Spring Detox - Movement
With the return of each spring season, I am reenergized. I look forward to breathing in the fresh spring air and relinquishing the outdoors from winter’s tight grasp . While I champion routines - my morning routine is sacred - becoming robotic with regards to movement, can very quickly begin to feel mind-numbingly stale. In addition, repetitive movement can lead to overuse injuries. Winter and indoor exercise can sometimes begin to become ordinary. Spring is a time I like to use to light my body up with new movement patterns and new activities - especially sun soaked ones.
It’s not always so easy to make these changes and difficult to figure out where to start. Here are some steps to help you think about the way you move this spring.
Rebalance and add variety to your training. Your body craves all different kinds of movements, angles, loads, speeds, planes, positions and intensities. What does this mean? Here’s a breakdown of different types of exercises and their benefits.
There is plenty of variety within this category. You can lift heavy for fewer repetitions, lift light or body weight only with higher repetitions or do isometric training. Generally, it is beneficial to strength train 2-4x a week. Some of the positive effects of include
the building of bone density
the building of mitochondria
to a certain degree, the building cardiovascular fitness
decreased chance of injury
optimized blood sugar/insulin sensitivity
improved metabolic rate
POWER & SPEED
As we age, training power and speed will help maintain dexterity. As we get older, it is important to hold on to our ability to right ourselves quickly if we trip or take a misstep. Training for power and speed will help keep us from falling and potentially breaking a bone. Some additional benefits include
improved athletic performance
optimized nervous system performance
This is another very broad category basically describing any exercise that trains the heart and vascular system. It is important to train the body in a variety of ways to increase cardiovascular efficiency in all muscles of the body. Most people are very efficient at using the legs - i.e. running, cycling, etc. Try doing a circuit of exercises traditionally geared towards strength training with lighter weights rhythmically or body weight exercises such as Animal Flow. The idea is to keep your heart rate steadily elevated for an extended period of time. Benefits of cardiovascular training include
increased metabolic fat burning
circulation of lymph fluid
increased mitochondrial density
improved mitochondrial health
improved VO2 max
blood pressure regulation
This type of training is the foundation in which all other training is based. It is critical to maintain full range mobility through all the joints of the body, from the more obvious hip and back muscles, to the smaller, less often considered joints in the wrists, fingers, ankles and toes. Without this fundamental strength, we become weak at our most vulnerable positions. For examples of some mobility work visit our Vimeo channel. If you are in NY, take one of Gregg’s Movement Mastery sessions on Sundays at lululemon in Soho at 11:20.
Breathing manages the nervous system and physiology. Breath work is commonly thought of as calming and relaxing, and indeed it can be, instilling a deep sense of calm and wellbeing. Did you also know that hypoxic breath work can be used to manipulate oxygen levels for improved nitric oxide levels, performance and fat loss? We’ve written about breath work in the past HERE and HERE. For more in depth information on different types of breath work, join us in Mallorca. We will be taking a deep dive!
Get out. Enjoy spinning? Take your bike out for a spin instead. Get off the treadmill and hit the pavement/trails/grass/sand, etc. Walking and running are some of the simplest ways to get out and move. No equipment or prep necessary. Long walks are especially therapeutic to the body and stimulate creative thinking and problem solving. If you have access to a pool, lake or ocean, jump in. Swimming is another therapeutic means of exercise. If the water is still too cold, your swim may not be long, but you will get the added benefits of cold immersion. Get your game on. What do you like to do? Basketball, soccer, golf, volleyball, ultimate frisbee? These are all wonderful ways to get your body to move in unexpected ways, and usually outdoors.
Tip: Reap the benefits of the sun’s full spectrum of light. Skip the SPF unless you know you will be out in the sun for an extended period of time. Allow your skin to begin acclimating to the sun slowly - start with 5 minutes and increase by a minute or two (or more), depending on your tolerance.
Try something new. New physical activities and adventures encourage new neural connections in the brain and move the body in ways it is not already accustomed to. What have you been dreaming of trying? Capoeira, ecstatic dancing, maybe coasteering (join us in Mallorca)? I recently started taking tennis lessons - not that exotic, I am fully aware, but something I’ve been wanting to do. I’m not very good yet, so the”workout” doesn’t feel super intense, but it’s demanding in many other ways and is so much fun.
Another modality I love to play around with is gymnastics. It is extremely challenging and a great way to strengthen the body, maintain/ develop mobility. It feels so good to master a few new moves. There are some great beginner gymnastics basic programs available online. My personal favorite resource is GMB (Gold Medal Bodies).
I’d be remiss not to mention a few of the other beloved ways I like to mix up my movement patterns.
Rebounding (on a mini trampoline) is my favorite. This can be an intense cardiovascular workout, but can also be done gently for recovery. Either way, it is fantastic for moving lymph.
Side note: Gregg and I met in a rebounding class about 20 years ago!
Foundational training, based on the work of Eric Goodman, is a remarkable way to decompress the spine and strengthen the core muscles. The muscles addressed in this program span the entire core - glutes, adductors, lower back muscles, abdomen, hip flexors, and transverse abdominis. It is worth picking up Goodman’s books, True to Form: How to Use Foundation Training for Sustained Pain Relief and Everyday Fitness and Foundation: Redefine your Core, Conquer Back Pain and Move with Confidence describing his method.
Balance training becomes increasingly important as we get older. It stimulates cognitive function in addition to sharpening those motor skills. A simple way to incorporate this into your day (especially if you work at home, as I do) is to buy a 2x4. Practice walking on it to start. Progress by pivoting when you get to the end of it and returning to starting position. Other ideas: practice getting down to all fours on it, crawl across it. If you need more ideas, contact us.
If you are looking for some outside support with any of this, consider hiring us for a consultation or a program. More information on all of that can be found HERE.
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