Notice how many people are hunched at the shoulders, slouched in their seats, uneven in their stride, top-heavy or bottom-heavy. The population is getting more and more out of balance at younger and younger ages.
How can a parent tell his child to stand up straight when his own shoulders are hunched or has a back in posterior tilt because of an oversized potbelly? Where are children supposed to learn to exercise daily when their gym teachers are 60, 70, 80 pounds overweight? How do you bring balance to lives filled with infrequent, non nutritious meals and sedentary excuses for play? You start by drawing a clear example, by leading rather than preaching.
Many people striving for fitness end up hindering their progress by a lack of balance. They should strive to balance their body symmetrically and increase their strength proportionately, in addition to enhancing lung capacity and endurance.
If your sport of choice requires club-speed, bat-speed, racquet speed or arm speed of any kind, than the surrounding muscles must be worked equally. Determine the speed and area of stride required for your sport. Running long, straight distances tax the body and its energy differently than short bursts of lateral or multidirectional movements. Mimicry of movement, such as weighted swings, are often detrimental to technique when overdone. All sports, played and participated in by all types and levels of athletes, gain unmatched athleticism when symmetry, strength and speed are garnered and gained through a balanced approach.
There are many people working to be fit, improve cardiovascular shape with marathon aspirations, become better defined or lighter and leaner, but the initial attention should go toward strengthening the posture and balancing the symmetry. Posture is the vertical alignment of your carriage. The structural integrity of your skeletal system is enhanced through Pilates, chiropractic adjustment and strength training. They align the framework your flesh rests upon.
Symmetry is the top to bottom and left to right proportions. This is enhanced by yoga, massage and strength training. Pilates and chiropractic work the bones, while massage and yoga work the muscles. Strength training works both the bones and the muscles.
CONSISTENCY EQUALS RESULTS
If you make your workouts, cardio sessions and meal preparations with attentive frequency, you’ll gain consistent results in strength, shape and health. You will never make consistent gains with inconsistent effort.
If your schedule requires fast, easy meals, take the effort to have on hand the best types of foods, prepared with the greatest benefit for nutritional input, so that you’re adding to your health and energy rather than taking away from it. By choosing exercises that strengthen your weaknesses rather than always working “favorites,” you alleviate the weak links that sooner than later materialize as injuries. By consistently using proper form on every plane, your shape will have more depth and therefore more appeal from every angle, in addition to functionality.
You must make a plan and work that plan, with enough common sense to know when to back off and when to add intensity. It does no good to show up and lazily go through the motions. If all you have to offer is 20 minutes of concentration, put what you’ve got into it and go home. Attend to the details. Exercise with attention to equal intention and leave when it falters.
The body responds to consistent effort. Train it often, as scheduled, and gains will result. Feed it in adequate amounts with rich, varied, whole foods and it responds with energy, alertness, slimness, longevity and a healthy immune response. Or, as too many are currently choosing, feed it with fat-laden, processed foods, poisonous tobacco, alcohol, soft drinks and empty calories and it responds as toxicity incarnate, with disease and debility.
If you train to become a better musician, you consistently work harder at practice and become a better player. An artist must create art by consistently practicing technique. An athlete must consistently prepare their body to the best of its capacity for performance, to become better athletes. That training never goes away. Just like music lessons, or artistic training, the daily ritual of practice lifts the play to uninhibited, unrestricted performance. Your body speaks a language and sometimes it shouts when it hurts and sometimes it whimpers when it’s beaten, but it always responds to the stress put on it by accommodating and preparing for the next time that load is put in front of it. Consistency equals preparedness.
WHAT DO YOU WANT?
The first step with Simple Structured Training is to Think. You should be conscientious of what your body is going through on a daily basis.
- What do you want?
- How soon do you want it?
- How much are you ready to sacrifice to get it?
- How much time are you willing to invest in getting in shape?
- What equipment and facilities do you have to work with?
- What are you willing to learn?
- What are your ultimate goals?
It’s no different than anything else in life. No one has anything new to offer. These revolutionary products on infomercials are simply new ways of taking your money with century old techniques of achieving your goal, like walking! Some books are full of cute phrases and new tags for old exercises, sit-ups are “Abdominal Abolishers.”
So many books and videos are started with promises like, “ In just 3 weeks…10 minutes…2 months, etc.” What comes next? What happens after the 12-week workout – that wasn’t suited to your body style in the first place – is over, and you’re far short of the promised results? Do you know anything more about your body? Or did you just follow painted footsteps around on the gym floor for 3 months? If you’re here to stay, than so too should your workouts and some type of physical activity, every day.
POETRY IN MOTION
The flexibility, the balance, the strength, the dexterity, the resilience, the blind bravery of a child is everyone’s right. By ignoring your body through inactivity, by forgetting to play, you’re really killing yourself. All the things keeping you from exercise or play don’t compare to the benefits found with fitness. Every single aspect of your life, for all of your life, is positively affected when you put some thought and work into exercise and fitness.
As children, we experienced exhilaration and jubilation often enough to make it a natural thing in our growing lives. A drawing, a starred homework paper, a song, a cartwheel, a picture in the clouds, a hug, a fast bike ride home, a greeting from our dog, could each have been enough to trigger a feeling of that moment being more than ordinary life had to offer. Sometimes we noticed it, and sometimes it went by like the wind we ran through, but those magic moments were there for us to experience, and the feelings associated with them can be conjured for years to come in various situations.
Through our physical natures we transcend earth and achieve the spiritual. All athletes in all sports experience it at some time in their lives. The best athletes achieve it most often. There are many modes available for achieving this transcendence to the spiritual through the physical plane in competition. Dancers, artists, musicians, architects, writers and actors also experience this elevation by going deep within to bring out this magic, revelatory moment which inspires and awes others each time they’re reviewed. This synchronistic execution of performance meeting preparation is the definition of “Poetry In Motion.”
There’s a reason these “things” are called “feelings.” There’s a reason victory and defeat bring equal tears of emotion. We are physical beings in three-dimensional space working on limited time. It is our privilege, blessing and duty to make the most of it. With Simple Structured Training, you can make the “eventful” the “everyday.”
The poem by Lao Tzu, Show Simplicity, Hold Fast To Honesty, defines the essence of how Simple Structured Training should be approached, step-by-step, with clarity, vision and patience. Each age and culture have their own proponents of living the merits of an active life. From Socrates and Hippocrates to Tzu, Thoreau, Whitman, Lalane and Schwarzenegger, being in tune with our inner physicality accentuates the life lived on our exteriors, and resonates to those closest to us. As Einstein said, it is important to work only as much as it allows us to increase our leisure.
Life should be long. Give yourself enough time to find what works for you in keeping the physical aspects of your life working and intact. There is room for experiment. There is room for error. But there must be room for trial. I cannot help but stress how much an active life, especially one begun early, affects the way you look at everything from the simplest challenges, to the dreams and wishes you hold for your children.
Sporting events and our interest in them have grown tremendously. More schools have teams in more sports, with children specializing sooner in life. The Olympics add events annually. We have more food choices, more recreational outlets, more indulgences, yet more disease. Why not make your choices the ones that prove fruitful and beneficial to allow the longest, most abundant life possible across all aspects.
There is an Olympian in each one of us, whether we pursue that route or not, whether we’d even been to or seen an athletic event. As life courses through us, energy begets energy and the more we give, the more we get.