I recently heard a podcast between Daniel Vitalis and Ido Portal. Vitalis is a “rewilding” leader who teaches ways to live in tune to original human ways. Portal is a natural movement practitioner.
Portal said that the human brain developed to the size we possess today in order to power greater complexity of physical movement. We have so much ability in our bodies to move in such intricate ways because of the size of our brains. I haven’t had a chance to verify the research behind this statement, but I have had an interesting experience last week that correlated with it.
Recently I was offered employment, which required an initial two-day training in San Francisco. I didn’t want to make the two-hour drive back and forth for two days, so I stayed with a friend near the training site. I took the train up to the closest station, walked the hilly streets the rest of the way, and then used buses and ferries to get to and from my various destinations through the week.
Because the City was mostly clouded and chilly, I had no qualms about hard fast walking. On my last day I walked over 12,000 steps and scaled 33 floors, according to my phone. I’m pretty sure that a few of the hills I climbed were at least four stories high. Add the stairs at building entrances, transportation terminals, and walking bridges, and 33 doesn’t seem like that much.
I noticed that I was much more upbeat than usual. From the moment I woke to the moment I went to bed, I had a very positive mindset about things. I felt like I could do anything.
My mood was lighter and I was also more willing to take on challenges. Part of my motivation was probably from the necessity of catching transportation before it was too late. I was on a schedule, and I had to make it on time to places. The other thing is that I was always very early for everything. I wanted to decrease the risk of being late as much as possible. I was up at five for a ten o’clock training. It’s such a great feeling that comes with being ahead of schedule.
Above all else, though, was the constant moving. I was walking, walking, walking. I loved it. My ankles became uber mobile. Up to three days after I got back, I was able to sit in a squat with feet much closer than usual. My normal tightness from sitting was absent, although I certainly sat a lot during training. At times I was sweating, at others I was huffing and puffing, and mostly I was warm and mobile.
My conversations with people were positive, productive, and often powerful. I spoke with some people I might not normally have spoken to. I was quicker to respond, more creative, and more alert. And I slept better.
Yes, there are many factors involved. Different environment, new job, temporary situation. However, I deeply felt the connection between lots of moving and mind stimulation. I don’t know if I would have been the same way had I driven my car everywhere, sitting for hours in traffic. I don’t think so.
Those four days in San Francisco will never leave my memory. Aside from the amazing training experience, my awesome friends who showed such kindness, and the humming life of the City, I will always remember the vigor I felt from significant movement every day.
2 thoughts on “Movement and the mind, walking in San Francisco”
I can relate. I, too, spent a few days in San Francisco recently. I walked everywhere. I felt good, for a change. Tired sometimes, but good. Your statement about driving and traffic is a good insight. Thanks for writing this.
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Thanks Robert. It’s interesting how you can be tired but energized in a different, deeper way. It was a downer to return to suburban life!