself designed to give an introduction to resistance training to learn more:

Desktop Posture.
Modern life can dictate that we spend a lot of time sit down in chairs. Over a long period of time this can cause postural imbalances. Here is an article detailing what can possibly happen plus fixes for desktop posture:

The Posterior Chain, Desktop Glutes & How To Activate Them

Movement & the lymphatic system.
You can also think of movement as an essential pump for the body to circulate nutrients to muscles & organs while also clearing away the bodies waste. We have something called the lymphatic system within our bodies which is actually more extensive then our veins & arteries! It is the bodies sewage system to take away waste products produced by our cells. One reason why we feel so groggy in the morning is because we’ve been lying still all night & the waste in our bodies has stagnated. By moving we pump our sewage system clear & prep ourselves for the day! On the 7th day as well as the 4 month exercise routine I will include a great warm-up routine designed to clear the lymphatic system, lubricate the joints with synovial fluid & connect to the breath!

*********GYMBIA CHALLENGE::: Walk or run 1 mile+ Each day for a week OR perform 3 rounds of 10 repetitions of all the exercises below each day of the series*************

It is a very unfortunate myth that we are not supposed to exercise every day. It is more dangerous for your health NOT to exercise every day! The key is to manage fatigue. A good rule when just starting out is rigorous one day, easy the next, medium the next & back to rigorous & so on.

Attached is a progress sheet to put on the fridge to track how you do. If you put it in a place where you will see it every day it will help you get active!

Squat – Works the Quads (thigh), Hamstrings (back of leg), Glutes (bum), calves & core (abs).
Keep the abs tense & back straight, look forward & hinge at the hips so that your glutes(bum) go backwards & stick out.
Breathe out as you go down & in as you come up.
Go only as deep as your flexibility currently allows.
Push through the heels to come up.
Put something underneath your heels if needed until flexible enough to use no elevation – Will explain a little more about this next time.

Plank – Works the core.
Keep the core tight & body straight & hold as long as possible.
Avoid bending at the waist to make the move easier.

Mountain climbers – Works legs & core.
Hold the plank with one foot forward & piston your legs forward & back for 1 rep.
Keep the back & bum low if possible.
Be sure to do the same number of reps on each side.

Sit-up – Core.
Palms to the ceiling, engage the core & focus on lifting from the abdominal muscles only. Avoid jerking as this will eventually hurt your neck. If you place your tongue on the top of your mouth your neck flexors will engage to protect your neck.If this is challenging put your legs fully out. If this is too challenging then crunch instead.

Press-up – Chest, triceps, front of shoulders, abs, biceps & back (not as much bicep & back though)
Be sure to push with the same force & through the hands so the dominant side does not take over.

Burpee – Every major muscle group in the body.
Feet shoulder width apart,
Starts with a squat down,
Hands on the floor,
Spring back to plank,
Bend the back into cobra,
Spring back to a squat & stand up.
Breathe in to start & out to finish.
Keep the core tight.

Here are the basic moves in stretching. These are all good for posture & a good stress reliever so If you can aim to do them once or even more through the day it will serve you well. We never stretch with force, only through relaxing the body.

Drop your hands towards your toes. The aim is to eventually touch them & then place your hands on the floor.

Walk your hands out to “mountain” yoga pose. Stretch all through your arms & legs with bum reaching to the sky. Aim is to push the heels flat on the floor.

Come down into cobra pose like in the burpee & feel the lower back, stretch but don’t go to intense with it. Let gravity so it’s work & relax.

Bring your body back while keeping arms forward for “childs” pose. Relax here.

Come back forward to cobra, toes underneath, up back into mountain, jump in twice & come up very slowly feeling every vertebrae as you come up, last thing to come up is your head.

Here is an extended stretch video from my time in Mexico for some friends back home doing the Ironman triathlon;
A more up to date video to follow soon.

I hope you’ve found this info useful!

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