Many people have a lot to say about the movements we do in Functional Fitness, but when broken down they are really quite fundamental. I’m going to break down why we are trying to move like kids again.
Kids These Days
When you were a kid do you remember hearing adults tell you to walk with your feet parallel to each other? Squat with your chest up and knees out? Stand up straight? The list goes on and on, the truth is there are 2 reasons you never heard that. First, your parents likely never knew good from bad movement. The real reason, however, is because you were moving perfectly all on your own. How could you move perfectly if you were not taught to do so? These movements are all natural movements from the day you are born. Referring to the posted pictures, I wish I could say I taught our amazing niece, Sofia, to squat at 1 year old. Trust me, like most women she also does not listen to me haha.
If you have a child about 10 years old or younger watch them move. (please do not go to an elementary school and say you are there to watch kids move). When they run outside with friends you will notice they do not land in their heels like you probably do. When they kneel down to pick up their favorite ball they will do a squat as I mentioned earlier but most adults or teenagers will kneel down either to one knee or squat down on their toes.
One of the main reasons for this is because we spend way too much time sitting. It starts at school then as we get older it continues at work. From preschool on, we are taught to sit in a chair while the teacher is talking for hours at a time. Am I saying it is bad to sit? No, it is bad to hold any one position for too long. Especially if you are not taught how to stand or sit correctly. When you hold a position for hours like most of us do with sitting, then our body adapts to it. It adapts by shortening your hamstrings and hip flexors which without getting into too much detail pulls on the pelvis and creates a lot of low back pain.
However, all of this can be avoided with one simple solution: Staying active! As we get older, we sit more and become less and less active. There is more studying or more hours put in at the office and therefore we get very tight. I have worked with freshman in high school who can’t even come close to touching their toes or getting their arms all the way above their head. This is not because they forgot how to move, it’s because they are just not mobile enough due to years of being too stagnant.
So, the amazing body you were given finds ways to adapt. If you lose ankle flexibility you don’t just simply stop picking things up off the ground, right? You adapt, by keeping those heels up and squatting in your toes. When you begin not being able to perform these basic tasks correctly is when you get injured. One day you will call upon your athleticism, it will most likely be that random pick up game your friend invites you to. You think, “yeah let’s do it I have not played in years.” You start playing, you’re jumping, twisting, doing all the athletic moves you used to do when you were young and mobile and then suddenly, you feel pain. You injured yourself not because you’re old and your body “just can’t do that anymore” it’s because you never kept up with it.
Please do not misread my message, I am not saying to stay home and hide from athletics. I’m actually saying the opposite, it’s not too late! Get out there! Run, move, pick stuff up, put it down….pick it up again. Find a great Functional Fitness gym 😉 with educated coaches that can help you get to moving like a painfree kid again! If you take nothing else from this, the key to being pain free is not hiding from activity. One thing I can promise you is that it won’t get better on its own. Fight your fears, get out there and make a change.