Let’s continue to look at the difference between training for sports/military performance and training for well-being.
When it comes to fitness, how much is enough?
- How hard should I push my body?
- How much weight should I lift?
- How many miles should I walk or run?
- How many steps should I take?
If what you are doing never quite seems enough, always feels like you should be doing more, you may have strayed from training for well-being.
In athletic training, there is always a next level to strive towards. That ‘never enough’ provides the motivation to push harder. For this type of training, then, we need to rely on external guides to inform about our progress. Numbers such as miles and minutes provide accurate feedback. Coaches help assess our performance, giving valuable information about how to keep pushing the limits to excel at the sport.
In training for health and well-being, enough is the level that allows you to achieve the definition of fitness for well being – “do activities of daily life with ease, having enough energy left over for recreation and to meet emergencies.”
For this type of training, you have a guide more accurate than the most advanced technology or experienced professional available. The best part is this guide is free and with you all the time! It’s your body! What your body tells you in the present moment is the most accurate and reliable information available for training for well-being.
What makes it not so reliable is when our mind starts dictating what the body “should” do. I should not have pain with this exercise, it was fine yesterday. I should be able to lift that much weight, run faster, walk further. I should push my body harder to lose more weight.
Our judgment about what the body is telling us right now squelches this most accurate guide. When we use the body as a guide, we realize we can have the ultimate “personalized fitness program” available. When we listen we might hear the body saying:
- That pain you feel when you exercise is a warning signal… possible injury ahead!
- Those tight muscles cannot tolerate what you are doing right now. The nervous system has taken over and tightened the muscle to protect it.
- That pain and stiffness you feel when I am still for a while means I need movement to help get rid of some of this inflammation.
- When you feel exhausted after a busy, stressful, yet sedentary day, it is because I have been working hard all day, ready to move to respond to your stressor. Please give me what I have been preparing for and move so I can really relax.
It is really easy to get caught in the should’s when fitness marketing and the culture tend to mesh together sports training and well-being training. Using mindfulness is very helpful here for developing the skills for listening to our body without judgment, uncovering the most accurate and reliable guidance available when it comes to training for our own well-being.
Keep Moving, Be Well
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These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.