So you finally decided to get off that couch and do something good for yourself, laziness was starting to bore you. You set off with good intentions after being notably sedentary for a few years, and sign up with a gym, buy some home equipment, or perhaps become a weekend warrior by joining a team. Four to six weeks later, you are back on the couch with a hurt back, foot, or knee, discouraged and out of commission. What happened?
Most of us don’t realize just how out of shape we get, and how much time it takes to get back in shape. We set out to pour it on one Saturday a week on the basketball court or soccer field, or at the gym doing too much of the wrong stuff. It’s as if we think we can make up for our bad habits quicker, and get back in shape sooner, if we push ourselves further to do more in a short amount of time – wrong!
How about being a real warrior, one who consistently prepares for what they may be faced with in life, readying themselves to be called upon to act and do. We can weaponize our bodies, making ourselves more immune to outside forces, and ready for what life may throw at us. Attention to the process will be your friend, not an all or nothing, breakneck pace of movement that puts you in twisted and contorted positions, demanding too much of a weak and misaligned body. The more out of shape you’ve allowed yourself to become, the more out of touch with your body you’ve also become. Slow and steady the first 3 to 4 months will be the key for you, so you don’t push it too hard for your body’s condition.
Through gradual and sustained strengthening and sharpening, we fine tune ourselves to be less vulnerable in the world. You don’t want to be reliant on our questionable medical system that only masks and treats problems with mechanized wheel chairs or prescription pill popping. People think it is easier to slough off and not work out, however it is only easier at the moment, for it will make things more difficult in time. People who keep in shape do so because they don’t relish pain, discomfort, or a lack of body control; they choose the easy way out. Working out, together with good eating habits, will be easier in the long run, making your life much less limiting, painful, and oppressive.
During the first few months of getting more active, make sure you monitor yourself to do less than you think you’re capable of, and do the activity or exercises more deliberately and slower than you think you should. The more out of shape we get, the more bundled, less differentiated, and turned off our muscles become. It takes time for our bodies to turn them back on, and prepare them for use again. All that time you allowed yourself to get slumped and plump, or fragile and weak, has taken its toll.
If you sit a good part of your day, you can start by standing more. Perhaps at work you stand while talking on the phone, or at home while watching TV you stand for 30 minutes of a program, maybe even doing a little marching in place. Another good starting point is to focus on posture and form while walking, and consciously engage your muscles while doing so.
It’s all about starting very slowly, realizing how much time it takes for your body to warm up, and focusing on trying to regain some awareness of body positioning, movements, and coordination. It will take a couple months just to reawaken your neuromuscular system, and a few months after that to regain some musculoskeletal integrity. One must relearn how to crawl and walk before they can even think of running or jumping. Build the structure from which to proceed for the rest of your life.
Next week I’ll get into the specifics of actual programs at different levels to get you started on your empowering, lifelong journey.