So you’ve made a goal for yourself to become more active, huh?
Well, this is good. What is it you are specifically trying to accomplish?
Are you trying to lose weight? Gain muscle mass? Improve upon your balance and coordination skills? Maybe you are working on a specific type of specialty such as: swimming, boxing, basketball, or distance running. The reality is, each and every one of us need movement in our lives. Take a look outside your window and just look at the world. Life is never standing still, it is always shifting and changing before our very eyes. Our movement within the world is a tiny part of the movement of everything around us. It is almost like we are just one tiny cell involved in the bigger picture which is the world at large. We can then compare this to our own bodies and see that the more we move both in frequency, as well as variety, the more awake and alive our bodies and the individual cells of our body are going to be.
Consequences of Inactivity
I know that got a little deeper there, but this relates directly to your own training and fitness goals. If we do not have adequate movement in our life and do not challenge our bodies in a multitude of ways it can have lasting effects on us both physically and mentally. How do you feel after a good hard workout where you challenged and pushed against your limitations? Then compare this to how you feel after spending hours of your day sitting on the couch in a dark room while watching a moving screen. In which case do you feel more alive, more alert, more focused, and more optimistic about life? When we do not move and move often, our bodies become deadened. Energy becomes stuck and stagnant in the body, we do not get proper circulation of blood, we do not get rid of toxins from our body as easily, our bodies systems do not work as well, and there is a general lack of feeling and connection with our bodies when we remain sedentary. Most people are probably aware of the fact that they should move more, however challenges can arise whilst figuring out what will work well for them and with their body.
Get rid of the Box
It can be very easy to put ourselves in boxes in just about everything we do. We have job titles we use to describe ourselves to others, and we view ourselves through a lense often based on how others we associate with perceive us. This is true of fitness for sure. It can be very easy to get caught up in the image which the traditional fitness industry has has pushed on us. For men the game is to get as big and strong as possible and have the biggest chest and arms, for women the perfect body with an hourglass figure necessitates hours on the treadmill and an uncountable amount of crunches and planks. There are so many different articles out there about what the superior fitness system is (and let’s not even start on nutrition) that it leads to informational overload and the inability to make a solid decision on what our bodies need the most. We sit and debate with ourselves, when really what we need is just to move.
I want you to practice this. When you wake up in the morning I want you to immediately start your day with movement. What I have been doing recently is to get out of bed and do three push ups as soon as I’m up (yes, only three). I then have a morning routine I have developed around meditation, loosening the body with stretches, Qi Gong, and movement exercises meant to bring more awareness to the body. Some mornings I am doing a high intensity workout with my Bootcamp class and challenging my muscles and my cardiovascular system. In both cases I am doing something which wakes my body up and pulls me out of my head. When you wake up in the morning, make sure you are moving as much as possible. Even if you are a coffee drinker (which I am still myself) try to move around with some routine before you grab your morning cup of Joe, even if this is just 5 minutes of stretching and loosening.
Variety is Key
The upside of information overload is that there is no shortage of modalities which we can practice. When I am training a client, I try to focus on as many areas of a person’s physical fitness as possible. This includes strength, flexibility, balance, agility, reactive strength, endurance, coordination, and so on. If you are working on your own, I would advise you to start with three things you can do which: involve movement, is challenging, and most importantly something which you enjoy. Variety and becoming proficient in many areas is a key to longevity and having a body which works well in many different facets. You can run for distance, run for speed, play basketball, practice pilates, take up dancing, try calisthenics, swim, try out Tai Chi or Qi Gong, see what the craze is with Kettlebells, throw frisbee with a friend, or just go for a walk.
Movement is life, and the more ways which choose to move and to challenge and grow your body (and your mind) the more life will give back to you.