Oh to be young again, back in 1984 I was 14 years old and absolutely obsessed with Break Dancing and Hip Hop, I even had a 'Crew', the name was given to a gang of lads who would like to hang around with each other, express themselves through the subtle art of dance, whilst playing incredibly loud 'dance' music through an incredibly big kitchen radio/cassette player, affectionately known as a 'Ghetto Blaster'.
Our crew consisted of just me and my cousin (shout out to CJ), a small crew granted, but a crew no less, hell, we even had our own portable 8' x 8' roll of plastic kitchen Lino flooring that we would carry around with us, and of course, we had matching Nike Tracksuits and Puma trainers with crazy thick coloured laces.
We only ventured out once, to get 'Down on the Street'.
It was outside the local Woolworths on a Sunny Summer Saturday. I'm surprised we didn't get our heads kicked in though, the 'Music' was loud as fuck, although 'Noise' was the term used by the old ladies as they passed. We were also taking up precious pavement space judging by the looks of disgust from the shoppers passing by, and of course, to top it all off, we were not that good at what the hell we were supposed to be doing. Dancing??? To them, it probably looked like two teenagers having simultaneous epileptic fits.
Great fun looking back, even if never got round to mastering 'The Windmill' or 'Spinning on my Head'. Gutted.
With my physical stature, I was more suited to 'Body Poppin', where you can mostly stay on two feet and not spend half your time rolling around on the floor. You still looked like a complete tit to the adults of course, but I thought I was cool as fuck.
Whilst writing this post I thought, let's see if I still got it.
Ok perhaps not, maybe I never had it in the first place looking at that, but back then I thought I was the dog's bollocks. I'm missing My Nike tracksuit that would have made all the difference If I still had it, I'm sure. Yeah right.
It wasn't all about the dancing though, you had to look the part, and in retrospect, it's no wonder the older generation took a wide birth at the site of us, what would you do if you had to pass these fella's hanging around the local high street? Also not the sharpest tools in the box, they are standing on a fucking railway track the silly buggers.
Colourful clothing was a big thing in the '80s for some, leg warmers were bright and fluffy, tracksuits were a major hit for both sexes, even if you had no intention of visiting a gym it was still acceptable to wear these things 24/7, basically, people were like walking rainbows unless you were into 'Madness', in which case you wore Burgundy Stay-press trousers with matching Fred Perry T-shirt and the classic green bomber jacket or a Crombie. The '80s really was a mish-mash of fashion, have a look at these fuckers, and try not to throw up in your throat.
Anyway, this post ain't about friggin fashion it's about movement believe it or not, which I will get to in a bit. Just got to sneak in one more '80s thingy, me and my crew used to do this particular move, pictured below, and apart from whacking our bollocks together and collapsing in agony every other try, some of the bigger boys said it was pretty gay, so we fucking stopped doing it.
My passion for 'Break-Dancing' and 'Body-Poppin' started to diminish after only a couple of years of giving it the effing big one. But the memories live on, and I often think of those days when this physical phase in my life was fun, I actually enjoyed pissing about Dancing, Poppin, Locking, and stuff, and looking back, It was keeping me fit and active as well.
Not so much dancing these days though eh, I think the last time I hit the dance floor was at someone's 40th Birthday Bash a few years ago. I was pissed as a fart of course and got forcefully dragged there by my equally pissed wife and all her friends. It went quite well though if I recall, I didn't fall flat on my face or bump into any old biddies, I did end up putting my back out doing that stupid fucking 'Rock the Boat' song though, you know, the one where you all sit lined up on the floor and jam your genitals together, rocking back and forth and then side to side slapping the dancefloor with the palm of your hand.
NOTE: The Boy-Girl-Boy-Girl rule must definitely apply to this situation, if you don't time getting in that line correctly, your fucked. You really don't want to spend the next 4 minutes with your meat & two veg rubbing up against fat uncle Bob now do you?
Now, at 50 yrs old my range of movement is much less than in my teens of course, but with my newfound search for a healthier lifestyle I am finding ways to get back some mobility to those aching underused limbs, and of course, I'm trying to do it with the least amount of pain and suffering.
So how am I achieving better mobility and fitting it into everyday life, cos that's the key, getting to a stage where you make slight adjustments to the way you do things that they then just become part of who you are and what you do, and your not consciously thinking about it anymore. Because let's face it, as we get older and deal with all the shit that life chucks at us, finding a specific time slot in the day to 'work out' or 'go training' just gets harder and harder. Time is our most precious commodity lads, it runs out in the end, so we have to be clever with it.
So what exactly am I suggesting? Prioritising Gym time, No. Jogging then is it, Nah John.
Must be swimming then yeah.....Nope. Oh fuck, he's gonna say Yoga.....Wrong again.
Nothing wrong with most of that of course if it tickles your fancy, but you have to schedule them, and believe it or not, the latest science is leaning more towards general everyday movement as opposed to scheduled workouts at the beginning or end of your working day.
There is also something called 'The Compensation Theory', which basically means that if you have done an hour in the gym/swimming/jogging etc, you reward yourself with chocolate and crap afterwards because you feel you've earned it.
The main point on this issue is that you need to move much more frequently throughout the day, every day. This can be done in various ways and it is pretty easy to maintain once you get the swing of it. So some simple tips to incorporate into your daily lives are as follows:
If you are desk-bound, set a timer/reminder on your phone or smartwatch every 45 mins, get up and move, even for just 5 mins, perhaps down the stairs walk around the car park in the fresh air, then back up the stairs.
I always take the stairs. Everywhere. Airports, hotels, shopping centres. Fuck the lift and escalators, If you are very unfit, then start slow: for example, if you are in a hotel and your room is on the 5th floor, then start by getting off at the 3rd floor and walk the stairs to the 5th, take the escalator but walk as its moving, stuff like that ok.
When you go to the supermarket, park on the outskirts of the car park, no more hustling for that one spot left just outside the doors. If you find yourself jumping into the car to nip to the local shop (1-2 min drive) fairly frequently for bits and bobs, try walking it instead and carry those few items back, do you really need to take the car or is it just habit?
Try some stretching and rotating, this has worked wonders for me. I find a quiet place and will do some arm windmills, side lunges, bend back and forth, do a few squat stretches, twist my upper torso around, and whatever else comes to mind. It's not structured as such, I just do it every day, a few times a day, wherever I am working or back home. This may take as little as two minutes but I do it regularly.
So if you find yourself stiffening up a little too often, then try the suggestions above and see how you get off. Even if you do not feel stiff at the moment (Ooo-errr) try them anyway and you may never get to the point where you feel like a piece of walking wood. I could go on and on about everyday movement, but these are just a few of the ways that I have incorporated more movement into my life and I can feel the benefit. And these are all simple things that become good habits. So get onto it.
Thanks for reading, See you in the next post, Don't forget the music video at the bottom.
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Primal Health Coach.
"Be Happy, Be Healthy"
"Live Long, Drop Dead"
I was going to add a Break Machine video to the end of this post, but to be honest, it was a bit shit, and then I came across this little gem of a song/video, it actually sums up the era nicely, there are BMX bikes, Ghetto Blasters and a bit of Body Poppin. All filmed out in the street on the cheap and the guitar players dancing is fucking hilarious. Enjoy.