We are born natural movers, and that is what we are intended to still be. Now, researchers are confused why some of us are not responding to exercise, no matter how hard we try.
"Is your workout getting you nowhere?", is the opening question posed by Ms. Gretchen Reynolds in her Globe & Mail newspaper article published, January 13th, 2017. For far too many, this acknowledgement is a bitter, if not overwhelming pill to swallow. They are discouraged.
"Non-responders" is what fitness researchers call people who exercise, yet see little if any improvement. Researchers are fascinated by this group, even though answers to the WHY are inconclusive. Their recommendations are to perhaps switch to a different form of exercise.
Articles from the same newspaper just two years previously, quoted other experts who advised that "exercise programs that pushed subjects to higher levels of intensity would likely eliminate non-response." Simply, try harder.
"Do. Or do not. There is no try". Star Wars aficionados will undoubtedly recognize the line as belonging to the wise but demunitive, Yoda. His wisdom, pre-meme generation, has become a modern slogan — a reminder to commit oneself to something completely, no matter the outcome. Yet, that sage advice from Master Yoda has been ignored, even by so-called experts. The facts are clear: Some people are not responding in any way, shape or form to conventionally accepted wisdoms of exercise.
In this error of ALTERNATE FACTS, far too many of us are looking for other answers, even while ignoring the obvious question: Why do people even need to exercise at all?
It has become an accepted truth that, of-course we must exercise. After all, that is how we stay healthy and fit. Isn't it? Its benefits range from improved endurance and musculature to increased longevity. Right? Evidently not. So why do we accept that we must workout?
The modern era of fitness began and meandered it's way through the '70's with jogging and jazzercise to the current CrossFit phase and militarized fitness craze. But prior generations did not look at exercise the way that we do today. It was simply a way of life.
We made time for fitness, if only by simply walking to get ice cream after dinner, with the entire family in tow. And even without the gym equipment, apps and fitness trackers that we now have at our fingertips, we were more healthy than we currently are. So, what changed?
Practical demands of life in previous generations meant that people had to literally run for their lives. This process created a human animal that adapted to NEEDING to move to stay healthy. Today, those needs have been removed, and yet, the human body still follows the old rules: move or suffer from dis-ease.
Constant motion is our calling, and we need not look as far back as earlier ancestors. Look no further than a toddler or a child. They are in perpetual motion while awake. Like early man, children have to know not only how to walk, balance, jump, crawl, climb, lift, carry, run, throw and catch things, and occasionally, fight. And when that was done, dance. However, as their lives became more structured, so did their health falter.
Ancient Greeks, and later the Romans, embraced and nurtured the body’s beauty and strength, and physical training - as a philosophical ideal - it was born as an essential part of total growth: we needed to be sound in mind and in body. But today, it is viewed to just be a means to an end, no longer celebrated as a practical means to life. We've grown accustomed to the ideal that we are all entitled to human rights, yet many have forgotten that it is pared with human responsibility. Movement is an obligation.
Movement skills are tools that we are all born with and develop over time through childhood including strength, balance, agility, mindfulness and mental strength. I believe that we should all take some time in whatever our training modalities of choice are to return to these functional skills that have been lost due to sedentary behaviours. Perhaps these lost functions are why some of us have become the non-responders that researchers are so perplexed by. I'll go even one step further and say that lack of movement kills. In fact studies show that more than two hours of continuous, uninterrupted sitting, even when combined with regular exercise, are linked with death from breast or colon cancer, increased incidence of diabetes and obesity, heart attacks, and stroke.
Move it or lose it. For those who still can.
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