November 25, 2020

To Stay Alive: Move Naturally, in Nature

by christopherabdo

So one of the paths I want to explore in CommonGardenGround is not just how to revive our connection to nature, not just to realize that we are nature, but also to see how many things in our life can benefit from looking to nature as a model. If we start approaching things like exercise from the perspective of :"how do we naturally move in nature?" we can get some very helpful clues on where to start. That might even save your life. 

Besides your breathing and heart beating...what movements, or rather movements skills, are the most essential to actually staying alive? 

As I dug deeper into the practice of natural movement, which is a set of modalities that focuses on how we as humans moved before two big changes in human movement: 

1. Repetitive hard farm work that doesn't account for the incredibly diverse set of movements we humans were better designed for.

2. Repetitive, factory work, more of the same. 

3. Sedentary lifestyle, more of the same, only sitting down. 


Humans are movement generalists. We have a few movements that are our nature: 


Climbing

Rolling

Balancing

Groundwork 

Jumping

Walking 

Running

Swimming

Fighting 

Lifting/Moving/Holding/Carrying Objects 

the list goes on...

Which of these have you done today? Or last month? Or can you remember the last time? 

So if we wanted to move forward in our lives by moving back back towards how we, as humans, used to move....

Most of us would not be able do that right away. It would be like introducing a pet cat into the African wilds to fend for itself among the lions. 

Really...I tried to hang of a tree and almost snapped my shoulder. 

There is a gently way to start though.

There are a few movements that are key, that will save your back in garden, that will help prevent you from falling and breaking your hip when you are older and also better equip you if you do fall, to fall well and to get back up. As I talked with movement therapist Jesse James, he brought to my attention 3 major movement skills that are paramount to staying alive and healthier as you age. It turns out these movements are also the foundation (at least according to MovNat and some other modalities) for better movement throughout your life. 

Preventing Falls by Keeping Your Balance:


"Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Falls threaten seniors’ safety and independence and generate enormous economic and personal costs."

https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/

Practice Getting up off the Ground...


"Middle-aged and elderly people who need to use both hands and knees to get up and down are almost seven times more likely to die within six years, compared to those who can spring up and down without support."

https://www.movnat.com/getting-up-getting-down/

I was shocked when I realized, at the age of 26, that I couldn't actually get up off the ground without using my hands to help me. 

Spend Time Moving on the Ground: 


If you know how to roll, how to manage your weight on all fours not the ground, etc. You are in a much better position to handle falling and getting back up. I noticed this with rollerblading. I had been practicing learn how to roll, which looks like this: 


and a few months into rollerblading, I slipped, lost my balance and fell into a roll instinctually. My body still knew how to care for me, and, (sorry to pick on bicep curls), that skill was way more important to my autonomy and safety than some bicep curls. 

By Simply Laying Down a Piece of Lumber Over Some Garden Soil and Planting, You Can Lay the "Groundwork" for Not Just Your Plants...but for You, to Thrive. 



So by gardening as you see in the photos, I can reduce how much I'm bending over (which is a technique in and of itself and shouldn't be done in high volume without the skill to match) and I'm working on balance...and I'm working on ground movements. 

Oh and I'm getting exposed to all the beneficial bacteria in the soil, I'm "grounding", eating food picked the day of, the way our ancestors ate, receiving sunshine, birds singing etc. 

But you know, that's just a start 😃 


So what do you think? Are you ready to get on the ground and get dirty? Drop a comment or share what would make it easier for you to get outside. 




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