In our world of take it to the max, all or none, EXTREME, Boot camp, Insanity - just as our health has many facets, so beckons our fitness program. Intense, relentless dynamic exercise is not necessarily the path to higher levels of fitness, or best for optimizing our health.
Enter Static Exercise!
No question dynamic exercise is vital to a healthy being. We need to regularly perform exercise that raises our heart rate for periods of time - the stereotype of exercise. But what I would like to look at in this article is static exercise - an equally vital aspect of health & fitness, and unfortunately scoffed upon by many fitness enthusiasts.
And here is something I LOVE about static exercise - you don't need a gym. As much as I am a hard core gym rat myself - please - no more of the no time cliche - the universal scapegoat - Many static exercises require nothing but you - and your devotion to yourself. They can be done in 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, sitting at your desk to desedentize & destress, cooking in the kitchen, watching television, standing in the grocery store line and on one of those phone calls that just doesn't seem to end! Getting started & remembering to do them is the challenge. Discipline Dazzles!
There are many forms of static exercise - isometric training, Pilates, Yoga - however here I would like to focus on a severely under valued form of static exercise - QiGong - Mind Body exercise.
Qigong, a vital life practice learned from traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a system of healing and the restoration of life's energy flow within our body - our Qi. An art and science of using breathing, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate our qi. Qigong is scientifically recognized to lead to better health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind - equally respected as a form of physical activity as our more western exercise.
Sports Qigong is about strength, stamina, coordination, speed, flexibility, balance, and resistance to injury. Sports Qigong is a unique approach to training for any sport improving that all important golf drive, tackling ability in football, accuracy & controlled power in tennis, and stamina in swimming. It is also practiced to improve mental focus & reduce performance anxiety by elite athletes.
Healing Qigong (aka medical QiGong) is the preventive and self-healing aspect of Qigong. Qigong teaches us how to control our reactions to stress so that life's endless supply of stressors do not wreak havoc with our health - as discussed above. This is all about building that all important mind body connection. We hear this a lot - so let's explain:
How our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, feelings, attitudes, approach affect our physiological functioning - positively or negatively.
How our physical behaviors of our body - nutrition, exercise, breath, posture, alcohol, smoking - affect our mental, emotional state
The interrelationship & partnering between our mind and our body.
Mind body exercise is a critical aspect of our health - and very powerful in alleviating stress related disease and disorders. Where they are completely underutilized is as a component of recovery from gastrointestinal disorders. Our GI tract is often referred to as our "second brain" - our "belly brain". Learning medical qigong & meditation can go a very long way in reducing the anxiety contributing to the distressed GI tract.
Our deadly sedentary lifestyles erupting from desk jobs and thousands of tv stations have led to an all time high occurrence of unnecessary chronic illnesses. As fabulous as dynamic exercise can be, it can also be a physiological stressor when its all about the extreme, insanity, boot camp - then combined with poor restorative sleep & anxiety... Whacked out adrenals & thyroid, compromised GI tracts - many of these very common yet painfully overlooked gateways to other illnesses can be minimized with a fitness program suited to our demands. But an absolute guarantee - it is a multi faceted integration of dynamic, static & mind body fitness.
Labels: Mind Body Spirit