Build Real Health – Movement
In our last two blogs we’ve looked into the details of how diet and quiet/stress management are the foundation for health. But if we’re talking about building real health, well rounded and holistic health, we must take into account movement as well. When it comes to building real health, movement is a key factor. So today, we’ll be looking at 3 ways to make sure your movement/exercise is actually building health, rather than breaking your health down.
1.) Movement/Exercises Is A Stress
When it comes to life, and building real health, it’s all about balancing your stress. Imagine your mind/body is a bucket and there’s only so much stress it can hold. Throughout our day to day lives we are constantly adding stress into our bucket.
- Poor sleep? That’s a stress in the bucket.
- Bad day at work? That’s a stress in the bucket.
- Poor nutritional choices? Stress in the bucket.
- Interpersonal relationships giving your trouble? Stress in the bucket.
- On lock down due to a viral pandemic? Stress – in – the – bucket!
As you can see, throughout a normal day our stress could get close to over flowing our bucket. Let alone all the stress we’re under at the moment with this virus, the loss of jobs, the uncertainty of the future, and all of our regular stress on top of that.
When it comes to planning out your workouts, it’s highly important to know that stress comes in many forms, and your workout is one of them. When we workout we’re putting stress on the body. If we’re training effectively, we’ll be putting just enough stress on the body forcing it to adapt. If we’re not training effectively, we’re putting too much stress on the body and it breaks it down. How much or how little movement you need is entirely dependant on the amount of stress present in your body at the moment.
2.) Tailor Workouts/Movement To Your Stress Levels
Ok, now that you know that your workouts/movement is a stress on your life. You need to know how to tailor your workouts to suit your needs. This requires being completely honest with yourself. Take a moment and be truthful, how much stress are you under. Now remember, this means TOTAL stress in all areas of your life.
- how is your financial situation
- how is your family
- how is your relationship going
- how is work going
- how are your friendships
- are you getting 8 – 10 hours of sleep per night
- are you eating clean, real, whole foods
- are you drinking lots of water each day
- how much alcohol are you drinking
- do you have current injuries
- are you experiencing anxiety/depression
- how do you feel about yourself
Take a good hard look at all of these things, and if you’re finding that you’re having moderate to high stress in a number of areas – you may want to train carefully. If you’re finding that only a few are somewhat stressful, you’re probably good to train at a moderate level. If you don’t have much stress in your life, and things feel fairly balanced, you’re probably good to train a little harder.
Most people will find that if they’re honest with themselves, they’re much more stressed out than they think both physically and mentally.
If you do find you’re dealing with a lot of stress (as most people are right now), there are some simple ways you can adjust your workouts.
- Train 1-3x per week
- Keep 1-2 days of rest between training sessions
- Train less complex movements (ex. bodyweight squats instead of jump squats)
- Keep your tempo slow and controlled through movements
- Train with a weight you can control, slow and smooth, for 12-15 reps
- Focus on feeling good, not feeling exhausted
3.) Train The Important Stuff First
When it comes to your movement, if we’re looking at building real health, we should always be striving to train the most important aspects of your movement first. This means following a hierarchy of movement. That hierarchy goes, in order of importance, like this …
1.) Daily low level activities
The most important stuff to do each and every day is your low level activity. That means getting out and walking around 10,000 steps, carrying your groceries home, taking the stares, going for a hike, taking a swim etc. These sorts of things keep the body moving in ways it was designed to do, and they can be done each and every single day in order to maintain good base level movement.
2.) Specific corrective exercise and mobility training
The second most important form of movement is to work on your weaknesses. This means getting assessed by a skilled professional (like a physiotherapist or a Wynn Fitness Trainer) and finding out what areas of your movement are lacking.
Do you have trouble with core engagement? Do your hips not rotate well? Is your balance a little off? Whatever it is that you’re struggling with physically, that needs to take priority! By working on your weak links, imbalances, and troubled spots, you’ll be laying the foundation for a body that will experience less problems and, most likely, less injuries down the road. If you strength train hard on top of a body that hasn’t sorted out it’s imbalances and weak ares, you’re asking for trouble. It’s like building a house with no foundation.
Your corrective exercises can be done each day, or every other day if they’re producing any muscle soreness.
3.) Strength Training / Conditioning Training
Strength training or conditioning training is where you really have to pay attention to your stress levels. This is the training that begins to take a real tole on the body if you are not properly managing your sleep, diet, hydration, and stress. This is where you will have to decide how often, how intense, and how long you workout based upon your over all stress.
When it comes to your training it’s best to base your training around essential total body movements; making sure you’re training your pull, push, squat, hinge, lunge, rotation, and walking/running. These movements replicate what we do in just about any day to day movement and they must be trained if you want to perform well in athletics or in life.
A skilled personal trainer can help you develop a program that’s right for you and your needs. If you’re very stressed, training 1-2x per week should be fine. If you’re moderately stressed, training 2-3x per week should be ok. If you’re feeling pretty good and your life is not all that stressful, training 3-5x per week should be fine.
4.) Sports, Physical Hobbies, Unstructured Play
Finally, we have made it to the end of the movement hierarchy. The final thing you should take part in is unstructured movement such as sports, physical hobbies, athletics, or play. Do something you enjoy, make use of your fitness and all the hard work you put into making your body run well. If you’re working diligently on improving your weaknesses, strength training according to your stress levels, and respecting your bodies needs – then you can enjoy other activities like athletics without the same risk of injury adding too much additional stress.
So there you have it, a simple way to add movement and exercise into your daily life, while ensuring you’re building health and not breaking it down.