To be able to get you the best results, I think it's important that we are on the same page. Part of that involves knowing how I think. As such, here are some pieces of my personal health and fitness philosophy, my Movement Manifesto.
A public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives,
Whether you realize it or not, every healthcare provider or fitness professional has a personal philosophy - a way of seeing the world. Sometimes these views are based on evidence or research. Sometimes (more commonly) they’re simply personal preferences. Understand that if you’re seeing someone who’s healthcare or movement philosophy doesn’t align with your, you probably won’t get the results you want.
Common healthcare examples would be:
- “Breaking down when you age is inevitable”
- “Everyone should be adjusted by a chiropractor” or conversely
“Chiropractors are dangerous”
- "You're just working out too much"
Common fitness examples would be:
- “Running is bad for your knees”
- “Lifting heavy weights ruins your joints”
- “Back pain is caused by a weak core"
- "You just need to stretch more"
THE HUMAN BODY IS DESIGNED TO MOVE
For most of human history, we moved. Every day. In varying intensities, durations and directions. Any given day may have involved walking, running, climbing, hunting, gathering, throwing, or moving something heavy. There are mountains of research that show that quality movement and exercise not only improves joint and cardiovascular health, but mental health, concentration, memory and attention are also strongly correlated to our activity levels. The reason we have a brain is to move.
Then civilization happened, and these things were no longer necessary. So our species invented this artificial thing called “exercise” to try and cram into one hour, what we used to do over the course of a day. And the research shows that exercise has a very strong preventative impact on almost all of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. I believe it is absolutely critical that we adopt a wide variety of movement throughout the ENTIRE lifetime.
OUR BODIES SHOULD BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND LIFE
We should be able to move and exercise in such a way, that we can handle whatever our life may throw at us.
Our bodies should be able to do diverse things such as carry luggage, pick up grandkids, or move furniture. And when life gets unpredictable, you never know when you’ll have to catch yourself from tripping or slipping, or jump out of the way of something. We should have the confidence and ability to be able to do these things whenever we want.
The leading causes of disability in the US are related to movement disorders (back pain, neck pain, other joint pain), and many of the leading causes of death are lifestyle related. We can address some of the biggest problems in public health by all moving better.
Most people were never really taught how the body should work.
If you grew up in North America, chances are your physical education classes probably consisted of learning the rules to various sports and games. Or your biology classes looked at how the body works internally.
But how many of you learned how flexible you should be? Or how to squat properly? Very few of us were ever really taught how the largest system in the body is supposed to work.
I believe when we can understand the basics of how our body is SUPPOSED to move, the better we feel and function.
POOR MOVEMENT IS RUINING OUR LIVES
It’s unfortunate, but when we think about our health, most of us don’t think about how we move. This is a big problem in the US, as the leading causes of disability in the US are related to movement disorders (back pain, neck pain, other joint pain), and many of the leading causes of death are lifestyle related (Global burden of disease study, 2010). The biggest quality of life problems in America (and most of the developed world) are directly related to how we move.
While our health care system has done a decent job screening for most other chronic diseases, we usually don’t manage the musculoskeletal system until after pain, injury, or symptoms appear. To be blunt, we suck at being proactive with the largest functioning system of the body. We can address some of the biggest problems in public health by all moving better.
THE HUMAN BODY IS A LOT MORE COMPLEX THAN WE GIVE IT CREDIT FOR
It would be nice if you could look at nothing but an overhead squat and know exactly how the body works. Unfortunately, the body isn’t that simple.
The body has an infinite number of ways of doing even the most basic tasks. Human movement is a complex interplay of different variables related to localized joint strength, flexibility, motor control and many other variables.
A thorough assessment needs to be done to really begin to have any idea what’s going on.
THERE ARE NO “BAD” MOVEMENTS
“Always keep a neutral spine…..brace your core…...running leads to arthritis”
It’s bad enough that many of us don’t move enough, but then when we do certain movements get demonized. I believe no movement is bad on its own, but someone may not have the movement prerequisites to do a certain task.
With the right preparation, we should be able to move our bodies in whatever ways we choose, at any age.
TREATMENTS SHOULD FOCUS ON THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM
We know that headaches aren’t caused by a lack of acetaminophen. We know that heart disease isn’t caused by a lack of statin medication. The movement system is no different.
We know that back pain isn’t caused by a lack of muscle relaxers or pain injections. It’s important to manage symptoms, but ultimately treatments should address the causes.
If your treatment is simply maintaining but not fixing something, it may be incomplete.