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Undoing what 'not doing' is doing

That's a lot of 'doings'. Or 'not doings.' And if you're still reading - you've probably already got further than most.

But - time to get serious. Without putting too fine a point on it, as a species we are not moving enough. Nowhere near enough. In fact, to put it into context, even our most highly skilled athletes are not moving as much as our ancient ancestors did. Fred Flintstone or Mo Farah? I know who my money would be on.

Approximately 10,000 years ago, humans began to transition from being hunter-gatherers to agricultural farmers, marking a cosmic shift in our movement habits. Fast forward a few thousand years and the effort now required to gather our food can be summed up in one teeny, tiny word: click.

Yep, online shopping, washing machines, escalators, cars - our world is designed to make us move less and less. The problem is our bodies - which have been fine tuned over thousands of years to move almost continuously and with efficiency and ease - have not quite adapted to our movement deficit. So - we can do one of two things: we can wait a few thousand years for our body to adapt and evolve - or, we can start to move.

But here's the thing: movement doesn't mean exercise. Like cars, computers, washing machines (the list could go on) the notion of 'exercise' is relatively new. Look at any health promotion and exercise is listed in the top three things we need to do to stay healthy (along with quitting smoking and refraining from alcohol). And certainly, it is better to do some exercise than none at all. But exercise isn't enough; the time we allot to exercise is tiny compared to the number of minutes there are in a day and most of us are missing out huge chunks of time where we could be moving. In addition to that, most of the more popular forms of exercise only use a tiny proportion of muscles and joints and only cycle through a very small percentage of joint ranges that our body is capable of. This creates a situation where some of our muscles and joints are overworked and stressed, and others are underworked and weak.

So - what to do? Well, in a nutshell, we need to move more and we need to move well. We need to move with more regularity, with more awareness and with more range of motion. We need to re-mould our bodies, rekindle our biological 'want' to move and reawaken those sleepy muscles and joints that are calling out to be utilised. In short, we need to channel our inner caveman, free ourselves from the shackles of 'exercise' and make movement the rule rather than exception.

We salute you, Fred Flintstone.

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