by Bret Smith CPT, B. A., B.S. | Move Strong Studio
The more technology advances into our daily lives, distracting us from regular vigorous activity, the more we need to have a plan to include focused movement and training. The advances that help make our daily lives easier make it harder on our bodies to maintain strength and balance. The comforts of modern life continue to modify how we interact with nature and the energy required for day-to-day life. Unfortunately, this downward trend of activity and movement leads to metabolic slowdown and muscle inactivity.
Take a moment to scan your body and notice what you see and feel. You will find bones acting together to form joints. There are muscles acting upon these joints creating movement, leverage and strength to overcome load. There is fascia — that is the connective tissue that creates the framework for our muscles to flex and extend, in addition to holding organs, blood vessels and structural components in place. What do these structures all have in common? The ability to initiate, accelerate and decelerate movement in multiple directions and planes of motion and the energy requirements to make all this happen.
Surely you have heard the caveman scenario of having to run, hide and spring into immediate action as a convincing argument as to why it is important to move more. Although a bit misguided since we don’t have to do that today, it serves a purpose in helping us understand why we move — survival. Hearts, lungs and blood vessels move without conscious effort. Muscle on the other hand needs stimulus and exposure to overload for growth and maintaining strength. So now what? First we need to dip into the deep well of human ingenuity and create a plan that starts small and grows as our fitness levels continue to overcome longer bouts of activity, higher intensity and heavier loads.
Let’s start with the big boy in the room— metabolism. Far and away the most important metabolic organ is your muscle. There are plenty of influences on how much muscle mass we have, how well we activate it and prosper new muscle growth: sound nutrition, stress/cortisol level, genetics, and exercise type to name a few. Your metabolism regulates how your body turns food into usable energy. What we want to accomplish with more movement is to speed up our metabolism by working the most muscle possible. Muscle uses a ton of energy so the more activity we create the more energy we need as fuel. Turning our metabolism into the “Cookie Monster” of calories is where we want to be.
Individuals considered to be at a beginning level should seek ways of making movement a consistent part of their day. Taking the dog for a walk, playing catch with the kids or taking a walk after lunch are great opportunities that are easy to implement and practice. This is more general in nature but it helps activate dormant muscle, instill confidence and improve mindset. Next, for someone with a good grasp of daily activity, the need to ramp up the workout focusing on strength, balance and coordination becomes the goal. Here the program builds a strong foundation from which all future movement ability and development will be based. Incorporating regular bouts of strength, aerobic and anaerobic training moves more muscle more often. Thus the need for increased metabolic activity to fuel more muscle activity is realized.
Regardless of experience level, gender or ability, more movement matters most! We are, as humans, “athletic” by nature and we need to maximize our ability to move strong, fast and balanced. In addition, the more muscle we activate the more our bodies create usable fuel through increased metabolic activity. The consequence of little to no activity trains the body to be unresponsive and sluggish. Training slow trains the body to be slow. Training with focus, determination and purpose trains the body to be human. Start moving heavier stuff, move it faster and move it more often!