Originally written for www.stuff.co.nz, published 22 September 2014
Spring is in the air and we’re coming out of our shells and shedding those winter blues. Along with this comes what feels like an almost nationwide urge to get ‘in shape for summer’ or some such cliché.
As a personal trainer (although these days I’m thinking of myself as a Movement Specialist and Wellness Coach) this is the time of year when most people emerge from the woodwork with their ‘get fit and healthy’ goals.
Yes, admittedly, most people have aesthetic reasons for seeking out a personal trainer (or a Movement Specialist and Wellness Coach) and previously this fitted right in with what I did. In the past, I’ve helped people lose weight and do it fast, get fit, tone up, find their abs, calorie restrict and calorie count, over-exercise and ‘push through it’.
But recently, after what you might call an epiphany, I’ve been thinking a lot about the bigger picture.
Physical wellness must include movement, nutrition and recovery. These tenets don’t stand-alone, each supports the others like the legs of a stool.
Too much movement, not enough recovery? Eventually something will give – injury or impaired results. After all, your body gets stronger, faster, thinner or bigger (depending on your goal) when you rest.
Poor nutrition? This will hinder your recovery and impair performance, energy and mood.
Its important to get the balance right.
Movement: This should relate to your goal. What do you need to accomplish it – power, speed, strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, co-ordination?
Nutrition: Are you nourishing your body or just fuelling it? You are literally made of the stuff you feed your body. So feed it well with wholefoods and variety.
Recovery: Sleep and doing things you love allows physical and mental recovery. Mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques and practices like yoga, tai chi and chi gong encourage you to ‘work-in’ instead of ‘work-out (or build energy rather than exert energy). This promotes the ‘rest and digest’ state in your body prompting recovery, healing, and mental and physical wellness.
Here are some tips for a more rounded sense of wellness:
- Practice mindfulness or meditation techniques aka ‘work in’ instead of or as well as ‘working out’
- Spend time doing the things you love with the people you love
- Ensure you get to bed early – ideally by 10.30pm
- If your environment or surroundings are making you unsettled – mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually – do something about it
- Make sure you’re challenged and stimulated mentally
- Know your core values, beliefs and goals and live accordingly to reduce inner tension
- Be connected to your family, friends and social networks
Wellness – it’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. If you’ve neglected one or more of the elements, or focused on one more than the others, chances are, you’re not achieving what you’d like or you’re feeling out of balance. Perhaps it’s time to re-think your approach.
What are you doing this spring to rejuvenate, reenergise and be well?