Fitness - Did we get it wrong
THE STANDARD FITNESS MODEL
We are all taught and encouraged to exercise with a focus on completing an end point in time, distance or repetitions. For example doing 30 minutes, making a 10 kilometer run or completing 20 repetitions. The general aim is to gradually do more, or do it faster and easier, as a sign of getting fitter and stronger.
This exercise model is taught to us from a very young age, from the moment we have to complete a running race or a fitness test in primary school or even to play a game of tag. It's all considered very normal and good for kids, to be engaged in such physical activity.
What's your relationship to this fitness model?
Most of us experience one of two types of relationships to this way of exercise;
1. It's a chore
We hated school sport or don't like exercise now. It's uncomfortable, hard, tiring and it's something that we have to make ourselves do or we need to be motivated to do by a trainer.
2. Give me more
We LOVED school sport. We are so into exercise that it becomes a must in our life, where we feel out of sorts if we miss our workout. We love pushing hard, doing more, getting fitter, faster and stronger or feel better about ourselves when we work out - it can be like an addiction.
“What if this fitness model and both ways of relating to exercise do not truly support our body or build a sustainable health, fitness and vitality?"
Exercising to complete a race, or set number of repetitions or even to chase a ball or avoid being caught in a game of tag all have an end point that we are aiming to meet. 'Get to the end, make 20, reach the ball, don't get tagged'. These end points are totally non related to what is felt in the body at any given time. In fact, at school a child will be told to keep going, you must play and it's not ok to sit it out and everyone must be involved.
As children we are shown that exercise is to complete a specific activity, with no discussion what so ever about how it feels in our body.
Not only are we not shown how to connect to our body, we are encouraged to completely ignore it, to get the task done. This way of exercising, with total body disconnection continues until we find ourselves as adults in a gym, or lining up for a race or following an instructor in a fitness class. Often encouraged to push through and not be aware of what we are feeling in our body.
When we are disconnected from our body during exercise we are not aware if we are doing too much and we will often do way more than we actually truly need. Exercising in a way that is disconnected to our body has far worse consequences than just exercising too hard or too much.
If we train ourselves to push hard in exercise and ignore what we feel we will over time find it hard to be aware of other messages or signals our body is giving us on a day-to-day basis.
In fact, for many of us it becomes so normal to ignore what we are feeling in our body that it becomes automated throughout our whole day. Any discomfort is not registered until it turns into tension and pain or a tired and heavy body or even an injury, way after the first signals were given that we needed to slow down, stop or modify how we are doing something.
CONNECTING TO OUR FEELINGS
When we remain connected with our body and how it is feeling we get signals or messages. These are here every day, to support us to protect, care for and nurture our body and to maintain and build a healthy and vital body.
Ignoring our body during exercise, makes it harder to hear our body during the day.
Eventually we begin to find it hard to make normal every day choices, like our posture is not quite right and we need to adjust, or when something is too heavy and we need another person to lift, or when we are tired and need to rest. Over time we then find it difficult to know what to eat and when, whether to go for a walk, when to go to bed or even whether to take that job or not. Bit by bit we get confused with what we are feeling because over time we've been denying our feelings.
From this place of disconnection with our body it's easy to eat junk food, smoke, drink alcohol, stay up late, eat slabs of chocolate or tubs of ice-cream or push or drive our bodies day and night to get things done. The result is an unhealthy lifestyle and an unhealthy body that is bloated, exhausted, highly strung, stressed out and often painful.
"Without a re-connection with ourselves and our body it's impossible to change our behaviours or lifestyle choices we're in. We can go around and around in circles in and out of behaviours but never truly changing them"
Harmony In Movement offers a way of exercising that inspires a re-connection with our self and our body, and a rekindling of the relationship with our feelings. From this place it’s easier to bring change, to make self-caring choices and to feel that you deserve another way of living and being with your body.
Your confidence will re-build and you will be empowered to choose how you want to live your life, and have the will to make the choices to make it happen!
See more on Harmony In Movement and our unique approach to fitness on our Home and About pages.