A moving conversation…
July 8th, 2019
Movement and Depression
aka Newton, Modernity, and When To Shut The Lights Off
Overcoming what I call “sedentary depression” is THE biggest challenge facing anyone trying to change their lifestyle from one of non-movement to a more active way of being. Volumes of research continue to link the modern workplace, absorption in digital devices, and lack of exercise to the epidemic of clinical depression found in every developed country, most acutely here in the good old USA (We’re #1! At Not Moving At All!).
People look to exercise as a way to combat this, thinking, rightly, that part of their problem is physical. But that’s where the trouble starts. While it’s true that regular exercise boosts production of serotonin (our body’s main “feel good drug”), simply going for a walk or doing some pushups when you’re down can’t overcome years, sometimes decades of suppressed neurotransmitter levels conditioned into us by modern living. That’s where many clients fall off. When exercise doesn’t seem to “fix” their depression they say to hell with it and go back to their familiar patterns, which were the problem all along.
Exercising creates motivation and willpower, but depression saps it. What you end up with is a chicken and egg dilemma – exercise would give you motivation, but you need motivation to exercise. Where does that initial bit of momentum come from? Or, to the point, what’s blocking it? “My depression.” Fine. Where’s that coming from? It’s a serious question. I’d love it if I could just come on all Tony Robbins-like and say, “The only way to fix your motivation problem is to DO SOMETHING!”
But it doesn’t work like that. To quote Newton, “A body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion…will remain in motion…unless acted upon by an outside force.” What are the “outside forces” acting against us, depleting our momentum, undercutting our efforts to become “bodies in motion?” Our phones? Our jobs? Our office chairs? MODERNITY ITSELF?! Ok, fine. Once you get to that point resistance does seem futile, doesn’t it? This is the trap I see new clients set for themselves all the time. They start with “I want to change myself” and end up at “Society is against me. I’m not strong enough to change the WORLD!” It’s true, you’re not. So forget about The World. What’s in Your World that could change, right now? If we’re being honest we know damn well that we surround ourselves, intentionally and unintentionally, with “outside forces” acting against our best efforts to change and grow. What are YOURS? Do you even know? Here’s a few you may recognize, and a few others I bet you’ve never, ever thought about:
Do you keep a laptop or device in your room that’s just for consuming content? Get it out.
Do you have a stockpile of snacks to comfort you when you get depressed? Toss ‘em.
Do you “unplug” from work, or are you always connected? You don’t have to be.
Do you look at artificial light until the moment you go to bed? Cut back on that.
Do you clench your brow when you’re “trying to think?” It doesn’t help.
Do you ever just, you know, do nothing? It’s called meditation.
Do you ever breathe through your nose on purpose? Try it.
Do you have any friends that like going outside? Get one.
Do you sit/stand/sleep in hunched postures? Stop it.
Do you drink, like, any water at all? Start.
You may have noticed not one of these has to do with exercise, and yet they all do. They’re just a sample of the countless “outside forces” of modern living that so many of us are conditioned to that culminate in sedentary depression. Changing just one may be the thing that takes the edge off, preserving enough motivation to get you to your walk/pushups/movement, which will motivate you to keep changing, which will…you get the idea.
“Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.”
July 1st, 2019
The Couple That Plays Together…
Starting a journey into fitness and movement is damned difficult, there’s no two ways about it. Having someone beside you, supporting you, sweating with you is one of the surest ways to make it stick. When the two of you come through the other side, looking and feeling healthier and happier, then you can focus on the fun problem – finding adventures together! My lady/adventure buddy is gone until August, so to get my serotonin fix I’m giving big discounts for couples to come play the MonkeyStyle way. That’s right. July is offically:
Sign up together and get 50% off the first training package through July 31st.
June 18th, 2019
ACSM 2019: The Science of Granny Jumps
One of my life’s treasures is working with PK Move.org, a 501(3)(c) dedicated to teaching parkour to special populations. Founded in 2016 by three amazing ladies (who are also former students of mine), PK Move made waves recently at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) annual conference in Orlando where we presented the WORLD’S FIRST research study of parkour for seniors. That’s not a typo. PK Move’s philosophy (which I obviously share) is that parkour – a discipline based on efficient, creative locomotion – is accessible to everyone, not just teenage males hopped up on Red Bull.
This first two rounds of this study took place over 4 months starting last summer. The next round begins this fall, with hopes of securing a national grant to establish PK Move as a federally-recognized fall prevention program, helping us potentially save thousands of lives with our curriculum. Not bad for an activity often described as a “life-threatening” pursuit for “daredevils.” The (preliminary) science is in – Play Is Good For You!