"my knee is crap."
A client whom I hadn't seen for a while, was catching me up on her state of things, and she concluded with:
"Oh, yeah, and my knee is crap."
Because I've heard this or similar sentiments expressed (and, yes, have even thought them myself), I sighed.
This sense of betrayal, frustration, resignation is all too prevalent amongst my fellow humans - who, despite (or because of) our first-world privileges and developments - are succumbing to the 'fact that their bodies are falling apart' - and, while I'm feeling their frustration over the unavoidable casualties of aging, I know, I JUST KNOW, DAMMIT! they're not unavoidable or inevitable.
And ...I feel even more frustrated when trying to communicate that convincingly.
To say that 'No, your body isn't betraying you, in fact, it's doing exactly what it's designed to do in response to the environment it's expected to deal with..." sounds a lot like blame and judgement, and that's not where I'm coming from.
Because, as I often say, we're all in this fish bowl together, which most of us don't even realize we're in.
Even when we're doing all the things we're told we're supposed to be doing in order to say healthy and functional, but still not escaping the grip of pain and degeneration ... the hard truth is, we live in a world that prioritizes ease. And safety.
This podcast succinctly captured a very simple overview of human history, in which each major 'revolution': agricultural, industrial, and now, informational, had ease as its driving force.
With greater ease comes less movement on the level of the individual. To secure a population's means of survival to a specific place ... first on a farm, then in a factory (where we all benefit from mass-production and distribution), now on a computer (think about it... you could practically run your own life from the touch screen of your phone), means that much less movement and effort we need to expend to live.
Which also means, that much less impetus your body has to meet its own movement requirements, which, no matter how innovative we are in our technology, have changed hardly at all over the past 10,000+ years.
Which ALSO means, your knee is not crap.
It's not betraying you. It's simply starving for the varied movement experiences that our wondrous, brilliant, innovative technology cannot and will not provide.
This is true of all our body parts, all of our trillions of cells, which are tiny bodies themselves with movement requirements, and each one subject to our movement (and non-movement) choices, which again, are not our fault, really. Because as a whole, we really don't have a sense of the bigger picture of our movement potential.
I'm just now learning this. And I'm trying my best to pass it along to anyone who will listen.
I'm trying to tell you to give your body the benefit of the doubt. It's not betraying you. It's not succumbing to the inevitable decline of age. It's following an innate and brilliant program of adaptation and energy conservation, but unfortunately, as some theories go, is a biological mismatch for our technological advances to which we're trying to adapt, but cannot evolve within quickly enough.
There is a difference.
I'm not naysaying progress (or ease, or comfort... believe me). But, progress for progress' sake without an eye on our relationship to natural order is ignoring the many, MANY signals, cries, and screams our bodies are giving us to say they can't keep up.
This client, the owner of the knee, has received the opinion that surgery is a solution. She is seeking a second opinion, but her statement tells me that she's already resigning to fact that her body is faulty and there's nothing she can do about it.
I don't mean offense to those who've made that choice already. And, sometimes, that is what is called for. It's just that I grieve when there are so few options given that do not or cannot see the relationship between the environment we are expected to live in, and how our bodies are doing the best they can to adapt, but can only do so to a point.
I want to help you end the war with your body. I don't want you to believe it's failing you, or is helplessly falling prey to the ravages of time, or predetermined by genetics to suffer.
If I can do anything, I want to open your mind to the possibility that your body really is trying to tell you something, and that it can thrive given the right circumstances. I want to invite you to look beyond what a largely sedentary culture is calling movement, as in, something that only happens in the form of 'exercise'; to see a whole world of possible movement available to you in every moment.
I want to help you understand that the program is running perfectly. It's the input that's the problem.
The good news is: you have influence over the input. And, it's never too late to start.
So, where DO you start?
Get up and move your body right now! Seriously. Just stand up, stretch, walk around your couch, desk, whatever. Move your eyeballs around. Make big dramatic faces. Shake out your hands and arms and reach overhead. Stand up on your toes. ANYTHING! See? It's all movement you can do anytime.
Then, how 'bout reading "Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole Body Mobility", (paperback or ebook) if you need living proof and inspiration from 70- and 80-year old's regaining abilities they thought they lost to their youth.
Or, check out "Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement", to get a deeper picture of what movement really means and why your body can't live without it.
In my area? See if my personal training package is a fit for you by scheduling a free consult!
Let's do this. Let's buck the system. Let's grow old gracefully and actively together.