10 Functional Training Moves That Can Be Applied in Daily Living
In the fitness industry, very little attention is paid to the simple, yet so rich, human body movement vocabulary that we all possess deep inside our genes, from when we were more active as children, and long before that as apes living in trees. By taking you back to the roots of human movement behavior, with some useful tips and videos, this article hopes to reawaken an interest in your own daily functional body movement habits.
Is This YOUR Movement Vocabulary?
If someone's day-to-day movement vocabulary consists of a limited number of actions ranging from sleeping, getting dressed, sitting, perhaps a little walking to the car, being at work (usually sitting), shopping, cooking food, watching TV or a computer, and sleeping again, then that won't do.
Discover how easy and fun it is to move better in day to day actions, to move in a way that re-aligns your skeleton and helps you become strong, supple, and agile again. Even better, once you become aware of how you move (or fail to move) and incorporate the 10 functional training moves in your daily life, you will no longer have to spend time, money, effort, and pain "exercising" at the gym in the traditional sense.
The problem is that the fitness industry is too fragmented. Every fitness professional or institution wants a piece of the fitness pie with their own specialization. Yet none of the vast number of methods, disciplines, and techniques work if they are practiced exclusively. The result is that western societies today have lost the ability to move well enough to meet basic physical requirements. We are in the middle of an obesity and immobility pandemic. What can be done? Let us find out what the lost movement patterns are and regain their daily practice.
10 Basic Functional Training Moves Necessary for Survival
Balance, flexibility, strength, agility, and being comfortable in your body comes from a relatively narrow spectrum of plain, ordinary, basic "forgotten", functional fitness moves that are becoming extinct in many adults today. What is a functional move? As an extreme example, take the African village woman who carries 20 liters of water on her head for 5 km. To us, this is extremely skillful. They may one day add that as an Olympic sports feature. For the African village woman however, carrying 20 liters of water on her head is normal functional movement behavior. She does it every day.
For now, let us poor crippled Westerners stick to just 10 basic functional moves we all need to be able to perform to maintain a healthy movement vocabulary throughout our lives.
- lying the floor
- posture in standing
- sitting on the floor comfortably
- hanging and swinging
- carrying and lifting
- jumping and running
In a very few remaining less "civilized" cultures, the above moves are natural to adults. Take the How Well Do You Move? quiz at the end of this article to find out how your personal movement style scores compared to others. Please be honest; the quiz is anonymous, no one will know your results except yourself. But before that, what is the main cause of the immobility pandemic?
We Lost Ground
The main cause of the immobility pandemic is that we have lost touch with the most important thing in life. We have lost touch with mother Earth, contact with the ground and the floor.
Only our feet ever touch the ground, but even then, our poor feet are harnessed by damaging shoes.The consequences of the immobility pandemic are reflected by the present obesity, cancer, mental failure (depression), and Alzheimer pandemics. But even closer to home, if you consider yourself "healthy," but you are a poor mover, then you are in trouble. For example, the action of catching oneself when stumbling or falling requires super rapid reflexes and the ability to move off balance through several levels in space (kneeling, crawling) before you hit the ground. A good mover can easily catch a fall unhurt. A bad mover may pull several tendons, dislocate the spine, or even break a bone from the same fall. Don't panic, the first functional training move is very simple: Lie down on your back on the floor.
1. Lying on the Floor
Super expensive beds and mattresses are advertised promising the best night's sleep while the majority of the population are uncomfortable lying down on the floor. Why not sleep on a futon like the Japanese? Futons are a lot cheaper, cleaner and healthier.
See how comfortable you are lying down flat on the floor (not on a bed). Use props as shown in the above picture until you can comfortably lie on the floor without them. Surprisingly, lying on the floor is the best exercise you will ever do to get you started on your journey to becoming a good mover. Just close your eyes, breathe, and enjoy. As all good exercise should be, this position uses gravity as your best friend; it is passive, restful, pleasant, and most beneficial. Once you can lie down on the floor comfortably without props, you are ready to learn how to stand up with a correct posture.
2. Posture in Standing
Building up a good posture begins at the feet. Then the ankles, knees, pelvis and thorax can be aligned, but most importantly, the head should be carried directly above the spine and not in front of the body. Like a ball falling off a stick, the only way to stop those neck and upper back muscles cramping and aching from doing over-time is to keep the head back and up, centered above the spine with the chin down.
Now you know how to lie down and how to stand, let us explore the movement vocabulary between these two levels. How do we get up from the floor?
Over-curvature of the Spine
Did you know that you don't actually have to "shrink" with age? Older people appear to become shorter because, over many years of focusing down towards busy hands, gravity has diminished the sponginess between the vertebrae and, rather like an accordion, "folded" the spine somewhat.
3. Sitting on the Floor Comfortably
Decluttering homes from unnecessary and damaging furniture is a step in the right direction. Have you ever considered what chairs can do to our health? Watch the next short video and be surprised.
Are You Chair Shaped? Loosening the Hamstrings
Why not get down on all fours for a change and crawl on your hands and knees to reach for an object on the floor? Your spine will get straighter, and you will be using certain muscle groups not used in many years.
The easiest way to keep the knee joints fully mobile and the thigh muscles fully toned is to do a deep squat. Squat down to pick up things from the floor instead of bending forward and damaging the spine. Squat to play with small children. Try to remember to squat to get something from the bottom of the fridge. In other words, whenever an action is low, near the floor, squatting is always the best option.
On a Daily Basis
Squat on top of the toilet to do your business for easier elimination. Read more info about this in the link "The Truth About Poo" at the bottom of the page.
Do you know that when you learned to climb your first stairs as a toddler those steps were, in relation to your little body, as high as your thigh? At that time we were all as fit as olympic athletes. Climbing a steep hill or climbing up the stairs two-by-two strengthens your thighs and improves balance, strength and endurance.
7. Hanging and Swinging
To stretch out the shoulder joints and get a good stretch for the whole body grab the branch of a tree and hang by your arms. Or hang briefly but daily from a piece of strong doweling, swing a little, then jump down onto the ground, bending the knees for a soft landing. Even better, hang upside down on a gravity inversion table to gently stretch out from head to toe.
You Don't Shrink with Age
Invert Gravity to Straighten Up
There are many ways to prevent shrinking by over-curvature. The key is to use gravity to the body's advantage rather than to its detriment. For example, doing a headstand as in Yoga inverts the body and is a good balancing exercise. But think about it: In a headstand, the entire body weight is carried by the head. Poor neck! Who, in their right mind, wants to carry their entire body weight on the top of their head? There are two better options to defy gravity: The first one is a , the second, a Gravity Inversion Table. Yoga Inversion Swing
Dig a big hole in the ground, to plant a new tree in the garden perhaps? Make sure you swap hands occasionally to balance out the action. Digging strengthens the arms and spine. It also boosts lung power and uses up many superfluous calories.
Always perform a "counter move" or "recovery move" after any strenuous task to avoid suffering pain and stiffness the next day. To fully understand the importance of counter moves watch the next video.
9. Carrying and Lifting
The action of carrying weight is so easily incorporated into daily movement habits, it couldn't be more simple. Only buy as much food at the supermarket as you can carry on foot walking back home. More frequent visits, buying fewer and fresher items, will help you get stronger and more fit. You may think that there is no time to walk to the supermarket but adopting this method will save you all the time and money wasted lifting weights at the gym!
10. Jumping and Running
Running or jogging is jumping alternatively from one foot onto the other while traveling forward. Occasionally run to catch a bus or a ball. Challenge yourself to jump down the last 2 or 3 steps on a stair case. The benefit of jumping is that you become weightless at the top of the jump.
Running and jumping requires soft landing through well aligned feet, ankles and knees or damage may occur. The next short video illustrates this,
Here is the promised quiz: How Well Do You Move?view quiz statistics
The loss of basic movement functions in the body is grotesque and progressive. With an excess of beds, sofas, chairs, and tables, the obesity and immobility pandemics can only get worse. Neither can they be halted by talking about food and exercise only. Alongside the food scandal that is destroying human health, the fitness and pharmaceutical industries take advantage of the food industry victims. It is time we took our health back into our own bodies. I hope that "10 Functional Training Moves That Can Be Applied in Daily Living" has opened you eyes, your body, and your brain to a new, more sensible and natural approach to being fit and healthy.
Don't forget to take the quiz and please leave your thoughts, comments and questions below.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
How can I learn to squat? I'm fifty-five, and I cannot squat anymore because my knees hurt. Is there any way I could ever learn to squat again?
Your knees probably hurt for two reasons: (1) they may not be adequately aligned and (2) they are stiff because they never reach full mobility. This is a catch 22 situation. Joints get stiff from a lack of use (a lack of movement), and stiffness in the joints stops them moving to full capacity.
Another reason that people cannot squat is that the thigh muscles are too weak.
You can do three things to learn to squat again.
1. Re-align your ankles and knees. How? Follow the instructions in this article:
2. Once knee alignment is corrected, you are ready to begin getting the knees fully mobile and flexible. This means folding the lower leg to full capacity until the foot touches the butt.
3. Finally, learn to strengthen the thighs by doing half squats, and gradually working your way down deeper into full squats holding on to the kitchen top while waiting for the potatoes to cook (or something).
Put this advice into practice, and you'll be able to squat again in a few weeks time, no problem. But don't overdo it, remember my motto: No Pain, Just Gain.