I’ve got this feeling that sometimes we use all the wrong criteria and metrics to determine our health, fitness or wellbeing. Sometimes we’re just plain missing the point.

“Barefoot shoes cause injuries. It must be true because a barefoot shoe company got sued.”

The shoes didn’t cause the injury. That’s like saying that your own feet are dangerous for your body (since barefoot shoes, by definition, offer no support at all and do not alter the way you’re already moving).  How about instead we consider that if our unsupported feet can’t carry us through life without pain, we investigate how we could shift our alignment and the way we move, so that they can? If you’re a runner who has always run in cushioned, supportive shoes, the myriad of muscles, tendons and bones in your feet haven’t needed to support your body while you run and so are not working optimally. If you desire to transition to barefoot walking (let alone running) there is a long and slow process of stretching, strengthening and reconnecting to be done before they’ll be able to cope. That’s about common sense and gradually progressed training and adjustment. Blaming the shoe kinda misses the point.

“I can squat with a 75 pound barbell, and I’m working so hard, I pee myself when I do it!”

The badge of honour of the Cross-fitter or powerlifter … “my muscles worked so hard I peed!”. If your body can’t hold in its pee, you are not strong, not by any measurement. Your core, your fundamental stabilising musculature, is weak. If you can lift heavy weights or your own bodyweight, that’s cool and strong and awesome. But make sure you build your foundations first, otherwise your body isn’t even functioning at the most basic level.

“I don’t have time to do yoga, I’m way too busy. I fit in a sweaty, intensive workout when I can.”

You Sweet Mama, are exactly the person who needs to skip that intensive workout today and DO some yoga. If the Y Word makes you think of woo woo hippy nonsense-ness, don’t call it yoga. Call it relaxing. Or stretching. Or breathing. You need to breathe, right? Stop, stop stop… and take a moment to just be. Sweating is cool and awesome too, but reducing the physiological and emotional stress on your body for few moments every day will do more to help you live longer and feel calmer.

“I have a 3 finger width diastasis recti which is why my tummy pooches out.”

A diastasis is not, contrary to popular belief, the reason you have a pooched tummy. It is a sign of a malfunctioning core – of excessive, unsupported intra abdominal pressure. Other signs might be lower back pain, a weak pelvic floor or even hernia or prolapse. The gap is not the problem. What caused the gap is the problem.  Don’t keep measuring it (that won’t help). Consider that the stability of the connective tissue that bridges the gap is more important that the width itself. And shift to thinking about a whole body solution to restore function, rather than a single muscle one (because muscles don’t work on their own). Consider also that the quality of our nutrition has way more to do with the way our belly looks than the exercises we do.

What do you think? Somewhere in amongst not feeling empowered, educated or in control enough of our own bodies, did we get the measurements of success all messed up?

 

FURTHER READING:

For a thorough and intelligent take on the Vibram lawsuit go HERE

For more on Crossfitting, weightlifting and peeing, go HERE and for background on the controversy go HERE

For more on why you need self-care before you need intensive workouts go HERE and more on doing yoga when you don’t do yoga… HERE

More on the real cause of a diastasis HERE and why you should stop measuring it HERE

More on why education works better than fixing HERE

 

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