Love how you Move
In much the same way that nutritional needs are person specific, so is the form of exercise we select dependant on our personal goals, fitness levels and body shape. No two human beings have the same genetic makeup.
We may share similar features or component parts that distinguish us as human; however the manner in which these component parts combine functionally to make a whole varies significantly from one person to another. Choosing an appropriate form of exercise, as with the type of clotheswe wear, car we drive or work we do, is a very personal choice that should be afforded careful thought.
As individuals we are predisposed to perform better at certain types of physical activity over others. Some of us are naturally inclined to excel at running or swimming, while others prefer gentler body toning movements such as Pilates or Yoga. Using myself as an example, I could think of nothing worse than the monotony of a ten kilometre run. Yet for others, the repetitive rhythm of running offers mental calmness and clarity. My preference for dynamic movement such as tennis, and low-impact body toning exercises such as yoga and Pilates is aligned to my personal preferences, my body type and my fitness goals.
The sustainable practice of regular exercise is realisable if a workout:
Provides variety and enjoyment
Makes us feel great
Demonstrates sound progress
Helps us achieve the fitness goals we are looking to achieve
Exercise Right for your Body Type
It is essential to remember that because our genetic fabric differs so vastly from one individual to the next, we cannot assume that our body will respond in the same way to a certain type of exercise as does the physique of someone who we aspire to look like. Many individuals who sample out popular workouts soon realise that they are certainly not “one size fits all”. Certain exercises are more effective and safe than others depending on our body type. Genetic propensities that dictate our basic skeletal form, body shape, height, basal metabolic rate, muscle response rate, strength and muscle mass have a great impact on how our bodies react to various forms of exercise. As a result, what may demonstrate incredible results for one individual may serve poorly for another. Spending a little time analysing how various forms of exercise have shaped our bodies in the past proves highly beneficial in selecting an effective and sustainable workout program.
Therefore, when deciding on an exercise regime consider the following personal factors:
You current basic body shape
The body shape you are looking to achieve
Your natural metabolism
The speed at which your body builds muscle
The level of enjoyment that the workout affords
Your own personal exercise preferences and athletic ability
Overcoming the Exercise Plateau
Our bodies are homeostatic geniuses that constantly work towards creating a balanced internal state of efficiency. For this reason, when we embark on a new exercise regime, our bodies respond quickly at first, however after a certain period of time the results provided by those same exercises tend to decrease. This is because our bodies learn to adapt and work more efficiently when performing that specific workout. So, as we become stronger, better and faster, our bodies become more energy efficient. This means that we end up expending less energy while performing those exercises than we did initially. This is what is referred to as an exercise plateau, which occurs after your body has attained a peak point of physical performance. Changing up your fitness routine by varying the intensity, frequency, duration and mode of exercise you choose approximately every six weeks will keep your body guessing and boost your muscular responsiveness.
Find your "Edge"
In order to keep our bodies responsive it is also important to find a workout that allows us to discover our personal "edge".The term edge in this sense refers to that place of mild discomfort to which we can push our bodies without causing injury or fatigue. In exploring our edge, we gently push our bodies just past our current potential in order to stretch our capacity further. Playing within the space of our edge further promotes an understanding of the self, enhances mental focus, and empowers us to break down our personal boundaries - core skills that we can apply to better our daily lives. Working with our edge must be done with caution, mindfulness and respect for the physical body. There is no room for ego when exploring our edge, for when the ego filters through, the risk of injury increases. In allowing ourselves to find our own edge, we engage our ability to move purposefully and mindfully towards physical and personal growth that transitions into all aspects of our daily life.
In much the same way as eating too little can impede the amount calories we burn, so can over-training reduce the amount of energy we expend. When we work out too frequently or intensely, we reach a point at which an increase in exercise energy expenditure is negated by an equal decrease in non-exercise energy expenditure. In other words, when we increase our exercise intensity, our body responds by decreasing the amount of calories we burn throughout the rest of the day. For this reason, it is essential that we pay attention to what our bodies need. Our bodies do not exist separately from our minds. Rather they are in constant communication, and it is our responsibility to listen.
On reaching a state of exercise burnout, it is essential to give our bodies some time to rebuild, repair and restore. Gentle low-impact movement such as light yoga or stretching is ideal during periods of rest. High intensity workout sessions of 45 minutes each, three to four times a week with breaks in between is highly effective for obtaining lasting results. This allows the body sufficient rest periods to rebuild and restore, which in turn optimises performance and results.
Build - Tone - Balance
Getting Fit for More Than just a Toned Body:
Getting fit is key when working towards sustainable wellness. The beauty of exercise is that it can be easily adapted to suit any age group, fitness level, and personal preference. Engaging in a variety of different exercise forms builds endurance, stamina, muscle strength, and keeps the body guessing. For optimum results, rotating fitness regimes every six weeks is best to prevent plateaus (the point at which results become stagnant) or boredom. Setting new fitness goals regularly and engaging in challenging new routines preserves interest in exercise and fuels the motivation to persist.
While most popular for weight loss, exercise has far more than just a toned physique to offer. From boosting mental alertness, cognitive functioning and mental health to enhancing relationships and confidence, exercise is more effective in treating modern day stressors than any medical remedy on the market! As humans we are built for working up a good healthy sweat. The benefits that we derive from exercise are so significant for our wellbeing that it is impossible to believe working out is not part of every single person's daily routine.
So what can Exercise do for us?
Exercise releases endorphins or "happy chemicals", which create feelings of contentment and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. Doctors therefore recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety engage in regular exercise. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as anti-depressant pills in treating depression. Working out for as little as 30 minutes a day three times a week can dramatically boost overall mood.
On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem, self-worth and improve self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender, or age, exercise can rapidly elevate our perception of our own attractiveness.
The chemicals that are released during and after exercise can enable relaxation in people with anxiety disorders. Moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety sensitivity.
Offer an Opportunity for Outdoor Therapy:
Outdoor workouts that suit personal preferences such as rock-climbing, hiking, canoeing, jogging or running can drastically increase self-esteem, confidence and happiness. In addition the Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.
Prevent Cognitive Decline:
Exercise and a healthy diet have demonstrated protection of the brain against cognitive decline that begins after the age of 45. Working out, especially between the ages of 25 and 45, boosts chemicals in the brain that support and prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus - an important part of the brain for memory and learning.
Various studies have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells through the process of neurogenesis and improve overall brain performance. Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher-order thinking, and learning.
Regular physical activity boosts memory and the ability to learn new things. Exercise has shown to increase the production of cells in the hippocampus that are responsible for memory and learning. For this reason, research has linked children’s brain development with level of physical fitness. Working out can boost memory among adults too. Research has demonstrated that running sprints is directly linked to improved vocabulary retention among healthy adults.
Tap into Creativity:
A heart-pumping gym session can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. Supercharge your post-workout inspiration by exercising outdoors and interacting with nature. A long walk or run to simultaneously refresh the body and the brain is ideal for an effective creativity boost.
One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Exercise is known to increase concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate our brain’s response to stress. Regular training can therefore reduce stress and boost our body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension.
A moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body’s core temperature. When the body temperature drops back to normal a few hours later, it signals the body that it’s time to sleep.
Research shows that individuals who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. While busy schedules can make it tough to squeeze in a gym session in the middle of the day, some experts believe that midday is the ideal time for a workout due to the body’s circadian rhythms.
Whether it's a pick-up game of soccer, a group class at the gym, or just a run with a friend, exercise rarely happens in a bubble. And that’s good news for all of us. Studies show that most people perform better on aerobic tests when paired up with a workout buddy.Whether attributed to inspiration or good old-fashioned competition, nobody wants to let the other person down. In fact, being part of a team is so powerful that it can actually raise athletes’ tolerances for pain. Even fitness beginners can inspire each other to push harder during a workout.
Working out provides positive effects far beyond the gym. Gaining self-confidence, overcoming negativity, and even thinking smarter are some of the serious motivations to make time for exercise on a regular basis. So add some movement to your daily routine and allow yourself to reap the rewardsof a fit, healthy body and mind!