Active

Treadmill image

A long long time ago, under a Mediterranean sun, this verb could be used to say anything that doesn’t involve standing still, from stealing to killing to think of to administer to perform to do.

The English have reduced to preferring action instead of contemplation which, funnily enough, does not exclude any of the above. No, not even the “thinking of” since the implication is a focus on something and I have already written about how our minds put our bodies into motion.

If there are two existing things that I would get on my knees and beg to be changed in this lifetime, they would be: encourage your children to move and let your teenagers sleep. There are many things that we need to change in our lives, but the above do not depend only on individuals, but on systems that can sometimes feel too cumbersome for the humans who created them to actually enjoy. Encouraging children to move is the first thing

I shall attempt to explain.

As you may know I love learning in general and I enjoyed going to school in particular. There are many types of schooling (currently I vouch for the Montessori method) and mine was pretty bog standard for that time: you come to school, you have 50 minutes of learning, 10 minutes break, a longer break at lunchtime and so on and so forth, for years on end with the prescribed holidays in between. Most of the learning was supposed to be happening by sitting down, listening to lectures, reading, practicing times tables etc. There was very little movement involved, unless you want to count me writing while my teacher spoke too fast and I couldn’t get all their words written down unless I learnt short hand – I didn’t, although my writing is terrible enough that it looks like I did 🙂

For some reason or another it was considered that PE was for the children who were not “intellectual” enough, so most classes didn’t happen, we did maths instead. The ten minutes break between classes was not enough to organize much more than a run around the school race which barely got our heart rate up. I still hold that lack of PE responsible for my less than honourable awareness of left and right sides. 🙂

Then we move to more sitting down in high school, even more at university and we dream of jobs inside air conditioned offices where we sit on our respective bums in comfortable chairs. Then it’s the pension years where a laz-y-boy is a must and then we lie down for the final act.

And yet if there is one thing our bodies know how to do is moving. The body mostly moves for the sheer joy of it, although it does protest useless expenses of energy (dancing is never in that class!!!).

The body regards as useful any activity that it can enhance survival. But the body doesn’t understand statistics that say a certain number of bicep curls lead to a determinate increase in the strength of that muscle. Most of the time we give the meaning to the activity. And if we want to keep that activity going it’s the meaning we need to address, as adults, by adding mindfulness, competition and assorted other incentives like losing weight.

Isn’t it easier to just allow and encourage the children to move? It comes so naturally to them 🙂

*I found the image on quickmeme.com and thought it more appropriate than any I could ever take 🙂 I could not find who took the photo though.

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