“We become what we repeatedly do” - Stephen Covey, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
There aren’t enough fitness programs out there that focus on longevity.
Because we are after the best way to lose fat, build muscle and get ripped, most of the exercises or gym routines we do focus on this goal and nothing more.
It’s not a bad thing at all to focus on losing weight.
Clearly, we need to maintain a healthy weight so we aren’t demanding too much from our bodies.
Just doing high intensity exercise is a bit like living for the weekend and we can learn a lot about training for longevity by looking at the way we should be managing our finances.
Living for the moment
I like to think about my weekly fitness schedule like I would managing my bank account.
Like living for the weekend, the energy we are spending now in high intensity activities could empty our banks. We need to put something aside for the future, so we can still enjoy life with no limitations in movement.
Just doing high intensity workouts can be detrimental in the long run, for numerous reasons.
Repetitive movements breed imbalance - If all you do is bench press then all you’ll have is a strong chest and weak shoulder mobility, since the muscles involved in the press are getting stronger. A rounded back means a lack of mobility in the spine.
Could lead to injury - If you go heavy constantly then you risk injury due to repetitive strain.
Narrow mindset - in chasing the last stone away or searching for bigger arms, we ignore a pretty big area for healthy movement, which is the joints.
One of my worst fears is not being able to enjoy my son and eventually his family later on in life because my hips can’t do their bloody job!
And since my day job is at a desk, there is the possibility that I could run into issues with my hips if I don’t take care of it now.
So as part of our routine, we need to have one eye on the future, by depositing a little bit back into our accounts…or, being literal, by giving our bodies some TLC.
How compound interest can lead to better health
"Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it…earns it…he who doesn’t…pays it” - Albert Einstein
The idea of compound interest is that what ever we put away now will grow exponentially in the future. What ever has grown on top of what we’ve put away will also grow along with our original investment. The little consistent deposits we’ve made in our accounts means that we have a nice little nest egg to retire with and enjoy.
What does this have to do with your long term fitness?
The effort we put in now to maintaining our muscle flexibility and joint mobility means, in the long run, we can enjoy our life with a healthy body.
Here are some tips that are small deposits that can have big results long term.
Do some light mobility as you watch TV - If you sit with your ankle on your opposite knee, you can gently bounce the knee to improve elasticity and movement in the hip joint. You can do seated stretches too.
Stand up and move as much as possible - more workplaces are investing in standup desks. If your company are, take them up on it.
Use your bath towel - when you get out of the shower, grab one end of the towel overhead with your hand behind, elbow bent. Bring the opposite hand behind you to the middle of your back, almost like you’re trying to touch your hands. Grab the other end and try to gently pull the towel apart. Switch sides. Nice shoulder stretch, this one!
Perform 1 minute stretches or a mobility exercise every time you enter a room - Pick a stretch or mobility drill and hold either for 1 minute or 5 reps (depending on the exercise) every time you enter that room.
Save 1 hour a week for stretching - If stretching and mobility is supplementing your active gym work, then syphon off an hour as a starting point to do some stretching and mobility. Whether this is an hour, 2x 30 mins or 3x 20 mins throughout the week, it’s better than nothing.
Start thinking about the long term as well as the immediate future for a more balanced body.
In a bit.