When I was 14 years old I was hit by a car and died, twice.
I was told if I fully recovered movement it would be laboured and my body would be arthritic by the time I reached the age of 40. I decided to prove them wrong and do more – of everything. Surely being highly active would keep me healthy and strong, right?
Wrong. Over the years, my over-active lifestyle wasn’t helping and my aches and pains got worse. I developed a ‘rude boy swagger’ and in my 30s I pulled my back out playing with my kids. Why?
What I learnt was that overloading a broken body wasn’t helping. To be truly fit and strong, I needed to start by improving my body’s natural movement abilities and build it from there.
Your body is an amazing and ever adapting machine. It is made to move. So move more, feel better and enjoy the process. Here’s a starter for 10:
- Firstly, if you have aches and pains you can, and should, fix it. I have learned from my clients that it’s never too late to rectify old issues and get your body moving in the way you want it to. Give your body a full ‘service’ before you sprint or run, so your body can handle the challenge. You might need to start by stretching, strengthening and improving your ranges of motion.
- Change takes energy and commitment, so be patient with yourself – start small, go slow and steady, then build up. Aim to improve your ability to move, so you can build a strong base. If you start too fast and too hard, you are likely to aggravate any existing issues or risk injury.
- When you can move without issues, begin to include more activity into every day and have fun with it. Balance on tree roots, hang from the monkey bars, open your arms up wide, breathe and stretch – whatever – just find your fun and gently explore your natural movement instincts.
- Natural movement is not essential to weight loss, toning or muscle gain. But in my view it is essential to enjoying your life more by feeling free to move and do the things you want more often, without pain or limited movement.
Now in my 40s, I feel and move better than ever. I am free of arthritis and, with regular maintenance, my exercise efforts are fully effective. I aim to live with a spring in my step well into the golden years.
Richard Bruce is a new contributor to our regular Health columns. He has a holistic approach to health and fitness and lives with his family in Army Bay.