Thursday, July 4, 2013

Are You Free?

It's Independence Day here in the United States. A day we celebrate freedom. A day to spend with family, friends, and neighbors as we grill some burgers, dogs, or chicken. We are free. Free to live and enjoy our lives, free to pursue happiness, free to make our own decisions about almost anything.

Freedom is a wonderful thing. There is nothing like being free. Though it may be difficult to truly appreciate freedom unless you are not free. Many of us, by the way, are not free. There are multiple areas and degrees of freedom that a person can experience. There is one area of freedom, however, that all of us should be able to enjoy no matter who we are or what country we live in: The freedom of movement. 

Are you free? Are you free to move? Are you free to go outside and hike up any mountain, or conquer any adventure that your imagination creates? Or, are you caged up inside of your own body? When you see other people outside living adventures, do you long to do the same? When you see children skipping around the neighborhood, or playing in the park, do you wish you could swing from the monkey bars like you once did? Does fear or doubt grip you when you think about sprinting across a grass field, or when you think about picking up an awkward piece of furniture? Do your first thoughts go towards your "bad back" or your "bad knee" when you go to pick up your laundry from the floor? 

Many of us are prisoners in our own bodies. We fear our own ability to move without pain or injury. We are simply not created to live this way. We should be able to play and live like we did when we were a child. Adults are supposed to be "big children". Why would we spend so much time developing our strength, coordination, balance, posture, and athleticism the first 5 years of our lives if we were just supposed to lose it the last 75 years of our lives? That doesn't even make sense. We are supposed to be athletic and agile well into our golden years, until the day we decide we no longer want to be so - hopefully, we never decide that. 

Some of you reading this may think you are free, non of what I am saying applies to you. But ask yourself, are you really free. When you "exercise", if you "exercise", do you spend 30 minutes warming up? Do you spend 15 minutes on a foam roller? Do you have to do "corrective" exercises just to do your other exercises? If your warmup takes longer than 2 minutes, are you really free? Or, are you trapped in a warm-up ritual? Or, even worse, are you held prisoner by the belief if you don't do these things, you will hurt yourself?

This is not right. Our first thoughts should never be about our mortality, our injury history, our tricky hip, or our imagined fear of future injury. We were not made to be fragile. And, we were certainly not made to live in a cage of fear. 

No matter what condition your body is in, it can be restored. You can regain your freedom. You may have issues that may take more time and effort, or even a miracle, but guess what. You can still make those issues better. Heck, you may even find a miracle or two if you start moving the way you were designed to move. The body is more amazing than we even know. It was made to be whole: Strong, resilient, athletic. It was not made to be broken: Weak, immobile, fragile. Your brain was also made to be whole: Confident, fearless, strong; not fearful. 

Are you free? Free to move? Free to play? Free from fear? Free from 30 to 40 minute daily preparatory movement routines? Just as this country fought for its freedom, you can fight for yours. Do not settle for less. If you are not free, if you are caged inside your own body and mind, fight to regain your freedom. That is where life happens.

How do you start fighting for your freedom? The same way you fought for it when you were a baby. You earned it, learned it, and created it through learning how to move. Those same movements that once made you free, will still work today. You can absolutely regain your original freedom by restoring your original strength. 

Happy Freedom Day!

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