We may think we are modern creatures, living in modern times in a modern world. But our bodies and physiology are pretty darn similar to what our ancestors looked like thousands of years ago. That means what worked for them, and what they had to endure, we can also go through. On the other hand, it means the comfort we are accustomed to today might not be that beneficial for our bodies, enter: sitting on the ground.
“Use it or lose it”
If a baby cannot squat down to a bottom position (with heels on the ground, knees out, back straight, etc), or if a child learning to walk is walking with their toes pointed out, we recognize those as errors that need to be fixed. So why do we, as adults, allow ourselves to move like that? At some point we lost our ability to move fluidly and freely, and we compensated and adapted to those limitations. For example, flat feet are often a compensation for weak hips. Turning toes out is a compensation for lack of ankle mobility. A very arched lower back will often mean weak ab muscles. And many of these limitations are linked to uses of “comfort tools”, like chairs, raised beds, fluffy couches, cushioned shoes, so on.
Our bodies are self-correcting. That means that given the right stimulus, our bodies will return to the neutral state it has evolved to be in. The right stimulus does not include foamed shoes, curvy chairs and soft beds. Walking barefoot, sitting on the ground and having a stand-up desk can help us rearrange our bodies. While many of these options can be a hassle, sitting on the ground isn’t.
We can self-correct because our bodies crave efficiency. That’s why we adapt to environments and to stimulus. That’s why you get stronger by lifting weights and why you lose weight by running. Have you ever tried running with your toes out? Or do you have a low arch? Most likely something will eventually hurt, and you will “need” something to correct those errors. Insoles, arch support, knee braces. And the cycle continues…
We are looking for longevity.
Many elderly people who end up going to retirement homes do not go there because they have some sort of illness that needs advanced care. They need assistance because they have lost the basic functionalities of life. No longer can they squat down to use the toilet, or bend down to tie their shoes, or have the ability to dress themselves up. If the law of “use it or lose it” exists, then there should be no reason why we can no longer perform those basic functions.
If the functional movements you do at the gym aren’t done at home, is there any benefits for you to do them? So spend more time on the ground, crouch down into a squat, sit on your yourself to not only move better, but keep your functional strength and mobility.
If you want to learn more about how to stay fit and what to do to keep healthy on the long run, come chat with your Celebration CrossFit coaches!
by Coach Matt