Don’t Let Moving Kill You
Aug 16, 2021
I recently had the painful pleasure of helping my son move into his college dorm. Painful, because for eighteen years, he’s been running around in my house and in my heart. Pleasurable because he’s now on the adventure of spreading his wings and learning how to fly.
Anyway, it was an exercise of efficient planning, packing, and carrying awkward loads across campus on a 95º day, up three flights of stairs. A typical training day, really.
After we had moved everything into my son's room, I was standing in his doorway watching him organize where to put his things and I started to hear extremely heavy breathing. It was coming from three stories down in the stairway. It was labored, it was loud, and it was getting closer and louder. Soon, the breathing had reached the third floor, I had heard it when it entered the building. It was a father moving his son’s belongings into the room beside my sons. He looked to be in his late thirties to mid-forties. His face was fire-engine red and he was completely out of breath or fighting for breath. And he didn’t sound like he was winning.
It sounded like moving was killing him.
The last time I had heard breathing like this I was in Colorado, hiking at about 6,435 feet above sea level. The thin air had made some other hikers quite winded and gasping for air. It was echoing up the mountain, much like this father’s breathing was echoing up the stairway and down the halls of the dorm.
Now I don’t know this gentleman’s story. I don’t know if he has a medical condition, and I don’t know what he does in his life, whether he exercises, takes walks, or whatever. I only know what I saw and heard. To be truthful, my imagination fills in the rest and makes sense of what I saw through my perspective. But what I do know is that this man is a father, like me. He is putting and leaving his heart into a dorm room, like me. I am most certain he will want to enjoy his son’s life and hopefully enjoy grandkids one day soon, like me. This means, he’ll want to be around and effortlessly able to move, and feel good, and be strong enough to do so.
I felt for him. I wanted him to be able to breathe easier. And while I felt for him and the labor he was enduring, I also felt grateful for the health I have been given. Even as I write this, I am aware that it is so easy to take our health for granted. There is even the trap to think it is all up to us. When the reality of it is, it’s a mix. We influence our health with how we live, how we think, and with what we do, but we don’t really control our health. Health is really a gift, a blessing, just like an easy, effortless, refreshing breath is.
We don’t fully control our health, but we have been given the gift of influence over it. We can control our choices, how we will eat, how we will move, if we will move… We can optimize our health to the best of our ability through the influence we have over it. And the best way to influence our health is to honor our design, and we are designed to move often throughout the day.
Walking, crawling, rolling, spending time moving on the ground, carrying external loads for distance, rucking, picking things up, lifting objects - moving, just moving, and living, this is our DAILY design. And this is how our health thrives. Daily engagement in our design is the best way to influence and optimize our health. It’s also the best approach to enjoy all the adventures and gifts life has to offer, like helping our children move into the next chapter of their lives.
Anyway, health is a gift. Don’t take it for granted. Honor it by enjoying it and moving in it every day. It allows you to experience wonderful things like breathing effortlessly while you carry your kid’s belongings across campus, or smiling when you watch them unpack their world in their new space. Good health even allows you to deal with your emotions better, your hurt better, while you learn how to let them spread their own wings. Bittersweet, bittersweet…
The point is, Life is just better, and richer when you move often. And you deserve to experience the richness life has to offer. So move.