For many people, their day-to-day routine involves very little movement. Large amounts of the day are spent driving, sitting in a chair, or laying on the couch. Americans are commonly labeled as “couch potatoes” and “lazy.” Aside from carved out time in one’s schedule to exercise, many live shockingly sedentary lifestyles.
The human body was designed to move, however, with the comfortability of modern life, people seem to have forgotten this and have condensed “moving time” to their workouts.
For movement and fitness expert, Aaron Alexander, moving for an hour a day is not enough to keep the body healthy and strong. He’s convinced that the baseline when it comes to health for most Westerners, is completely skewed.
With over 16 years of personal training experience, Alexander put his knowledge to use in The Align Method, where he works one-on-one with clients struggling with physical pain or limitations. By encouraging the incorporation of simple — but specific — movements, exercises, and lifestyle changes, Alexander helps his clients experience vast improvements in flexibility, range-of-motion, blood/oxygen circulation, and more. He is a firm believer that you are less prone to injuries if you are spending all day moving and adjusting your body.
Starting at a young age and motivated in part by deep insecurities, the athlete became obsessed with bodybuilding. “I wanted to get as big as I could for protection,” he admits. As he got older and became more involved in sports, he started getting injuries more frequently due to muscular imbalances in his body.
Despite being strong and “in shape,” there was clearly a disconnect. It wouldn’t be until he began learning about psychology, massage therapy, and manual therapy, that he would begin to understand exactly what was causing the disconnect.
“My schooling began because I wanted to be a more effective personal trainer for my clients,” he explains. As he immersed himself deeper into research, he began self-experimenting with various techniques, making connections between certain patterns of behavior and the physical symptoms he, himself, was experiencing. He also began doing introspective work, and it was with this deeper personal and spiritual change that major shifts began to happen in his health — which then bettered his work with clients and their results.
While one-on-one sessions vary based on each individual, Alexander always makes it a point to ask crucial questions to get a better sense of what areas his clients are struggling with, such as stress levels, sleep, and breath quality, followed by movement-based questions. He teaches clients that simple movements (like raising the arms above the head or sitting on the ground), along with specific exercises and breathwork techniques, can greatly improve symptoms.
Beyond just physical improvements, there are also emotional, spiritual, and personal benefits to moving your body more frequently. For Alexander, the movements he teaches come naturally to the human body (think sitting, crawling, and swinging); akin to children playing.
As we age and no longer “play” like we did as children, certain movements seem uncomfortable and unnatural to us as adults. They gradually get phased out of our routine and seem completely unnecessary.
Yet, with this phasing out, we also become less conscious of what we are experiencing in our bodies. This loss of connection causes us to become strangers to ourselves, disconnecting from the world around us. “The world is not constructed for the body,” says the coach, “and we forget the joy of being in a body.”
In reconnecting with the body — through learning how to breathe properly and moving in a way that supports yourself — you change how you interact and experience the world around you. Increased self-awareness always leads to major shifts within one’s self.
This is not to say that the world of fitness is doing a disservice to people. It’s great that there are so many workout routines, exercise regimens, and food practices for people to choose from. However, having personally come from that world, Alexander is clear of limitations. He cautions people not to fall prey to the “perfect workout formula,” noting that the body is a holistic unit that will respond more positively to whole-body movement workouts. Balance is key.
Sometimes the solution to a problem does not have to be fancy or complicated — more often than not, we are both our problem and solution. Or, as Alexander so eloquently puts it, “The answers are within me already. I just need to go deeper.”
Expanding beyond one-on-one client sessions, Alexander is also the host of the The Align Podcast and author of the book, The Align Method, now available for pre-order before its launch on December 24th.
Julia Piantini resides in Miami, Florida and is a freelance writer and contributing writer to Coral Gables Magazine. For daily musings and thoughts follow her on Instagram at @julia_piantini.