Member Login

Premium Content

Get Moving for Better Overall Health

Mind over...movement?

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Our bodies are hardwired to our nervous system to MOVE - not just walk in a straight line. We have the ability for nearly limitless movement. Our “culture of convenience” has bred into us that we should do the least movement possible.

Most of us don’t have to do anything except pull out a card for food we need. We drive circles around parking lots to find a space that is 200 feet closer to the entrance to the gym and soon Amazon drones will be dropping your packages on your front step so you can continue your socially awkward life inside your own home, never speaking to neighbors that live 20 feet away, except through Facebook (How is that for a run-on sentence?).

We are told we need to give our dogs special “weight control” food because it is 25% over its normal limit, but when was the last time you walked the dog?

I realize I might sound jaded towards our culture at this point, but the thing is, lack of movement makes us crazy. It screws up our mind, body and endocrine system. Your brain uses most of its energy to keep you from collapsing into a puddle on the floor all day, not to reply to e-mails.   

I could enthrall you with words such as "dendrites" and "telomeres," but let’s just say you need to move - even if that’s walking the dog or interpretive dancing under the trees near Baker Hunt.

There is another side of the movement spectrum, though. It is an evil side that doesn’t make anyone any better or worse than another. Because I’ve spent a decade in the fitness and better movement industry, I can talk about both sides as I have endured working with both types of movers. The evil side I speak of is the chronic over-exerciser or competitor. Usually these are endurance athletes, such as runners, tri-athletes, and chronic dieting physique athletes who train for three hours a day everyday and so forth.   

Why is this evil?  In all my years of helping people recuperate from injuries, the majority of individuals with chronic non-contact injuries I work with are runners.  

I’m not saying don’t run. I’m just saying don’t get caught in the runner's trap. I read a message from a friend the other day on Facebook. This person had a list of physical injuries as long as most pharmaceutical drugs possible side effects. I see it all the time. The kicker is they are amateur athletes, not getting paid, just doing it “enjoyment.”

They will train through pain, because “no pain, no gain,” right? The thing is, pain is an indicator that something is wrong. Running with a frayed IT band against the doctor’s orders is not a good idea - no matter what the goal is you have in your head. This is the evil side. Some don’t move enough, some move so much it’s nearly killing them. There has to be a balance. Lack of movement will create a mind locked inside a prison of boredom, redundancy, possibly Type-2 diabetes and re-runs of Lost. Then, on the other side, you can forcibly train yourself into a life of debilitating injuries, chronic fatigue, lack of libido, and self-hatred because “you’re not as good as you used to be.’

So, what is my point here?

Life should be a balance. You have to move. Once you start moving enough to get the feel good neurochemicals kicking, keep them there. Work with the guidance of a professional, whether a coach or nutritionist, that has your health in mind - not just looking to add one of your trophies to their list.  

If your training through pain that cannot be resolved with a professional’s help, perhaps it’s time to hang the activity up or focus on another type of activity. Being locked in a body that is riddled with pain by the time you’re 50 just may be the end of your well-being.  

All because you didn’t listen to your body.

- Joe Daniels is the owner of SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength Studio in Latonia. Questions for Joe? E-mail him at [email protected].

Bored with bodybuilding after reaching the national level in 2009, Joe Daniels opened SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength. From becoming an IKFF Coach operating in an 800 sq. ft. studio, the benefits of a minimal yet highly effective approach to fitness has grown to a 5,500 sq. ft. functional training facility within four years. 

Focusing on injury prevention, competitive kettlebell sport training and stress relief, SwingThis Kettlebell and Strength has hosted seminars and trained hands-on with some of the top athletes and coaches of the kettlebell world. Their philosophy has remained the same: You have to enjoy your training at all stages. Live your life. Your training should make your life outside that time more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Photo via No Limits Rowing