Is Your Environment Giving You a Shitty Body?

No practice, and your body is left up to chance, shaped by the molds of your environment.

Unconsciously choosing our vocations, not knowing how they'll shape our bodies, we are at the mercy of fate. Whether you're a cubicle worker, a plumber, or a teacher, your form is grooved the the patterns of your days, mainly dictating by the majority of your time: work.

By far the biggest factor in how stiff, kinked, coiled, open or aligned our bodies become is our environment. Our work, environment is most dominant, usually with our home being the second.

We attempt to make up for this with some sort of exercise, usually inherited from fitness culture. Because most of us aren't required to move to survive very much, we have to find a way to get some form of movement in in order to stay relatively healthy. Hence, movement becomes compartmentalized in a fitness box.

"Get your 30 minutes of vigorous exercise in each day" we're told.

There are two problems with this:

  1. Most of us randomly choose a physical practice. A yoga class, hiking, Crossfit, or whatever. We're not considering all the variety of movements our bodies crave to thrive, so we inevitably end up missing some big pieces.
  2. Movement is not meant to be a small, isolated part of your day. Our bodies have evolved to be on the move all day long, with way more complexity and spontaneity than we get, even if we regularly exercise.

If you sit at a desk all day, it's not enough to do yoga for 60 minutes and think that you've undone the damage. This is the same mindset that plagues yo-yo dieters, thinking they'll just "burn it off" later, or that they've "earned" eating horrible foods because of the workout they just did.

A garbage movement diet all day is not made up for in a "green smoothie" of a yoga session. Is it a great start? Yes, absolutely, but we also need to address our environment.

Our environment and habits will make up the bulk of our movement nutritional profile. The better our environment is suited for movement and encourages it, the more automatic getting a good movement diet becomes.

However, if all you have in the pantry is cookies and junk food, it's likely that you'll eat it by default rather than going out and making a salad.

So, how do we alter our environment and habits to make it more supportive of nutritious movement?

Well, we should start with looking at our biggest deficiencies. Squatting, hanging, walking, and twisting are a few of the biggest ones. We simply don't do these things nearly to the level we have evolved to, and because of that, our bodies suffer.

You can watch this video to learn more about them:

When you have a phone call, can you spend it standing, or even better, walking outside?

When you're brushing your teeth, or eating lunch, can you do it in a squat?

Can you put a pull up bar in your doorway to hang and swing more frequently?

Can you add more multi-planar, twisting, rotating and moving at odd angles to your training?

These are simply starting points. Your starting point might be taking a micro break every 30 minutes for three minutes of movement. Some might say that is way too little, but it is where you need to start.

Similarly, you need to transition from a 1 inch heel to maybe a half inch heel before you go completely minimalist with your footwear. Even then, the next progression is micro sessions of being barefoot, with a continuum of challenging the texture of terrain.

The point is to get the ball rolling. If you can start it now with something small like a little hanging and squatting, then you can build from there. Maybe you commit to 10 minutes every morning for 30 days, then the next 30 it's 15 minutes every morning.

Start from where you are. No excuses, just do what you can and make it a habit.

Changing one thing and making it stick is better than being paralyzed by the perfect, ultimate plan.

Over to you:

What's one thing you'll change about your environment or habits to make you a better mover?


1. Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman


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