What Kind of Animal Are YOU? The “BEST” Activities for Lifelong Health and Mobility

“How should I be moving?”

“Which activities are the best ones if I want to stay healthy and injury free?”

I get these types of questions all the time.

The answer might surprise you.

First, I have a question:

What kind of animal are you?

Wait, what? I know you’re a human animal…

What I mean is: how does your unique body love to move in the world?

If you don’t know, then you probably aren’t moving in the best way(s) for you. But don’t worry – I’m going to help you figure this out! In fact, it’s pretty simple…

Mary Oliver, in one of my favorite poems of all time, writes:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

How many of us arrive at a new workout or exercise mentality that looks and feels a lot like walking on our knees repenting for a hundred miles through the desert?! I know. I’ve been there…over and over.

So what should we be doing?

  • Do something that makes you happy.
  • Do something that puts a stupid cheesy grin on your face.
  • Do something that feels good in your bones and your soul.
  • Do something that is so YOU it couldn’t possibly be labeled “exercise.”

It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I truly let go of trying so hard to do the healthiest, best and “right” things for my body…and started to choose whatever felt the most fun and made me the happiest. You know what this feels like?

F R E E D O M

I would now argue that this philosophy is what’s healthiest and best – and, it changes over time, like we do! What we enjoy and love today might not be what we need and want a year or five years from now.

When we approach movement with the fluidity of life itself, allowing what we want and need to evolve with us – we make space for unlimited choice. We’ll feel free to move how we want, when we want, in ways we want…for a lifetime.

Maybe you’re already doing this and if so, I salute your brave departure from modern exercise mentality!

Some of you might be thinking “Yeah but some people don’t exercise at all and that’s bad for you! We all need strong muscles and hearts and there’s no way to get that without working hard for it.” Hang in here with me 🙂

If you’re a professional athlete or serious about a particular sport…hopefully that thing makes your heart and body sing and come alive, because chances are you’ll have to do a lot of other things that aren’t so fun in order to be the best at your sport. This post doesn’t necessarily apply to you.

I want to help those of you who think working out is a chore, a bore or always a downright sufferfest lacking any enjoyment. And if you’re the type of person who always wants to do the “right” thing (AKA the “healthiest” as demonstrated by science or the latest studies), then my hope is maybe you’ll find yourself forgoing what’s “right” in favor of what feels good…and in doing so discover a whole new way of moving that will last a lifetime and fuel your desires to get and stay healthy.

I am an animal that loves…

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Athletes – Increase Your Efficiency & Power Potential as a Mover by Up to 10x

What if I told you that you have as your birthright the ability as a mover and athlete to feel weightless, springy, even buoyant? What if I also told you that the same way you access this birthright allows you to need less or no warm-up time before activities, helps you recover faster and rarely get sore? And, what if I told you that this same system, when optimized, could dramatically increase your efficiency and power potential as an athlete (meaning, if you’re a competitive athlete you may just decrease times and increase speed/agility/ability)?

All of the above is absolutely available to you.

Healthy fascia grants us this birthright.

If you want to access all of the above, listen up:

We have 10 times as many proprioceptors in our fascia than we do muscle fiber.

Proprioception is the brain’s ability to detect our physical body in space, and then conduct our movements within that space.

If you’re an athlete it’s critical to know your way around whatever space you perform in right? If you’re a gymnast that means you need to know your way around the balance beam, uneven bars or how to throw yourself across the floor. If you’re a trail runner you need to have keen awareness of your terrain, ideally without that awareness interrupting your ability to run quickly. If you’re an MMA fighter you need to not only be able to control your body in physical space, but be able to predict and control someone else’s too!

All of these things require healthy proprioception.

Have you ever tried to perform a movement only to feel like you have a “dumb” arm or leg? Maybe it’s easier on one side than the other. This has a lot do with proprioception!

Let’s get nerdy for a moment:

Proprioceptors are highly specialized sensory receptors on nerve endings found in muscles, tendons and joints. They’re responsible for communicating information about motion and position between our brain and body to make us aware of our own body position and movement in space. Proprioceptors detect subtle changes in movement, position, tension and force within the body.

I’ll say it again because it’s so crazy important:

We have 10 times as many proprioceptors in our fascia than we do muscle fiber!

I’m not going to get super sciency on you, because this whole process is quite complicated when we start talking nerves, brain, muscle spindles, golgi tendons etc. The important thing is, because of the distribution of proprioceptors in our fascial system, then…

On a very physical/visceral level, our fascial system is an organ of perception!

Fascia is the main system by which we perceive ourselves – body and psyche – in the physical world.

If you have fascia that is dehydrated, brittle and/or stuck to itself in giant adhesions that aren’t allowing muscle fibers to glide quickly and efficiently or nerves to communicate effectively, then your proprioception is going to SUCK.

Think of the fascia like a superhighway for our nerves to travel between the body and brain. If that superhighway crumbles in places or gets squished to only one lane, then those nerves are going to have a much harder time traveling and communicating freely. And our sensory receptors – proprioceptors – won’t be able to communicate efficiently.

Most of us walk around every day not realizing how GOOD we can feel! We enter adulthood and get used to feeling a little creaky, achy, heavy…and since no one told us we could feel any different, that becomes our normal; slowly getting worse and worse as we age.

Well I’m here to tell you that’s NOT how we have to feel!

I do NOT believe we have to age like this. I believe, based on experience, that we can feel light, springy, bouyant and powerful as movers for as long as we want – if we take care of our fascia.

I was certainly one of those people that always felt heavy and achy, like I was carrying around a bunch of led weights…until I stumbled onto this amazing birthright we’ve been granted as human beings.

I accidentally optimized my body for peak performance as an athlete:

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