Physical Education for REAL
Let’s assume you’re formulating a plan to not die. You’ve already got a dietary philosophy, but you haven’t worked out the exercise part. Which exercises should you be doing?
First off, don’t think in terms of exercise. It’s a loaded concept. Think in terms of movement. What movements will keep you alive?
Second, think in terms of sustained and sustainable activity. The longest-lived populations are active: they walk, they garden, they cook, they clean, they do things that we might call “chores”. They engage in tasks that get their heart rate up, but they’re probably not ritualizing burnout sets and they’re not looking to get swole.
So, we’ve got two ideas on the table: sustainable activity and movements that keep you alive. Let’s discuss.
A Sustainable Practice
Choose movements that you’re actually going to do. Try yoga. If you hate it, stop. Try swimming. If you hate it stop. Keep trying activities until you at least have a neutral attitude toward what you’re doing. If you’re having fun – maybe you’ve discovered trampoline training – hold. Keep doing that activity. Do it to de-stress. Do it because you love it. The first step toward physical fitness is learning how to enjoy movement.
The more you move, the easier it becomes to move, unless you move too hard. Safe progressions are the key. Sign up for the beginner’s class. If you aren’t a life-long runner, don’t begin with a marathon. If you haven’t studied lifting with a coach, don’t start by lifting heavy. Start with the intention of slow and consistent, life-long growth. Sexy, I know.
If you haven’t been active all of your life, start with walking. Walk every day. Walk with your partner, your family, your pet. Walk with your thoughts. Whatever is happening on the internet/streaming should never be more important than your daily walk.
Walk up hills. Walk on trails. Walk around your neighborhood. Drive somewhere nice and walk. Make a date with a friend to walk on a scenic trail. Bring bug spray.
Once you’ve got your thing – once you’ve got a habit of moving around every day – learn how to improve your mobility. The best place to start is on the floor. Practice sitting on your haunches – aka the Primal Squat (TM). Google it. Also see how difficult it is for you go get off the floor from lying down position. It should be trivial. If it’s not trivial, if it hurts at all, Youtube videos on how to debug the pain. Heal thyself.
Movements That Will Prevent You From Getting Killed
Learn the movements that will you keep you from getting killed: walking, running, crawling, jumping, climbing, lifting. When you need to escape the lava, when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere, when you have to flee the people with the guns, or extract yourself from the rubble, these skills will help you out. You might not die.
You might also need to know how to defend yourself and to catch and throw things. If there’s water nearby, you should know how to swim. If you want a system, train MovNat. You can YouTube it, read the book, or do a retreat.
Maybe nothing in your environment is trying to kill you, so you think you shouldn’t bother practicing these kinds of movements. That plan works great, until it doesn’t. If you want to lead a long life, don’t get killed; learn how to save your own life. Bonus: learning these fundamental movements might give you the skills to save other people’s lives. You could be a hero.
For a less INTENSE, but very informed perspective read this: What Exercise is Best for Optimal Health and Longevity?