Move and Be Free
Isn’t freedom to move the most fundamental freedom there is? – Erwan Le Corre, founder MovNat
Imagine that walking tires you out quickly. You cannot walk more than five minutes before desperately needing a rest. Add to that the fact that you are too weak to carry a day’s worth of food more than five minutes. Let’s say you’re also too inflexible to sit comfortably on the ground for very long.
Now try to imagine all the places you cannot go: anywhere without cars, regular and cheap food, or chairs. You are strongly dependent on the presence and goodwill of other people for things as simple as your comfort. Because of your inability to move your body and endure hardship, you have fewer options for where you can go and the things you can do. You literally could not go more than five minutes without needing someone or something to help you. If you get stuck or behind schedule, you’re screwed because you cannot run to catch a bus, much less a few miles to the nearest gas station if your car breaks down out of cell phone range on an urgent errand. You are dependent, in a very visceral sense.
Living with Fear
Fear is a very real part of your life. Not acute terror, but in the back of your mind, you’re always afraid of missing a bus, getting caught without a place to eat, or having to walk up a massive hill to get home while carrying groceries. These fears keep you from enjoying life as much as you might like. Your own body is a prison of pain, because your inflexibility makes you stiff and sore all the time, from things as simple and necessary as sitting at your desk all day.
You cannot carry your toddler comfortably, and you cannot move fast while doing so to carry him or her to safety. Thus, you are afraid for them and sometimes decide it’s just safer to keep them inside, where you don’t have to worry about whether or not you could get them out of trouble.
The result is that you keep to your safe routine. Vacations are careful, protected affairs conducted entirely within the confines of tourist-approved domains. Adventure is left to your bookshelf and your childhood memories.
I’ll grant that these are little things taken against the backdrop of finding a good job, a loving spouse, and a nurturing school for your child, but try to imagine the little insecurities that would always plague you and the nagging pains that would make you resent your body. Realize that your world gets more and more constricted as your body gets less and less mobile. The state of mind you would have is one of constant oppression. Do you think this attitude would seep into other areas of your life? Do you think your difficulty in expressing something as basic as the intention to climb a tree might limit the kinds of intentions you allow yourself?
The Way to Freedom
When I began trying to take ownership of my health and fitness, I created a list of all the things the human body was capable of doing. I wanted to create a fitness method from scratch, instead of relying on what I’d been taught in CrossFit or the other programs I followed. I wanted to try, as best as possible, to create something for myself, based on my own interpretation of human health and ability
The list I came up with included a number of different categories, but almost all of them revolved around moving the body, as opposed to moving external weights. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that the human body had a much bigger library ways to move itself than ways to move other things. This suggested that perhaps we ought to be moving ourselves more than other things, especially if we wanted to be healthy and fit. I still realized the value of weightlifting as a means to improve human movement, but I came to the conclusion that, for general health and vitality, the end result of any fitness program ought to be improved movement.
It also seemed to me that focusing on freedom of movement seemed to produce more holistic results than isolating specific elements of health, like cardio or strength.
Instead of training to be fit, simply train to interface better with your world. In a way, that’s what the body is: an interface between our intentions and the physical world.
Improving the strength of that interface would make us more free, because it would reduce the distance between what we want to do and actually being able to do it.
That was the theory anyway.
Movement is Freedom
Now imagine that you started improving your ability to move. Eventually, you can run for an hour, and you can run fast for several minutes at a time. You are strong enough to carry food, cameras, laptops, notebooks, and spare clothing. You’re flexible enough to climb under your car to fix a problem. Imagine the possibilities that would open up to you. Not only would you be able to walk around your favorite travel destinations, you could do so for hours before needing to stop and buy food. You could explore the world, instead of paying someone to show it to you.
You go on adventures, every day, because you know you can handle yourself if things get dicey, and you can take any necessities with you, as long and far as you might need to. Walking isn’t such a difficult thing, so anywhere you might want to get to seems that much closer and accessible. You aren’t afraid to go places, explore sidetracks, or follow where whimsy might lead. You can go off the beaten trail, literally, because you can now handle the rough terrain.
Freedom of Body comes from Freedom of Movement
Your life is not ruled by the nagging, quiet fear that worries about such simple things as getting trapped, stranded, or hungry. Being able to rely on yourself, you can save money, time, and frustration.
You can protect your children. You take them to exciting, exotic places. You show them that the world is not a dangerous, confining place, but a playground full of possibility and freedom.
Compare the state of mind you’d have with the one described above. You would feel free. You could move in the world with a body that is allied to your cause of happiness. I guarantee, and know from experience, that this sense of freedom would work its way into other areas of your life. When you know you can make your intentions a reality, a strange thing might start to happen: you might start having bigger intentions, the kind that would have been too crazy or scary to even contemplate before, the kind that could change your life or change the world.
I’m working on a handbook to explain my experiences with fitness and the role I think it should play in our lives. I have seen too many people who find themselves at war with themselves over their own health. I have also become really fed up with the fitness industry misleading people to make a profit. I’d like to clear away some of the myths and the lies, and present a vision of health that does not involve self-destructive exercise or starvation. My goal is to explain the fitness and diet aspects of health in a way that lets you make your own decisions. If anything in this article resonated with you, check out my ebook.