What If We Lead Lives That Created Barriers To Disease Instead Of Opening Doors To Them?
The wise words of Paul McCarthy during his fantastic TedxUCLA talk.
(Don’t worry, I’ve shared it below)
It’s an interesting question.
We know that exercise, healthy nutrition and plenty of sleep are all essential for health.
So why aren’t we getting healthier?
Why are we still getting so much sicker?
Should we be totally reconsidering our approach to health?
Could it be that we need to rethink how we do everything – exercise included?
If I asked you what constitutes good exercise, could you tell me?
Sure, we know that cardiovascular exercise is good for our heart. We also know that resistance training or weightlifting is good for healthy muscles and bones.
Up till now, you’d be fairly confident you’re doing it right if you had a little of both in your weekly exercise program.
Add to that eliminating junk and processed foods as much as possible, reducing refined sugar and moderating alcohol and other drugs.
Plus, eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies, moderate amounts of healthy fats and enough protein and you’re extremely healthy right?
I think there’s still something missing.
In fact, we all do here at Unity Gym. And after doing my research, it seems that there’s many others who’d agree.
Here’s the thing, not all movements are created equal.
And not all exercise is either … sure sitting in an assisted exercise machine moving your legs back and forth at your local gym is a good way to strengthen a few muscles and burn a few calories.
But there’s a whole world of benefits that play a huge roll in your long term health that you’re missing out on.
Such as complex motor activity in your brain …
I.e., the skill component.
It’s the skill component of movement that leads to massive cognitive improvements. The type of cognitive improvement that prevents brain disease.
Weather you like it or not, complex movement is actually hardwired into human development and essential for your health.
This aspect of exercise has been completely missed by the common aesthetics fitness clubs.
Although sports like bodybuilding and the myriad of spin offs were an important part of the evolution of modern exercise, (which I credit for much of my initial experience), they do not support, or encourage development in the brain that’s anywhere near equal to gymnastics, martial arts or even dance.
This is where I beleive movement based sports and hobbies are superior to gym exercise.
The neural plasticity occurs because of the movement complexity; not the intensity or volume.
Now before my fellow barbell community totally freaks out, I am NOT suggesting that weightlifting isn’t essential to our health.
Quite the contrary.
I’m just suggesting that we all apply a more holistic approach to our movement programs.
A holistic program should include:
- Even priority of mobility and strength
- Plenty of hand-eye coordination drills
- Progressive difficulty, intensity and overload
In general, I think we need to shake things up a bit.
I urge our big gun medicos (whom we rely on so heavily to support our health) to invest more of their time investigating the many benefits of movement as prescription to better health.
An area poorly understood currently!
I’m envisioning a world where we go to the doctor and get a movement prescription instead of a drug prescription.
A world I believe we’re only a few good research studies away from achieving with the right attitude.
In addition, I suggest our gyms and personal trainers open up to the idea of variety in movement, shed the dogma of body image goals, and direct their focus towards understanding how movement improves brain cognitive function.
Because there’s a lot more at stake than just our muscles and bones.
So what can you do?
As Paul suggests in this TedxUCLA talk, start your own movement revolution … it will improve your health in ways pharmaceuticals never can!