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For Best Results, Get Back To The Fundamentals of Fitness

I just got back from a fantastic daddy/daughter trip to New England with my daughter, Taryn. We had a fantastic time in the mountains north of Lake Winnipesaukee, along the border between New Hampshire and Maine. For a low-altitude Florida boy, the mountains hold a special fascination for me.

Naturally, we did a lot of hiking in the woods, down the mountain trails, crossing creeks bridged by downed trees, climbing along the sides of waterfalls, breathing the pure mountain air and drawing life from nature. It was amazing, and it got me thinking about you.

Now, when I’m on vacation, I make it my first priority to stay out of reach, as far from the pressure of running a practice as possible. But there I was, thinking about how I wish I could bring back a little piece of my trip to share with you. This trip really took me back to the fundamentals of why I started my chiropractic wellness practice 25 years ago. I wanted to help people achieve their best life by getting back to the basics with their health.

Back to Fundamentals

Back then, I didn’t understand everything that I have come to learn on my wellness journey, but I had a few fundamentals in place. One of those early keys that have stuck with me all these years is the concept that everything we need to learn about functional mobility and stability was known by our ancestors. In other words, we need to go back to moving like cavemen if we want to be fit.

OK…not exactly. Let me explain. (And forgive me if my thoughts are a little jumbled this week. I’ve got so much I want to tell you.)

Humans were designed with legs, not wheels. The first mention of any kind of a wheeled vehicle in history is in Eastern Europe around 4000 BC. I start with the assumption that humans have been on earth for about 6,000 years. The Egyptians didn’t have chariots until around 1800 BC, which is about the time Abraham was born. So, for thousands of years, everybody went everywhere ON FOOT.

Stop and think about that for a second. Imagine walking to the grocery store or the post office. Could you do it?

Reconnect To The Earth

Hiking through the mountains took me back to that simplicity of life, and that place of being reconnected with the earth. Of course, if I really wanted to get back to the fundamentals, I would have ditched my $150 hiking shoes (and often times, I do, but I wasn’t out to prove anything to anybody on this trip). Connectedness with the earth is a trait of our ancestors that we as a culture have lost. It’s not just an emotional connection or some kind of spiritual connection, it’s an electromagnetic connection. Our bodies conduct electrical signals, as does the earth. Grounding is the process of realigning our electromagnetic cycles with the earth. By insulating ourselves from the earth with rubber-sole shoes, we miss out on that benefit. Especially in America, where our bodies are constantly bombarded with radio waves, wifi waves, TV frequencies, and more, we need to regain our connection to the ground, to discharge all the extra electrical impulses, which can gradually damage our bodies on a cellular level.

That’s not my point — it’s kind of another side trail I took, like so many that we followed into the woods. And like those mountain trails, it’s always fun to see where we end up. Now, let’s get back on the main road.

Move Like We Were Designed To Move

Some people believe that we evolved from apes. I’m not one of those people, although I understand how you got to that conclusion and I respect your view. I would have liked to have more ape-like qualities when we were climbing some of the steeper slopes, but I also know that my ancestors would have handled it just fine – barefoot and ladder-free. Before we used machines to move around, we used our bodies to their maximum capacity – and we were healthy, lean, and free to move without pain. It reminded me of this terrific video from movnat.com. They have some great information on how our bodies were really designed to move.

While I’m all for convenience and speed, I am concerned that we have traded our health and vitality for comfort, especially in the last century. After all, why climb when I can take an elevator? Why sweat when I can turn down the air conditioning? Why run when I can drive?

The pyramids were built by hand, without machines. Could we do anything like that today…or has convenience made us weak? Could you pass the standard fitness test high schoolers were given in the 1950s?

The reason I named my practice “Fundamental Health Solutions” is that I believe our best health can be found by getting back to the way we were designed to move. If we would limit our diets to foods that were available 4,000 years ago, we would be healthier overall. If we would entertain ourselves like our ancestors did (participating in outdoor work, hunting, and games), we would have less pain and stiffness. Obesity didn’t exist until the Industrial Revolution (except among the children of royalty). If we would work like our grandparents did, we would see fewer muscle injuries.

Work Your Muscles In Groups

One thing that has contributed to the explosion of serious back injuries over the last 50 years is the proliferation of isolated exercises – toning and building muscle groups independently of each other. You will never hear me instruct anyone to work one single group of muscles by itself. You are risking serious injury. Your muscle groups operate in an intricate balance of tensions, like the wires of a suspension bridge. Most back injuries I treat are the result of imbalanced tensions – putting excess pressure or tension on one group of muscles without equally working the muscle groups that balance that group. My “Move Right Monday” exercise video series is an example of using natural movements in balance with each other to improve your stability, mobility, and motor control. Our ancestors didn’t go to the gym and work on ten different machines. They toned their muscles through their work – carrying loads by hand, lifting and pushing heavy objects, and running (from predators).

So how do we get back to our roots?

Start From Scratch

Let’s pretend for a minute that you don’t have a car, a sofa, or a gym membership.

  • Go for a walk outside. Reconnect to the earth. Go barefoot (if you can find some decent sod that won’t shred your feet).
  • Instead of working specific muscle groups at the gym, watch my “Move Right Monday” video series, where you will learn some simple movements that will naturally strengthen your core muscles and improve your mobility, stability, and flexibility.
  • If you can, plan a trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Unbelievable. And take some you care about. You will never forget it.
  • Simplify.

If you’re in the Naples area and you want to learn more about achieving your best health, stop by my office behind the YMCA on Pine Ridge Road, and let’s talk about where you are and where you want to go. I’ll look forward to meeting you. In the meantime, take a few seconds to share this article on your favorite social media channel. You never know who might be looking for this information right now!.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your PRINCIPLES is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

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