Move More, Exercise Less

Move More, Exercise Less

One of the most common questions I get in my office is, “what’s the best exercise for [that]?” Of course, we all want to know how to isolate our movements and train our injury back into health. This is an excellent starting place, but our recovery will always be limited if we don’t start to think outside of the “rehab exercise box.”

I am not the first individual to suggest that the environment that caused our injury or disease will not be the same one that cures it. And, as far as movement injuries go, the most common issue is not just about how we move, but how little movement we actually do.

Historically speaking, our ancestors did not have the same luxury of outsourcing of their movement as we do. Instead of chairs, they squatted, or sat on surfaces that provided little back support (think rocks, tree stumps, and perhaps the occasional stool). Instead of having our needs provided at convenient table heights and always within reach; Fruit required reaching, climbing, and picking. Veggies demanded kneeling squatting, and digging.

When we come right down to it, our modernized world has created an artificial environment. We are now humans in captivity.

No longer do we have the space, freedom, or need to push our bodies to move in all the ways they are capable. In fact, the concept of “working out” and the need to “exercise” didn’t become commonplace until the industrial revolution. We gave up movement for convenience and asked machines to take on the burden of physical effort.

Dramatic shows of strength, coordination, and endurance now belong to elite athletes and YouTube Influencers. We so often observe from our couches and stadium seating grace and coordination that feel sadly out of reach. Yes, the best of the best tend to revel in the gifts of their genetics; however, a simple advantage lies in the fact that they have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of movement.

So how can we change our relationship with movement and exercise while still maintaining clocking in the (usually seated) hours required to earn a suitable paycheck?

We must first stop thinking of Exercise as the only legitimate movement in our lives. The average of getting a 30 min work out three times a week, will never balance out the average 8-10 hours of sitting we do daily.

Any movement can be a corrective or strengthening movement, if you are mindful of what you are doing.

Instead of only squatting at the squat rack of a fitness studio: replace bending at the waist and “stooping” with a squat to pick up anything below your waist. (Core engagement, Glute activation, Stability….every day is leg day).

Walk when you can. Drive only if you must (Cardio and endurance!)

Change how you carry your loads. Switch bags from one shoulder to another. Skip the bags altogether and load up a basket to be carried in both hands (Shoulder, Bicep, and tricep strength!)

When you start to train your eye for “movement opportunities” over speed and convenience, our lives and our bodies start to feel very different. Health, vitality, coordination, and strength become accessible and sustainable. For me, that will always be worth a little extra work.

Always in Service,

Dr. Carly