Tim Anderson wants us to regain our ability to move on demand. Here’s how.
Do you remember when you were a kid, maybe 5 to 7 years old, and you could go from drawing some stick figures on a piece of paper to a full sprint across your neighbor’s yard in two seconds flat?
You remember, don’t you?
How you could get out of a car after a long trip and immediately climb a tree or some monkey bars once your parents had reached their destination?
Have you ever stopped to think how often you paused to warm-up before you engaged in amazing physical feats of strength, agility and speed when you were young? I am betting that you never even gave warming up a thought when you were a child. You had no physical limitations or inhibitions when you were young. You simply went from “stop” to “go” whenever you felt like it. Why were you able to do that? Was it simply because you were young, or was it simply because you were constantly moving your body the way it was designed to be moved?
So my question for you today is: Who taught you how to “warm-up?”
I think my first experience “warming-up” was during my first organized physical education class. I think I was in 4th grade. Even then though, warming-up was just a formality before I got to play dodge ball. It was never anything that prepared me to play. After all, I was ready to go. As I am sure you were. Later, when I got into organized sports (American Football), warming-up became a way of life. Every practice was started with calisthenics and stretching. We were told that this prepared our bodies for the physical demands we were going to encounter in practice. Okay, we were really just told to warm-up because the coach said so! Anyway, the idea and practice of warming-up became a regular thing in my life about the time I was in the sixth grade.
Later still, when I became involved with the health and fitness industry, a warm-up was necessary to prevent injury during training. I was taught that if I didn’t warm-up, or if my clients didn’t warm-up, I would likely sustain a training injury, or my performance would suffer. I am sure you have experienced similar thoughts, ideas and rituals regarding a “pre-activity warm-up” yourself. I can’t help but wonder though, we didn’t need to warm-up as children before we embarked on amazing physical feats and adventures, why then, do we need to warm-up as adults? You are probably thinking, “Kids are young and mobile. They are resilient. Adults are ‘older’, stiff and often immobile.” Yeah, maybe so. But do you think it is a child’s age that makes them so resilient, or do you think it is because a child simply spends a lot of his time moving throughout the day?
I believe, as adults, we should be able to do what we once did as children. We are still supposed to be resilient, mobile, agile, and strong even if we are 40, 50, or 70. I believe if we were to spend a great deal of our time moving throughout the day, like the way we were designed to move, we wouldn’t need to pause and “warm-up” before we embark on physical activities like strength training. Perhaps the only reason we need to warm-up before we train is because we spend the majority of our time being sedentary and we are not active like we used to be when we were younger. Age doesn’t make things grow old and fragile. Being sedentary does. Not using our bodies is what makes us stiff, immobile, and weak.
So, should we warm-up before we engage in physical activities like strength training? Yes, probably. Especially if we are sedentary for most of our days. However, if we start moving again, like we used to, eventually our bodies will not need to “warm-up.” We will just be ready to “go” when action and adventure call. I have experienced this in my own life. I started “pressing reset” three years ago with some simple developmental moves we all used to do when we were young children. Now if I do “warm-up” it only takes me about two minutes, if that. There are many days when I don’t warm-up at all. There are many days when I can just stop what I’m doing, go outside and run sprints. My body always feels “ready to go.” Here is a simple example of what my warm-up looks like when I do decide to warm-up:
That was pretty brief wasn’t it? Like I said, many days I don’t even do this before I engage in activity. I simply engage. I can do this now because I have spent three years performing those simple moves you saw in the video. In the beginning, I performed them frequently throughout the day. Now, I do them everyday, just not as frequent. I like to do them because they feel good, and the “reset” my body; back to the way it was when I was a young child. I could do anything back then. And now, I can do anything again.
I am not special. You can restore your body’s youth, too. You can restore your mobility and strength, your resilience. All you have to do is start moving the way you used to move when you were younger. All you have to do is “press reset.”