I am a believer that we are meant to move as bipedal beings! That is why we are talking about movement, rather than exercise, working out, training, etc.
Our ancestors moved a lot, their feet were their main form of transportation. They needed to move to find food and water. They also had to move to avoid danger from predators, like saber tooth tigers. Even during Jesus’ time, he walked everywhere.
Our world, and culture, and society has changed a lot! Food is now easier to get than ever, and food that is not ideal for our optimal performance, and we walk significantly, and move significantly less than we used to, which are two contributors to obesity, heart disease and poor health in our nation. We move less, we don’t have to work for our food, we eat more, and we eat more processed nutrient-poor food. There is no specific food or diet to blame for obesity, it's simply eating too much, and moving too little, and other poor lifestyle habits.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America, which is preventable through lifestyle, like better eating habits, avoiding smoking and movement which improve healthy body weight!
So let’s talk about movement. Our ancestors moved at least 5 miles a day! That’s 10,000 steps, hence the daily recommendation of at least 10,000 steps a day for activity trackers like a Fitbit. That’s typically a minimum! So walking is just one form of movement that you can include or increase in your life. Walking is not only beneficial for you physically, but bouts of walking improve brain function.
Cardiovascular exercise is a step above walking, your heart rate will likely be higher, perhaps in a target heart rate zone, and again, this has more benefits than just for your heart, for healthy body weight, lungs and for endurance. Cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain which increases brain function and optimization.
Resistance/strength training is beneficial for your muscles, building muscular strength, increasing bone strength, helps improves body composition, improves metabolism through increased muscle mass, can help improve posture, enhanced motor skills.
There are multiple components in fitness, the most general are:
- Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Body Composition
A proper training program would involve various movement patterns, body positions, speeds, loads, and forms of movement.
It is easy to get into a routine and do the same workouts, same weights, in the same movement patterns in the same planes, which can lead to plateaus, and non-functionality.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to weight train and feel strong, while also being able to enjoy going on a run if you feel like it, or playing a game of basketball with your kids? This is where movement comes in, rather than a specific genre of exercise, that can contribute to being overall FIT!
I have just recently started functional training, and doing CrossFit, which is a big change from years of bodybuilding and body part splits. I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, and every time I challenge myself and get out of my normal routine and comfort zone, I’m never mad that I did, I’m SO GLAD that I did!
Functional training is a programming methodology that includes strength training, cardiovascular training, CORE training, and various movements, movement patterns, planes of movement, body positions, various sets, reps, rest times, you will likely never do the same workout twice, however you will get proficient in compound lifts like squat, deadlift, lunges. This methodology is designed to help you move better, move well, it's not just about AESTHETICS, it's about functionality, being able to function well in the gym and also in life. When our bodies are working according to their designs, we are healthy, and we are functioning, functioning according to our design, which is meant to move! Not sit on our butts watching TV more than we move.
CrossFit is grabbing my heart as I step away from the bodybuilding world because it encourages athletes to train various energy systems and truly helps people become fit across all areas, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, power, stamina.
So getting back to movement, there are so many ways to move and include movement in your life, so my biggest recommendation is finding movement that you enjoy, and you would include in your regular routine.
That could mean CrossFit, group fitness classes, walking, riding your bike, spin classes, yoga, running, weight training, powerlifting, hiking, dance, swimming, skiing, sports.
Charissa Sutliff is an Online Fitness & Nutrition Development Coach, a Competition Prep Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is enthusiastic about faith, working out, healthy nutrition, meditating, learning, growing and coffee!