Most of us are deconditioned. It's sad, but that doesn't make it any less true. Many of us sit at a desk for eight hours, sit in a car or on a train for a commute, and sit again in front of a television or monitor for “free” time. The world as we know it today is a far cry from that of our ancestors, and their ancestors before them. Everything they possessed was gained from movement. So we moved, rested, and moved some more. Every day.
Our survival as a species has been dependent on our ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. This adaptation is a more fluid process than one might think. It does not take thousands of years or even generations to adapt. It takes anywhere from a single experience to a lifetime to adapt; it depends on the complexity and urgency of the situation that one is trying to adapt to, the frequency that one encounters that situation, and the abilities of the individual.
How we train
What I'm suggesting is nothing new. And it is not rocket science. You have to move to stay healthy.
But not everyone starting out is healthy. You will get healthier as you move, but you have to do it safely. Build from the very basics. These basic movements are the foundation for everything that the body is capable of. Push and pull. Bend and Straighten. Twist and Turn. Run and Jump. Climb and Swim.
The foundation is only the beginning. When the basics are easy, challenge your newly found confidence with compound movement patterns and multidimensional exercises. Play sports and games. Enjoy yourself, training only feels like work when you frame it as an obligation.
When we train
Train always. But that doesn't necessarily mean work out seven days every week. It means working on posture while sitting at your computer. Taking the stairs. Picking a healthier option for your meal. Balancing on one leg while waiting in line. Switching hands while brushing teeth or hair. Stretching during commercials. Be mindful of the fact that change is an ongoing process. You are getting better or getting worse, every moment of every day.
Where we train
Wherever you have to. When you were a child, the world was your playground. That playground never went anywhere. It's time to take it back. Remember how to play. Train at your home. Train at a park. Don't limit yourself to the gym; you only need a place to move and an environment to interact with. Equipment is only a convenience, not a requirement.
What we train
Train everything. And I mean everything. First of all, as far as the body goes, train your nervous system. The thing that controls your muscles. Tells them when to tense and when to relax.
Practice the skills of movement. The easy ones are the basics. Walk, run, swim, and climb. Train balance, agility, strength, speed, coordination, endurance, and power. And make no mistake, these are skills that get easier and better with practice but deteriorate
Your nervous system does way more than boss muscles around. It is also responsible for feelings of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and stress. It is impossible to starve if you are eating meals regularly no matter what signal your body gives you; nervous system reactions to less than ideal conditions can be challenging to control and retrain, but it is not impossible. Train yourself to make the right choices and you will unlock a new level that you have to experience to believe.
The brain, as the nexus of the nervous system, has to be trained as well. Alzheimer's disease and dementia are just a few of the detrimental effects that can happen as your brain and nervous system deteriorate. Challenge your brain with memory drills, spatial perception and sensory awareness activities.
And so we train..
We train to feel better. We sacrifice minutes every day, so that we can enjoy years to come. We train to have confidence, not only in our appearance, but in our abilities. We train to become healthier and keep that health for longer; so that we may enjoy life more and experience more in the precious amount of time that we have.