Sunday, March 1, 2015

Questioning Traditional Exercise: What does traditional exercise ask of us?

It's high time I at least posted a few thoughts on this subject. This quick post will not be able to capture every idea that my studies have got running around in my head so this is going to turn into a series of posts.

So what exactly does traditional exercise ask of us?
Well, trends come and trends go and yesterday's contraindicated movement is often today's darling - or vice versa. Still, a couple of concepts seem to have passed the test of time.

We need cardio to keep our heart healthy, or do we? We need strength training to keep our bones strong, or do we? We need to stretch to preserve our flexibility, or do we?  Oh yes and let's not forget, We need all of these things to increase our metabolism and burn lots of calories to either lose weight or at very least not gain it. To which I respond with a huge, or do we?  More thoughts on the "or do we?" at a future date.

We should exercise regularly. Some say every day, others - myself in the past - tout the all important weekly rest day. 

When we exercise we should exercise for an hour, or 45 minutes, or thirty minutes, or 20 minutes, or 10 minutes three times.... You get the picture.

When we do cardio we should go long and low, mix up really exhausting suck wind tough intervals with kind and more gentle recovery periods, mix weight training with cardio....you decide.

When we do strength training we should lift really  heavy weights but only a few times, stick with light weights and lift a whole bunch of times, use stretchy bands, use a contraption with springs, use your body weight only, roll a truck tire across the room...you decide

When we do flexibility training we should use active range of motion, hold each stretch 15 or 30 seconds, do yoga, do yin yoga and hold each position for 5-10 minutes....you decide

Finally, when we exercise we should, take a class, bike, swim, walk or run outside, exercise in a gym, ride stationary exercise equipment, use an exercise DVD, put on music and dance.

Are you confused? Most people are. It's downright distracting and therein lies the problem.

Because it's actually distracting us from what we need most and that's varied movement. 
Yeah, we're human animals who are built to move. Our bodies depend upon it. 

And yet we've bought into the idea that all we need is an hour of exercise a day in order to be totally and completely healthy! I'm here to tell you it's a myth. I'm also here to tell you that 3 hours of exercise on most days is as bad, or worse - unless of course you're an Olympic hopeful.

I can't believe that we'll go out of our way to buy cage free eggs - oh yeah I don't buy eggs anymore - because we want the poor chickens to be free to move, yet we think nothing of being chained in a sitting position for most of our day. Actually we barely sit anymore it's turned into a sort of slump.

How can any animal that is built to move be healthy and thrive without that movement? It's simple, they can't and we aren't. 

So what's the answer? I honestly don't think there's a single solution. It's gotten way more complicated than that but I do think it's fixable. 

The first thing you can do is check out just how much time you spend slumping, 'er sitting.
What does your habitual seated posture look like?

I may come back in and add to this post but for now I'm out of time.  I also want to let you know I wasn't sitting the entire time I typed this up and when I was sitting I was sitting in countless different positions. What's up with that? More soon.

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