YOU’RE ONLY AS FIT AS THE LIFE YOU LEAD
This is a little mind puzzle to start you thinking. Is your belief in your level of fitness a reality, or your perception?
If you’re still scratching your head on where I’m going with this, allow me to relay a conversation I had with someone recently. They told me they went on a walk which they had previously undertaken a year ago, pre lockdown. The walk involved ascending a steep bank which without much thought, they attempted to scramble up, having done so effortlessly the year before. To their immense surprise they realised their leg strength was insufficient to enable them to reach the top of the bank and they had to carefully negotiate themselves back to the path.
It was a wake up call. What they assumed their body was capable of was in fact a far cry from reality.
We took some time to unravel the log of the previous year’s activities and exercises. It became apparent that even though they had worked really hard on keeping on moving, regularly getting up from sitting, using the stairs repeatedly, working on their garden and walking outside on a daily basis, as the lockdown restrictions had permitted, they had been lulled into a false sense of security.
They felt fit and positive and strong, living in this way, and their unconscious assumption was, that they were still as fit and as capable as they were pre COVID lockdown.
Unfortunately, their fitness level perception was not in fact their reality. A harsh truth to face.
Throughout what can be, an extremely active and diverse life, we often live within the limits of our fitness levels, lockdown limitations aside. We may walk regularly, garden often and attend an exercise class on a weekly basis. All commendable activities.
Despite this, and you know by now there will be a very loud HOWEVER, coming up. And here it is… HOWEVER, we tend to walk similar types of walks in terms of distance, pace and terrain. When we garden, we often repeat similar bending down and forward reaching actions, over and over again. Many exercise classes follow a format of familiar types of moves, akin to the nature of the type of class or a teacher’s preference.
As I write this, I can hear my Simply Move! and Simply Fit! class attendees, rightfully crying out with indignation that that is NOT WHAT HAPPENS IN RACHEL KILI’S CLASSES! Oh you make me so proud!! But MY exercise classes are not your typical exercise classes (which is why many of you have remained with me for, in some cases, decades!) But forgive me, I digress.
We all need wake up calls because western life, with its labour saving, device driven, chair championed reality can, unless challenged, lull us into thinking we are fitter than we really are.
Moving out of an essentially year long LOCKDOWN is an ideal opportunity to assess your fitness, to set benchmarks and make a plan to help you recognise the patterns in your life where you repeatedly repeat or unwittingly unwit yourself. Doing this will help you prevent injury pain and regret.
So take this month to treat yourself to a MIND SPRING CLEAN!
Choose to explore your beliefs and assumptions regarding your body’s strength and fitness levels, based on your past experiences. Then consider how you can test this perception for the reality check I am alluding to.
Be specific AND pragmatic. If at no time have you ever sprinted up Snowdon, this may not be the most useful tool to use. Begin by asking yourself what it is you want to achieve or restart or develop, as our worlds begin to open up in the coming weeks.
Consider when you last did anything close to what your plans and ambitions include. Are you going to need greater arm strength or leg strength or a higher level of fitness, for example? What types of actions and movements will these activities require of your body?
Break it down into general terms. It may be you need:
To be crouching down
Or reaching your arms overhead
Or crawling on your hands and knees.
Of course your aims may not include any of these but whatever the actions are, they need to be ACTIVITY SPECIFIC. An olympic tennis champion will not be practicing their serve using a fast bowling cricket technique, even though there are similarities in these overhead actions. They will train with specific, targeted sport specific movements. While we may not be olympic champions, our physiology is exactly the same.
Don’t rush this process and jump to the end point in your minds eye. Enjoy the process and see it as a means to empower yourself for the coming year. Own your body, to live as fully as is possible, in our New World order.
Next month I will be showing you the what why how and when with the types of exercises you can use, as stepping stones towards moving and living more dynamically. So, see you then! My stick people are poised and ready for action…