The following article was written before covid-19 put us in lock down and changed our lives. It didn’t seem right to publish it as we were forced to stay home while gyms and pubs where shut, visitors were not allowed in our home and every social or sporting event was cancelled. Now things are slowly returning to “normal” I feel the following is more relevant than ever.
Todays world wether you like it or not is FAST. Everything is fast, news, food, diets, TV even shopping, we want it now and at any cost.
Now when it comes to our health fast isn’t always good, some times we need to slow down. Training, diet and mind all need to slow down for optimal health.
Let me explain a bit more. Training – High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) is great and can yield some massive increase in muscle strength and endurance. However when you are asking the body to perform at maximum capacity all the time at some point it will force you to stop through injury. It will give way if you do this every day.
In running there is an 80/20 theory, only 20% of your weekly running should be at race pace or above, so 80% needs to be slower, at a pace where you can talk to a friend. This gets the body used to running and builds a strong aerobic base from which the 20% can happen. You will also find you get faster at that comfortable level, the heart rate adapts to this level of intensity.
Rest days, very important in any training plan, allow the body time to recover, rebuild and get ready to go again. So if you’re finding you’re not performing how you want to, maybe have a look at slowing down occasionally.
Diet. Let me start by saying I am no expert on the diet front, but I have a few thoughts.
How often do you put down your knife and fork during a meal? Do you finish dinner and go straight for dessert? (or was dessert first) or seconds and then dessert. We are eating more than ever before and it’s pushing our health in one direction, and it’s not positive.
simple things like drink some water with your meal. Stop, put down the fork and take a breath in between mouthfuls. Don’t rush for seconds or dessert. Have an extended break between courses or dare I say skip dessert. Try it, they are very simple theories, what have you got to lose.
Our minds are spinning, information overload for most of the day. The amount of advertising we are exposed to alone is overwhelming. And these days we carry at least one electronic device, that connects us to the world, everywhere we go. We stare at screens for many hours, for work, recreation and socialisation. Yes they are important but a bit like our diets we are consuming too much. Sleep and mental health (particularly depression and anxiety) are regularly linked to screen use. The number one tip people give for improving sleep is put the tv off, phone down for an hour before bed. The search for likes on social media is a real strain for the younger generations causing real problems.
Again these are not bad things, You might be reading this on your phone, you may have found this via social media, they can be very positive things but we need to restrict it. Actually turn your phone off, not just to silent, go outside into nature, listen to it, smell it, don’t put music on and run on a treadmill – get into the bush, get back to nature. Go into the garden and smell the flowers or grow some veggies- so rewarding for the soul.
The stresses we place on our body are real and our bodies reaction to these stresses is intense. Sleep, metabolism, alertness, emotions are all effected by these stresses and the hormones reacting to the stresses. The constant stimulation of hormones can have an effect on our health.
All of the above are quite small in their own right however when sustained and combined they can change our life drastically. So I encourage you all to try some of the tips above, talk with friends and family about them, get their thoughts. Just occasionally SLOW down, see how much the body likes it.