Why Health is Countercultural (and how to be healthy and fit) - Upright Health

Why Health is Countercultural (and how to be healthy and fit)

Normal life makes you unhealthy

This morning I had a REAL conversation with a client.  She's been digging into understanding and exploring her body.  She's asking the right questions and putting in the work.  This brought her to a very interesting conclusion that she was excited - as well as distraught - to share with me.

"I realize that everything in my life is set up for my body to fail me."

What she meant:  "my environment and lifestyle don't promote the health of my body."

She was not saying that she has been choosing an unhealthy lifestyle... She was saying that most of her everyday activities - her "normal behaviors" - are unhealthy for her body

Huge difference.

She wasn't choosing anything; her lifestyle had been chosen for her.

She proceeded to shrug it off with a smile saying, "it's a bummer that in order to be healthy, you have to step outside of the 'normal' box."


“In order to be healthy, you have to step outside of the 'normal' box.

How technology robs us of movement - and health

Let's take a step back and discuss what she's getting at here.

Let's start with technology.  What is technology?  

Technology is anything that makes the life of a human easier or more efficient. Currently, we tend to think of this as electronic gadgets: cell phones, apps, plug-ins, weapons, self-driving cars, etc.

At one time, technology was the steam locomotive, cast-iron plows, sewing machines, and sofas.

What do all of these have to do with your body? 

They remove movement from your life.

And the new forms of technology?  Uber, Door Dash, dog walking services, Amazon...

You no longer need to leave the house for anything.

Technology outsources movement.  Our technology does the job for us so that we can physically do less (i.e. move less) and accomplish more.

This feels great. For a while.

But it's important to consider the cost that comes with it.  Loss of movement.  Katy Bowman refers to this as a 'tax.'

You get convenience, but you pay for it with a "loss of movement" tax.

You get convenience, but you pay for it with a "loss of movement" tax.

Lose movement. Lose health.

Think of movement as a nutrient. When you regularly move through your full range of motion at all of your joints, you are essentially feeding your joints their vegetables. They will continue to function well so your body continues to work pain free.

When there is a deficiency in movement - whether in frequency or range of motion - your joints are not getting their vegetables. It's more like hot pockets and Cheetos. Over and over again.

The more you starve your body of nutritious movement, ​the worse your body feels. 

The worse your body feels, the less you want to move...

And you're on a fast track to poor overall health. 

Does everyone want you to be unhealthy?

We see the effects of the loss of movement tax. We pay it every time we use technology.

But how do you get away from technology?

Technology is everywhere. It's convenient. It's comfortable. It's in your home. It's in your office. It is watching you. 

Technology prevails.

We have all of this convenience at our fingertips — and we feel the need to use it. The comfiest chairs, the delivery apps, the heaters, the instant communication, the social media, the biggest TV's, the big game, the phone, the phone, the phone.

What if you want to disconnect? 

Then you come up against the hardest part of the problem.

There's strong social pressure to stay engaged with technology and its associated behaviors.

Think about this: what happens if you remove your chair from your office desk? You don't watch the big game? Step away from social media? Stretch in your work space? Refuse to send text messages? Use a flip phone for phone calls?

What was your first reaction those ideas?

People react can react in many ways. This may include disbelief, scowling, bullying, condescension, looking away, gossiping, telling your mom, etc.

The reaction is generally one of rejection.

You don't want to use technology? You don't want to pay the loss of movement tax?

You are weird.

You are an outsider.

“In order for my body to be healthy, I have to choose to step outside normal.  To be weird.

Good Health is Countercultural

We have an interesting dilemma here...

In order for your body to be healthy, you have to choose to step outside normal.  To be weird.  It is literally countercultural.

For the health of your body, you'll need to remove some conveniences and be willing to act in ways that aren't considered normal.

To be healthy, step outside normal.

Is it easy?  No.

Possible?  Yes.

This doesn't look the same for everybody, nor does it need to. 

Here are a few examples of what's possible.

  • Choose to use the car only when absolutely necessary.  
  • Leave your house to pick up food (and avoid food-delivery apps)
  • Cook your own damn food!
  • Move around at work, in public transit, at gatherings, in stores. 
  • Remove chairs or get shorter chairs in order to use more hip, knee, and ankle range of motion.  
  • Be barefoot more often.  
  • Hang from anything and everything.

Take a moment: think about how you  can add more movement to your life. 

And then get moving. 


How to be healthy and fit in a nutshell

Recognize that technology and society have made it normal to never move.

Accept that to move more may seem "weird." More movement is countercultural. 

But the more movement we all add to our lives, the more normal it becomes. And the more normal movement becomes, the healthier we all become. 

Now go move!

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About the Author

Mitch suffered with debilitating back pain and hip stiffness as a college basketball player. Dissatisfied with how he felt, he began a journey to heal his own body. He now helps clients from diverse backgrounds move well and feel good.

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