I probably need to go back to the start.
My parents are both fit and athletic. For as long as I can remember my mum has been doing aerobics (I was born in 1980 so pretty typical) When I was 14 I started doing aerobics with my mum. We went to hips, tummy, thigh and step classes. I loved it. I also started going to the gym when I was about 16 years old. I’d go in the mornings before school, have a smoke afterwards (uggghh I shudder now) but I became pretty obsessed. I went to the gym twice a day. I loved exercising. I did enjoy it but for me it directly correlated with food and I mostly did it because I enjoyed being thin and I was definitely afraid of becoming fat. It was just something you did in my family.
Fast forward a few years, I continued to work out, do classes at the gym then I discovered Yoga and I loved Yoga. I started doing Bikram Yoga and then Ashtanga Yoga, which is a very physical practice (it’s the type of Yoga Madonnna did when she had guns of steel) When I left my job as a flight attendant, I worked at an IVF clinic and became pregnant almost straight away. After working as a long haul flight attendant (where to be honest there was a lot more downtime than there was work) I couldn’t handle being in a 9 – 5 environment. I felt so stifled. I didn’t like going to work every day, sitting at a desk mostly and doing the same thing day in and day out. I had worked there for about a week when I decided to start a personal training course, I’d been looking into it for a while I was flying, it just seemed like the logical thing to do. So, I was pregnant going to Melbourne IVF every day, studying in the evening and going to classes once a week. I finished just as I had Sianh and then started seeing my first client, whom I still see almost every week just shy of seven years later.
After I had Sianh I went and did my pre and post natal training and learnt the importance of squats and then discovered my hero Katy Bowman and then really everything changed.
I discovered that exercise is a relatively new phenomonom; it wasn’t until the mid 20th century that regular exercise as a means to improve health began to become mainstream.(I’m not talking about sport; I’m talking about exercise) Before that, we didn’t need exercise. If you’d walked several kilometres a day, hunted down your dinner, climbed a tree, spent big chunks of time squatting to collect and forage food, danced, carried your children around with you all day, spent time grinding spices or flour, transported large and awkward things around because there are no cars or trolleys then I don’t imagine you’d really feel the need for exercise. When you lay down at night, I imagine you’d be pretty exhausted. So the need for exercise has arisen as our health has declined due to our lack of movement. (I’m talking specifically about Western culture here)
This lack of movement in our culture now begins almost from birth. We put babies in deep car seats, prams, capsules, in shoes where their movement is restricted. Further to this, as soon as our babies have developed enough strength to sit and hold their heads up, what do we do? Stick them in a high chair (Don't worry I'm guilty as charged, see my IG post about this here) One of the things that really opened my eyes was watching Katy Bowman’s video on paleo parenting. More info on this video here
Some of the important movements she talks about are chewing, breastfeeding, walking long distances, movement in our feet due to walking over uneven terrains and textures, hanging, swinging and how lack of movement not only shapes us but also our communities. Chewing might not have been something you’ve ever thought of. It certainly wasn’t for me but I certainly think twice about having a smoothie now.
So what does that mean for us? If you work at a desk in a 9 – 5 job, there are still steps you can take. And I think being aware of how much time you’re sitting is important. By the way, KB also includes riding a bike as sitting time.
If you drive to work/come on the train, sit at a desk, drive home then sit on the couch to watch a movie or look at your phone that’s a pretty sizeable chunk of the day spent in a seat. In this case, exercise becomes super important to balance out all the non-moving and being in one position.
If you’re someone who thinks sitting is the new smoking so you’ve got a standing desk, then you’re still spending a lot of time in the same position. If you’ve worked behind a counter, you’ll know the effects of too much standing.
So it’s not only a question of sitting, although that’s huge but it’s being in any one position for too long and in this day and age, for most of us it’s sitting.
So, do we throw the baby out with the bathwater and poo poo exercise in favour of only natural movement? No, of course not. On the other hand, do we just accept being blobby in a chair all day and think that 30 minutes at the gym is going to fix everything. Also a big no. So, what’s the answer? I think at the very least we need to be aware. Being aware of how we move (or don’t) is a great starting point and then getting curious and exploring ways to make our lives more movement rich. Let’s make small changes and see what happens. I’m willing to get curious, explore, find out what works for me and others who are willing to share and then share back with you again what I’m learning. If you’re looking for a place to start, I recommend reading Katy Bowman’s book, Move Your DNA. This is a topic close to my heart, it’s changed my life and the way I live. I would love to hear your thoughts or let me know if you had any questions.
I probably need to go back to the start.