Mind & Motion

Are you getting what you want?

Posted in Fitness Tips, Inspiration by Meghan Pickrell on October 18, 2010

I went to a group exercise class last week. It was one of those ballet barre type classes, which are so popular at the moment. The class consisted of mat exercises using props such as hand-weights and a ball. Most of exercises were basic callisthenics with elements of yoga (and pilates?). We worked each area of the body individually until it burned- badly.

Not to get off topic but, I want to explain something that you may not know. Sensations such as post-exercise soreness do not necessarily lead to muscle hypertrophy. This means that there is no scientific evidence to support the notion that because your muscles are sore, they are getting stronger. Not only that, but if the goal is too tighten your tush to the point you can no longer walk- you’re not even serving your body in a functional way. So then the question is raised- are your needs being met by your workout? And, more importantly, what are your goals? This is something you should think about when attempting an exercise routine. It may be something you haven’t thought about before. If it’s any help, here’s what I want from my exercise practice:

1) I want to be engaged. I need to be engaged in my exercise time or else it’s BORING. There are many ways to keep me engaged: learning complex movements, moving to music, or having a teacher cue me about the specifics of a movement. I need to be learning or feeling something new in order to feel satisfied by my workout.

2) I want my heart rate to go UP. I love the feeling of going uphill, my heart accelerating with each step. I know that increasing my heart rate helps with cardiovascular and metabolic health. Plus it helps me better digest fats, burn calories and keep stress at bay.

3) I want to better my posture. Dealing with scoliosis, the two sides of my back tend to fight a little. Getting on the pilates apparatus, looking in the mirror and connecting to my alignment, plus keeping appropriate muscles strong help me to stay pain free!

4) I want to stretch. The simplicity of stetching helps awaken all of the sensory feedback mechanisms in the muscles. I love the feeling of a good stretch session. My mobility increases and I feel agile.

5) I want to stay strong. I want to be able to perform the tasks of daily life with ease. I want my trunk to support me for long periods of time, whether typing at my desk or standing on my feet.

I may not work on all of these aspects in each workout but I try to keep my workouts balanced around these ideas. The class I tried above didn’t need my particular needs which are usually met by a good pilates workout. Not only do I feel good, I know I’m serving my body well and as a result I don’t think I look half bad. You may not know what you want from your workout only that you need to keep yourself in shape. I would encourage those who are unsure to try different avenues. Workouts and training should be based on what you want to achieve. Feel free to comment with questions. I can try and asses if you are getting your needs met.

One Response

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  1. mom said, on October 22, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Great advice!

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