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We’re gonna have some fun today, you and me. Like the proverbial poo, I’m going to squeeze you from the bowels of social convention, and perhaps change how you view the world forever. You're about to learn about the poop squat, all the ways footwear impacts health, and how to think critically about living well. Watch out for the splashback!
Cultural beliefs save us a lot of time and mental energy. They create healthy autopilots we take for granted, like “it’s not okay to hit your boss, no matter how much of an a-hole she is,” and “it’s best to brush your teeth twice a day.” Unfortunately, we’ve also got some pretty unhealthy beliefs installed in our brains that wreak havoc on our health.
Natural Bodily Functions
We have countless social rituals around food, but see defecation as a private activity (unlike ancient Romans, who loved a good old chinwag in a public latrine). Each are equally natural bodily functions, but it's considered rude or at least odd to discuss the latter in polite company. In that case, I must be the most rude, weird, socially inept person alive! Nothing health-related is out of bounds for my clients to discuss with me.
With a different set of beliefs, perhaps we’d have as healthy a relationship with poo as our animal counterparts. Dogs, for example, instinctively sniff and sometimes even sample (a phenomenon known as coprophagy) the droppings of other animals, most likely to learn through scent about local animals and environment.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “hang on, did she just brush past the bit about eating poo? Surely that can’t be healthy!?” Obviously I’d strongly advise against partaking in such a practise, but yes, there could be some tangible health benefits. We don’t know for sure, but this animal behaviour could be intuitively healthy, like when cats eat grass to help with stomach upset.
Human faecal transplant is an exciting and relatively novel scientific field. This safe and increasingly widely used therapy capitalises on the power of gut bacteria to treat infection, help obese people lose weight, and even tackle mental health issues. If you’re curious to know more about how this works, Dr. Giulia Enders’ book "Gut" is a fantastic place to start understanding the gut microbiome.
It's Better To Squat When You Poop
The throne upon which we eliminate our waste is rooted more in culture than science. Scientists and health experts assert that western toilets are partly responsible for haemorrhoids, pelvic prolapse, and other bowel concerns, of which we have the highest rates globally. Evidence demonstrates that it’s better to squat when pooping, as this places the rectum and bowels into better alignment. And when I say squatting, I don’t mean a perfect goblet squat with a braced core and neutral spine, I mean the “bear shxtting in the woods” style of squat where you hunker all the way down like babies do. That’s the poop squat.
Lifestyle Disease Is A Global Health Risk
Countless social conventions affect your health, happiness and physical ability, many of which have no scientific basis. Take shoes, for example… Formal footwear affects the function of your feet, and can cause plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, shin splints, knee pain, groin strains, back pain, and many other such issues. You wouldn’t believe the amount of time I spend teaching clients how to use their feet properly.
To be clear, the shoes themselves aren’t a problem, rather the connotations and expectations around certain types of shoe. Imagine if you wore a pair of Reeboks to work, and instead of everyone thinking you’d gotten sloppy, people were like “damn! This person is ready for BUSINESS!” The way I see it, to be professional, you need to be comfy, healthy and pain-free.
Challenge Your Knowledge
You need to start thinking critically here. Which social or workplace conventions get in the way of you being healthy? Seriously, don't move on until you've thought of at least a couple of things.
People are slowly becoming aware of the health risks of modern lifestyles. I’ve been shouting like a crazy person about this stuff for years, and I’m so pleased that organisational health is becoming a thriving, respected industry. It’s just a shame we have to get to the point where we're in pain, chronically fatigued, depressed, letting our children down, and having heart attacks to start doing something about our health. The best measures are preventative, so start as you mean to go on!
Shaping A Healthy Lifestyle In The Modern World
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m trying to open your awareness to something here… We’re doing ourselves damage focusing on stuff that isn’t important, and all for the sake of capitalism. I won’t bore you with the details on what your basic health priorities should be - you can download my free e-book for that - but I will say this:
The structures we have in place aren’t agile enough to change as quickly as we need. I mean, it took a global pandemic for us to start realising that childcare should be better integrated into our lives, and that mental health is just as important as physical health (even on those points we’re falling woefully short of the mark). But there’s a lot we can do to keep ourselves healthy around all this. That’s something I’ve been helping people to do for years.
Online PT: A Free Sample
To poop in a healthy position at home, sit on your toilet and put your feet up on a box or step so your knees are higher than your belly button. Note how different that feels for you.
And for goodness sake, light a candle! (it helps with the smell)
Online Personal Training gives you more than just workouts. It provides you with all the personalised information you need to build a healthy lifestyle. Everything is tailored to your needs, and change happens on your schedule, at your pace.
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