For all of you out there that don't feel great on a daily basis and don't know why, kids aside! For you that don't feel as young and spry as you did 10 year ago or even a few years ago. For those of you who have noticed a spare tire shaping up around your hips. This is for you!
Movement is as close to a fountain of youth as any of us will find! There is no miracle pill, no treatment, no diet that will lose the weight or get you out of pain faster than just getting out and moving! Our bodies are designed to be constantly moving. Think back 500 or 1,000 years ago and imagine how unsuccessful the human race would be if we lived as we do now, sitting most of the day. You don't have to be a brain surgeon to recognize the obvious answer here. You might suggest we live longer now than back then and you'd be correct. The average life span, depending of the time your referencing, has nearly doubled in most societies. Unfortunately what that number fails to consider is quality of life. First world amenities aside, we are living longer but breaking down faster. Whats the point of living 150 years if you're confined to a bed for 80 of those years!? No thanks!
So, what to do? Simple, ANYTHING!! Now depending on your current level of physical fitness there are many different entry level activities that you can enjoy both physically, psychologically and socially. These days the new fad to introduce many people is the Fit Bit, counting steps in a day. I'll take it if it gets you started if gets you on the road to movement and its something you can do pain free. However, for many people this is both the start and finish lines. They never progress past walking. My problem lies in the fact that walking isn't good enough, its entry level and never REALLY challenges the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems like other exercises/activities can and do.
Now, I am speaking to those of you that are able bodied and quite capable of progressing but choose not to. Why?? Why do you stop here? Is it a lack of understanding, are you lazy, not enough time, are you uninspired? If you don't understand what you need to do, thats cool, ask someone! There are too many gyms and trainers around to use this excuse. They make their living to inform you on how to exercise properly. Lazy?? Heck, we're all lazy from time to time! I'll challenge you to make excuses TO workout instead of making excuses to stay on the couch or in bed! If time is your limiting factor, easy! Work smarter and harder! Be efficient with your workout by ramping the intensity. In the gym setting, instead of doing 30 minutes of cardio then 6-10 exercises spending 10 minutes at each station do them at the same time! Make a circuit of your workout where you go from one exercise to the next with little to no rest in between each set. You can easily condense a 90 minute workout into 30 minutes and still get all the work in! If you're the one that starts running to get in shape and can't make it more than 2 weeks before you fall out of the habit. Sounds like you need to find something that you enjoy more. A field sport perhaps: soccer, rugby, ultimate frisbee are all great workouts. For the colder months there are just many options: martial arts, Cross fit, racquetball, basketball etc.. If you don't enjoy what you're doing for fitness it'll never last! You gotta find things you enjoy, that challenge you both physically and mentally! For those who are less mobile or just not at the level of running or weight training, cool, we all have a different starting point. AS long as you're willing thats all that matters. For you, theres plenty to do as well: Yoga, swimming, the stationary bike, elliptical machine are a few examples.
Now, a very important part many people overlook is health measures. Yeah, you might have been a phenomenal high school athlete but if that was 20 years ago, you aren't him/her anymore! Things change and they don't change for the better. If you haven't even thought of hitting the gym in 20 years its not like riding a bike, you could hurt yourself and then your movement plan just got shelved for 4-6 weeks if not longer. Be smart and get checked out by your Primary care physician to make sure you're not gonna have a coronary in the first 10 minutes. Get a functional movement screen so you know where you are physically and can be made aware of any biomechanical restrictions that could lead to injury and if you're already in pain (shoulder, low back, knee, ankle etc.) you need a Selective Functional Movement assessment to correct existing biomechanical deficits, both of which are done in the office.
At the end of the day you need to be moving to keep living and it needs to be more than a few weeks at a time. It should be a part of life, not just something you do when you have time. I understand we all have things going, other priorities but when it comes to your health, your life, many of those "things" can and should wait. If your efficient and can plan properly there is always 30-45 minutes to spare for a little time to get the heart rate up! Just make sure you do it safely and smart!