Many of us spend a lot of time ruminating and obsessing over the state of what we look like. As a result, the fitness business has built a juggernaut of an industry predicated primarily on helping you manipulate your body to look a certain way. Indeed, for many ‘working out’ is synonymous with the work of getting their body to ‘look’ fit.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing - there’s nothing wrong with striving for improvement including the desire to have a better looking body. After all, you only have one body and you might as well walk around in one that looks presentable. We all yearn to look our Sunday best – for some that means leaner, while for others it means more defined. But ultimately, how your body looks is of far less importance than how it feels or what it’s capable of doing functionally. A Ferrari may look great, but its longevity and performance is nothing without the proper engineering, motor, and maintenance - not to mention the mentality and skill of the driver.
Indeed, while much is made over aesthetics, where it comes to fitness and wellness, very little focus is spent on how our body moves or feels. To that end, there is an interesting study that came out in Brazil a few years ago that revealed a startling finding – how well you move is directly correlated with how long you will live. The study had people sit down on the ground and then stand up again with as few points of contact as possible. Those that sat down and stood up effortlessly using as few points of contact scored well and those that didn’t and needed lots of support scored poorly. The end result - those with a score of 8 (on a scale of 1-10) or above lived twice as long as those who scored below 8. At each point below 8 participants had a 21 percent greater chance of dying prematurely.
That’s mind blowing to think about…statistically speaking, how well you move equals how long you’ll live. Yet when it comes to fitness, people frequently work out for every reason except to move better. Moving better means finding a functional, graceful, and coordinated way to exercise. Some contend that they aren’t coordinated, but I reject that notion. Being coordinated and moving better is something you can work on just like getting your body to lose weight or tone up. There are many ways to get present and move better. For instance finding a skill based activity (sport, dance, martial arts) helps immensely. A good coach can also help you see and feel what perhaps you cant. It wasn’t until I found a great coach that I found my true rhythm in boxing. In the end, you can’t simply keep manipulating your body to look younger, leaner, and fitter. All material organisms will decay and atrophy. But true fitness and wellness is about the ability to move well - to improve and maintain your grace, health, and functionality.