The environment we live in determines whether our habits are healthy or not. It also influences your day to day choices and ultimately your lifestyle and your health.
Millions of years ago the environment looked like this: open land, wild animals, forests, savannas, in terms of food berries, fruit, potatoes at some point and game, we had to hunt and walk for km to find food and then bring it back and cook it.
So the only options were walking a lot, sleeping, eating what there was to eat and reproducing. That was pretty much it, besides kids playing outside.
Today’s environment look like this: buildings, cars, hardly any open space, store at the corner of the street, food in abundance, already cooked sometimes and online deliveries, TV, laptop, phones and tablets.
In the past we had to walk, run, squat, crawl, lift and carry. Now we can avoid most physical effort.
We have also evolved to crave sugars, fats and salt. We need them. While in the past the only options were fruit, nuts, game and water, now we have an abundance of uncecessary amount of calories from some of the worst sources. But while in the past we would use these calories and more, now we mainly receive them and keep them.
So the environment “encourages” us to consume these foods and drinks, it allows us. On the other hand we have created a very sedentary environment. We don’t use the calories we consume.
That kind environment at some point makes you tired, and stressed. When you are tired you tend to crave high energy foods, carbohydrates, which as we have designed the environment, are in abundance and from many wrong sources.
This is a simple example but it applies to all kinds of environments: your house, your fridge, office, tube stations, recreational parks, touristic places, streets and more.So we talked about food mainly because this is something we all struggle with these days. And the environment we live in has a massive impact on your eating habits.
What to do
There are things you cannot control (such a pollution on the street) and things you can control (such as your home). Let’s focus on what we can control and do, that will make a big difference in several other environments in your life.
Probably the number one place to begin is your house. Here are a few examples of how to think about your environment and your habits
Having a TV: you will watch movies but also news and advertisments – news are filled with all the bad that’s going on in the world, very seldom the beautiful and happy, ads of any kind flood your mind which influence the way you think about the world, certain products and everything really, at a subconscious level. Your thoughts and habits are controlled by your subconscious. Solution: get netflix or just don’t have a TV, many people don’t have TVs, and I am one of them. I like to be in control of what I feed my mind with, as much as I can.
Storing certain types of foods: I don’t have cakes , ice cream and chocolate in the house, if I want I have to go buy, eat and that’s it. Same for sodas although I have’t had a soda in years, and same with breakfast cereal.
Nature: I am moving in an apartment now and that means I can have plants, so i will have a jungle corner because that makes me feel good and calm. What do you have in your house that makes you feel good?
I have my Karate medals and trophies, and race numbers where I can see them, so are my most powerful quotes.
Just these few elements have the power to keep me consistent and influence my habits the way I want them to be.
Home is important and it will expand to the office and all other areas. But not in a few months, let nature takes it course, your mind and body with adapt gradually in their own time. Using force to change something is not always the answer.
There are many examples and ways to make things come by themselves by simply designing the environment the right way. It’s very personalized, so if you’d like some guidance and ideas do contact me here.
People with kids
People with kids who say they need sweets for kids. A healthy environment is particularly important for kids. Habits are developed from an early age, after teenage it’s very difficult to change them. And why should we expect kids to change their habits later when we can set correct habits from the beginning.
I don’t have kids but my parents raised me and my cousin and I talk about these things with my mother very often to better understand and be able to advise my clients.
The environemnt and physical pain
Not all, but many of the aches and pain (acute or chronic) – lower back pain for example – come from weak muscles.
Comfy chairs, soft beds, supported muscles grow weaker. As the muscles grow weaker they need support. Getting more support will not help strengthen the muscles.
Don’t get me wrong, I like comfort myself, but sometimes a comfy chair can be replaced with one we need to use our core muscles to keep upright.
Maybe we should design buildings with stairs only for the first 2-3 floors. That is a way to design an environment and encourage people to take the stairs more often. Of course for the disabled the building will be adapted.
As long as we have the lift next to us, we are seldom going to take the stairs, and I am not talking about you and me but about everyone else.
It is important to understand that no matter how much we try to change in a short period of time. Nature needs time to adapt. Your muscles, skeletal system even your digestive system, and your mind have to take their time.
Gradual changes are the answer to any changes you want to make, as well as patience and consistency.
Remember to contact me if you want guidance.
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Alexandra Merisoiu, The Body Engineer, is the Founder of The Merisoiu Technique – Institute Of Health And Human Movement and Dracula’s Retreat. She is also a qualified Low Back Pain Management and Prevention Exercise Instructor and REPS registered.
She specialises in working with runners, beginners and advanced, who want to run faster, further, with less effort and fewer injuries. This is done through natural movement fitness and running technique and mechanics drawn from the many disciplines Alexandra has studies throughout the years, including long distance running.
Since 1995 she has explored how the body and mind works. She has done this through using many different sporting techniques and working with a wide variety of highly respected coaches. Throughout her Martial Arts career she has achieved 3rd Dan Black Belt in Karate Shotokan, runs her own Karate club and is IJKA 2017 triple World Champion, 2016 WMO Martial Arts British National and European Champion. She still competes at an international level.
It is through these learnings, and drawing inspiration from respected natural movement names such as MovNat, IdoPortal and POSE Method of running among many others, that she has created The Merisoiu Technique and has established her own unique transformational programs that incorporate thousands of years of knowledge with Natural Human Movement.
Alexandra’s mission is to challenge the status quo of how to achieve the truly strong, fit and powerful body a runner needs to perform at their best level. This is done through building strong, lasting foundations in the natural outdoor environment; reducing the risk of injuries and educating people on the power of the fundamentals of natural human movement and running mechanics.