In the age of Amazon, Uber Eats, automatic lawn mowers and snow-blowers, Rumbas and ultra luxury recliners - life for many of us really is unencumbered and self-deterministic. It should be patently obvious when observing our society how all these technological and pragmatic advancements are saving time. Freeing up invaluable occasions to advance ourselves in ways we see fit and that contribute to our overall wellbeing and fulfillment.
It is true that this occurs. We do save days flying instead of driving. We do save hours driving instead of walking or riding horseback. We can commit ourselves to careers of our choosing rather than being forced into farming or hunting & gathering for sustenance.
Yet, physical and digital bookshelves have never been more densely populated by self-help and time management books. Just using myself as an N=1, I have read books on habits, morning routines, procrastination, flow states, self-discipline, stress and burnout, productivity, and more.
Why? Well let's be fair, these book can have utility. They, at their most basic, remind us of our intended direction in life. We may be aiming the wrong direction but at least we are attempting to make a map of our future. And secondly, because I have personally required their assistance. I have tried to address the reasons why I procrastinate, or why I waste time despite being aware that estimates project I only have roughly 15,000 days remaining in my life (if lucky).
So what does this have to do with modern convenience, with movement? Well it seems to follow that with modernity we should be seeing books written about how we can FILL our time, not find it. We should be seeing an increase in books about creative mental and physical opportunities, how to add some positive stressors into our lives (i.e. exercise, personal projects, family trips, etc...). Instead, one of the more profound books I read recently was The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter. I recommend getting this book for yourself, but the central thesis is that we are so comfortable (or so rarely uncomfortable rather) that it is destroying our health, or social networks, or ability to focus and tolerate boredom, or even appreciate nature.
Ironically, as has been pointed out for centuries by philosophers, pedagogues, clergymen, and local leaders, homo sapiens appear to thrive optimally when confronted with obstacle, stress, and discomfort. It seems borderline paradoxical that to maintain healthy bodily homeostasis we need to be constantly imposing imbalance and instability upon ourselves. To be static is to be negatively dynamic on the health continuum.
There have been studies demonstrating that 3 weeks of bedrest in a 2o year old can create the metabolic and cardiovascular state of a person in their 50s. When we are at complete rest for too long, entropy grabs hold of the system and exponentially exacerbates.
In layman terms, here is something you can bet the farm on: If you do not use your shoulder (or insert X area), it will deteriorate to the point of complete impotence. If you use your shoulder to a certain capacity, the joint will maintain a commensurate state of health and therefore prevent the full decay of function.
"Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life."
Orthogonally, we can also examine brain chemistry and health and its connection to idleness. There is research that supports the idea that if we stop intellectually engaging with the world, dementia sets in quicker or worse. Some biologists have stated that without movement, there never would have been an impetus for the evolution of brains. Runners high and other forms of exercise-induced mood enhancement are signs easy to anecdotally recognize in ourselves wherein movement is stirring up a reaction systemically.
In summary, movement may be responsible for consciousness and the brain. Movement staves off decay and degradation of our body and our mind. Movement allows fluids to exchange and cells to proliferate and air to expand and compress. Movement allows for the exchange of ideas, of language, of peripatetic interfacing. Movement is paramount to being not only human or conscious, but necessary to qualify as alive.
I am reminded of the Mark Twain quote:
"The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read."
Movement is a prerequisite. You owe it to your future self and those you surround yourself with to maintain movement. If life is sacred, then movement is a privilege.