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Functional Fitness Leads to the Best Fitness
So now that we know our best fitness is natural fitness we need to figure out how to be naturally fit. Think about indigenous populations that don’t have cars, desks and chairs, etc. They are still moving naturally (I would argue – the way a human is supposed to move). Natural movement for them is a lot of walking, squatting, climbing, and sitting on the floor or standing. They don’t sit in chairs or on beds. These people are functionally fit, as they have the agility to do the work they need to get by in their lives. Our modern bodies don’t need to move the same way when we are just sitting in furniture most of the day. So we lose certain aspects of the fitness we were born with. Our legs can’t get us up and down from the ground so easily, we get tired after walking short periods, our feet hurt from standing, our spine can’t hold our heads tall. These are all signs of losing our natural fitness.
What’s the solution? Most people can’t (or don’t want to) quit their jobs and move to a place you can walk everywhere. But everyone can incorporate more primal movement into your life. Want to know the easiest way?
GIVE UP YOUR FURNITURE!
Yes, your beloved furniture is standing in the way of your best fitness. It is a big contributor to your back pain, your bad posture, tight leg muscles, and lack of mobility. Chairs and couches cause your body to slump into an unnatural position and, what’s worse, they are so comfortable that we don’t move once we’re in them! So now we’re not just putting our body in a non-ideal position, but we’re leaving it there and being sedentary. Being sedentary in a big comfy couch is not going to get you the best fitness!
Practical Ways to Rid Yourself of Furniture
Not ready to go furniture-free? It’s a big change, but you don’t need to go all the way to see changes in your fitness level. Figure out which level you’re ready for and go for it – one baby step at a time. Or, if you’re feeling confident, ditch it all – it’s so freeing!
1 – Create a Floor Sitting Area
Move some of your furniture to the side of your room. Add a rug or something inviting to sit on. When we had carpet I just used a few thick organic cotton blankets to spread on the floor. If you already have a gymnastics mat you can bring that to use for the floor sitting area. Add a couple of oversized pillows, or specialty floor pillows if you desire. The goal is not just to floor sit more, but to ‘force’ you to get up and down from the floor more.
2 – Get Rid of Your Couch
Marvel in the amount of space you have after it’s gone! After getting rid of your couch it should be easy to ditch the comfy chairs too! I recommend keeping some chairs, the simple wooden chairs are generally much better for you and are good to have for company. Just don’t have these out in a convenient place. You should be sitting on the floor more by this step!
3 – Tweak Your Desk
If you work in the home, or just spend time at your desk with your computer, you need to look at the area you’re using. I now, and have always, liked to work on the floor. It allows me to constantly change my positions, even adding some stretches. If you love your desk and have a desktop computer you can’t move, at least try to be mobile – stand, get a more dynamic stool to use for sitting, etc. Otherwise, move your computer to a more movement-friendly space like the floor or a coffee table. If it’s a low coffee table you can sit or squat on the floor to work.
4 – Lower Your Table
Most people think of sitting on the floor to eat as a Japanese tradition, but many cultures practice this. Check out these reasons Indians sit on the floor to eat and the benefits. There are a few ways to do this. You can simply cut the legs off of your current table to make it low to the ground. This is good because you still have a table for easy clean ups. You could also get rid of your table (remember you may want to keep the chairs for company!) and eat on the floor on a blanket or mat, a la picnic style. I will warn you that this gets a bit messy and you may want to have a rotation of blankets to use when others are getting washed.
5 – Change Your Bed
Beds are usually just at the right height where we can sit on them without barely moving. Sure, it feels great, but it is another crutch for our laziness! The easiest thing to change is to get rid of the frame and box springs and put your mattress on the floor. Better yet, give up your mattress and invest in a more natural bed, such as a traditional Japanese Futon, which is known to help back problems. Another option is to contact a local futon maker, I had mine custom made with wool wrapped around an organic cotton core and they are comfortable for our family. Others like to sleep in hammocks and find the regular motion comforting. Find what works for your body!
Create a Play Area
Playrooms need not be only for kids! If you do have kids, you can create your own sensory room for them that you can use too. If you don’t have kids, there’s no reason not to still have a play area in your house if you’re not ready to transform your whole house! Or, set up random items throughout your house for easy play – leave a pull-up bar up, a mat or two out, and reserve some wall space for wall handstands. The easier you make it on yourself, the more you will end up moving!
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