Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How much "Ground Time" do you have daily?

I wanted to expand on a Facebook post I posted recently.

Here are the two pictures;  A deep squat (top) & a toe sit rest posture (bottom). The point being, that many people have a hard time doing something like this.  I have many clients who's toughest exercises, are actually their own body weight and being on the ground (which brings up the point of keeping things simple - we don't need extravagant workouts to enhance health)

Think about your average day for a second.  How much time do you spend on the ground/floor? Not too much I'd be willing to bet.  Here's what an average person does in our world today; 

  • Wake up and sit at the kitchen table to eat or on the couch/chair and turn on the tv. 
  • Check emails, social media etc... while sitting. 
  • Go get in your car to drive to work (seated). 
  • Go to work, and sit for 8-10hrs a day (for most of the day). 
  • Get back in your car and drive home. 
  • Get home (exhausted from your day) and sprawl out on the couch or chair in front of the tv. 
  • Then head to bed.  
Any ground work there at all?  Nope.  Yet, we used to live on the ground.  We were designed as a part of nature, and regardless of what we think, we still are. Our bodies are not meant to be in chairs, couches, beds etc so often, and worse, day after day throughout our lives. 

I've had so many clients, whom when you ask them to get down on the ground, they either refuse or grunt and groan all the way down, and all the way up.  It's hard for them, it's uncomfortable being down there, and they can barely get up (if at all) without assistance of their Fitness Coach or sturdy object. I physically have to teach them / remind them of how to get up safely, to begin building the mobility and strength required to "just do it". 

Let's think about the daily life implications of this:

  • You know you can't get up and down off the ground very well, so you avoid it.  
  • You avoid it for weeks, months and then years.  
  • Our body adapts incredibly well to what we do most, so therefore you experience pains and symptoms from not moving your joints and muscles through their natural ranges of motion (because you avoid getting down on the ground). 
  • One day (at any age), you fall to the ground.  You may or may not be injured, but regardless you struggle to get up, if at all.  
  • As we age, this becomes a greater risk of severe injury or even death. 
I guarantee you many people are reading this thinking, "well that's just silly and overblown." But trust me, I see it daily. Our ancestors practiced it daily (naturally) by sitting in a squat position, sleeping on the ground, resting in various postures (such as a kneeling tall sit posture) to perform daily tasks.  We don't! And we're getting worse at it.  

Our body adjusts to what we do most.  Fortunately for all of us, we have no reason not to do practice this.  It requires, no cost, no special equipment, and really doesn't take long.  

Here's some ideas for you to try to implement into your daily routine;

  • Sit on the floor for 5-10min (maybe start with less depending on how uncomfortable you are) while you watch TV.  If you have to, modify your position so you're propped up with some pillows or against the couch/chair.  Regardless, you need to get down there, and get back up eventually. 
  • Spend at least 3-5min (or more) in a deep squat position.  This is a natural resting position that the majority of people can't do today.  If you're uncomfortable at all, make modifications to start with, like keeping your back against a wall.  
  • Meditate on the floor.  Sit cross legged, kneeling or lying down even. Regardless, do a 5-10min meditation on the floor.  
  • Do some yoga, or stretching.  
  • Read your book on the floor.  Every few minutes adjust your position;  cross legged, kneeling, toe sit rest posture, side sit posture, lying on your back etc... The adjustments will not only get your body comfortable with various positions, but it will get your joints moving as well. 
Consider this before you decide to get that gym membership or start some fancy routine.  If your body can't move from the ground to standing comfortably, you need to prioritize your goals and put that "sick-pack" on hold.