The term “natural” gets thrown around all the time. It has many different contexts and meanings. One thing that has struck me recently is that people aren’t willing to do stuff to fix or optimize their bodies. I could speculate on the various reasons as to why. But, one thought struck me: people don’t realize that our environment, culture, and society are not set up to optimize their body and performance.
Let’s look at sitting as an example. To examine sitting, let’s look at why it is unnatural, how our environment/culture/society exacerbates this, how it affects us, and how to fix it.
Why: Our bodies are not designed to sit. In fact, they are designed to either move, squat low (ass to grass), or lay down. Sitting requires that our hip flexors are engaged while in a semi-lengthened state. Lot’s of sitting also causes compression of the lumbar spine, turning the glutes off, tightening hip flexors, and jamming your femur into the front of your hip socket.
How: In our society, for most jobs, travelling and most of our education, we sit! Unless we do something active as a job, most of our day is spent sitting.
Effect: Tight hip flexors can turn off the glutes, lead to lower back pain, hip pain, hip movement asymmetries. Lumbar spine compression can cause back pain and core dysfunction. Femurs jammed forward in hip sockets can interact with or cause the tight hip flexors, and then lead to all the same issues of tight hip flexors, thereby preventing full hip extension and flexion.
How to fix: Putting your spine into extension through the Mackenzie Push-Up, using the Egoscue method to reset your hip flexor tension, trigger point your glutes and hip flexors, stretch your hip flexors.
To undo the damage of doing something unnatural for your body (sitting), you need to do seemingly unnatural things (in terms of what our culture/society considers natural) to reverse the damage (trigger point, stretching, therapy).
Let’s look at some other unnatural stuff in our lives here in the western world and seemingly “unnatural” fixes for them:
- Distractions (phones, media, social media) and meditation/mindfulness
- Shoes and foot exercises
- Lights and sleep hygiene
- Shitty quality food and supplements
- Sedentary lifestyle and the need for crossfit or “exercise programs”
- Desk jobs and shoulder mobilization exercises
Your life is full of unnatural things, conventions, and demands. I hope you’ll consider that with all this unnatural (for your body) stuff in your environment, you’ve gotta do some unnatural (for society/culture) stuff to fix it!