Every 24 hour cycle is made up of a series of sequential movements. It happens from the time you open your eyelids to welcome in the morning light, to attending to personal hygiene, scheduled exercise, “waking up” your digestive system with your first meal of the day, activities of daily living, commuting, socialising and “tossing and turning” whilst you sleep (on average we change sleep position 17 times per night). We tend to think about our workout sessions as a set event that is scheduled at a particular time of day and for a predetermined duration and intensity. We follow training programs that consist of “x” number of sessions per week with specific rest days. We have been led to believe that this is what is required to successfully complete an upcoming event.
I would like to challenge that belief…
There is a Primal movement school of thought whereby we should have the ability of sustained movements and activities throughout the day with short, explosive bursts of speed, strength and power when we “feel the need/urge.” This does make sense to me, however if you do have that training goal in mind there needs to be a more directed/structured approach to your daily workouts.
There is a hierarchy of physical conditioning, that spans a spectrum from “least to most.” The diagram below this paragraph explains this in summary. At one end of the spectrum, you have “movement” – this is a non-negotiable. All of your body’s systems and processes depend upon and require movement. This baseline of physical conditioning ensures your survival. Activity is movement with purpose. To get you from the start of your day all the way through to the end, you’ll need to step up your physical conditioning so that you can complete all your activities of daily living – brushing your teeth, walking to/from the train station, occupational duties, house work/chores, etc. The more activity you can pack in your day the better (i.e. “incidental exercise”). In this space your are transitioning from merely surviving to beginning to live. My definition of exercise is scheduled activity. By this I mean that you take an activity (such as walking, swimming, cycling, or any sport) and you engage in it several times per week for a set amount of time. After a period of weeks/months, you become more proficient in this activity to the point where you develop a specific conditioning to it (ever noticed how difficult it is to climb up flights of stairs if you don’t regularly do it, even if you’re running/cycling/generally fit?). Lastly, training is goal directed exercise – such as entering an Obstacle Race event and then doing what is necessary to be able to complete the event. This is the “gold standard” of the physical conditioning spectrum as it is here that you will begin to thrive.
My point from all of this… your day is made up of essential movements, necessary and voluntary activities, chosen exercises and specific training. The further along the spectrum you position yourself, the greater the effect of physical conditioning, and that in turn will have a more positive effect on your overall wellbeing. You’re changing your belief system from one of daily survival to that of a lifetime of thriving. So, in this way of thinking, there are no rest days – you’re simply moving along your physical conditioning spectrum at various points throughout your 24 hour cycle.
Problems… We sit way too much, we move to little, we eat more CRAP than our bodies can cope with and we sweat too often about the small stuff (i.e. stress about “first world problems”).
CRAP = Carbonated drinks, Refined sugars, Artificial foods, Processed foods
My simple solution to this…
- Stand up!… get a standing work desk, switch off your TV’s and iPads (and go for a walk instead)
- Get a pedometer and track your steps (10 000+ per day)
- “Drop and gimme 20!”… at several points throughout the day (unplanned and not predetermined; so when you feel like it) do a series of body weight exercises (push-ups, squats, dips, lunges, pull-ups) to push yourself further along your physical conditioning spectrum.
- Eat SLOW… Seasonal Local Organic Wholefood
- Be thankful… take a little bit of time out on a daily basis to be grateful of everything that is good in your life.
Sometimes its good to move just for the sake of movement..