Your mission …

The fitness industry is always changing its focus. These days, there is a trend towards movement exercises that seem to be pushing weight lifting aside. For years “functional fitness” was the term that used to describe a well-rounded workout. Then, and now, that means using a ball instead of bench to do a chest press or standing on BOSU to do bicep curls. I did and still believe this is the best method for lifting weights. Any opportunity to do a workout in a fashion that challenges our balance is a good idea. An even greater idea is to involve the entire body in a workout each and every time. That is what this shift to movement exercises is doing. I, for one, think this is amazing.
If you were to look up movement exercises or workouts you may feel like you have to be part of a Cirque du Soleil troupe to even consider starting a program. Pushing, pulling, squatting, lunging and rotating are all part of our every day lives. Those are the basics of this new fitness culture, and you can do all of those on some level now. Your mission for this week is to work on your techniques for standing and squatting. You’ll see the greatest benefits if you bring these activities into your daily routine. Here’s your homework:
For standing:
  • Stand with your feet hip width apart. It’s best if you’re barefoot to start.
  • Spread your toes apart.
  • Lift your heels slightly off of the ground forcing your weight forward to the balls of your feet.
  • Hold this position for up to 10 seconds to start. Build up the time as you’re comfortable.
  • Lower your heels, shake out your legs and do another rep.
For squatting:
  • Stand with your feet hip width apart. Again, barefoot is best.
  • Place your hands on a solid surface (counter top / wall) for balance if needed.
  • Bend your knees and lower your buttock as far as is comfortable.
  • Keep your heels on the ground.
  • Hold this position for up to 10 seconds to start. Build up the time as you’re comfortable.
Every time that you spend time in either of the positions be mindful of any sensation in your body. Is there pain? Pain is weakness. That is information you can use to improve the situation. Is there stiffness? Spending time (10 – 60 seconds) in that position will open up those tight muscles. How’s your balance? Don’t judge. Stay focused and with practice it will improve.
In time, you will find that you will want to do these two activities a few times a day. Squats can happen when you’re waiting for the microwave to beep. Try lifting your heels when you’re standing in line waiting for a coffee. Improving the way our bodies move and function doesn’t require packing a gym bag. Give it a try. That is your mission for this week.
Something to think about.

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