I am on the last two week stretch before I go to the United States to complete certification course on Restorative Exercise™. I’ve been focused on the boat load of new information coming in and trying to remember it, all the while knowing that there is so much more to learn. The way the human body functions is fascinating. Like, did you know that shorter women have (traditionally) higher incidence of osteoporosis? Can you guess why? (The answer is here.)
I decided to take up this course of study because just about all of the other things I was doing were harming my body: namely a lot of repetitive motion – even when I wasn’t really moving much. Sitting and typing are repetitive actions involving a very small range of motion. Even wearing shoes is a repetitive motion compared to the amount of movement your feet would get if they were barefoot on the natural terrain. Shoes are like putting mittens on your hands and trying to write. You can do it but only with a fraction of the mobility that would otherwise be available to you.
Most of the diseases we get (about 90%) are self-induced through the way we move – or don’t: osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes are largely caused by lack of movement: sitting at desks, browsing the web, driving everywhere, watching TV, you know, what we’ve come to think of as everyday, ordinary things. Some people are calling these ‘diseases of affluence.’
Too much movement is as harmful as too little. You might be surprised to learn that what many of us do for exercise causes damage that we then expend energy repairing. For example too much movement at too high intensities increases friction in your body, which causes swelling and pressure on your tissues, which causes increased loading on the nerves, which results in pain. Instinctively we try to fix it in between – we treat the swelling for example by using heat or ice, or we take pain killers, but really the best way to get rid of the pain is to stop doing the things that cause friction.