As tempted as I am during moments of weakness, I’m learning to veer away from all self sabotaging thoughts of the strength and flexibility training I still need to do to achieve my desired level of fitness. Instead, I choose to enjoy the steady progress of my body’s functionality and take each WOD (Work Out Daily) as it comes. Lately, I’m feeling more flexibility in those challenging squats and more strength in my forearms when doing ring pulls. I think I’m even standing taller!
An added bonus is the emotional high my internal archetypes are receiving as they witness a new-found flexibility and strength that has been absent far too long from the body they’ve occupied since its creation. Today one of the girls in my class even told me that she’s noticed improvement in my performance. Aha, my Saboteur archetype hasn’t got a leg to stand on now!
Of course, the WODs really haven’t gotten any easier because they are continually scaled to the next level of difficulty but I enjoy the feeling of being able to work the WOD at the level I am at.
Today for instance I was teamed up with two very fit individuals probably 20 years’ younger than me.
My group had to execute 300 pushups among other exercises so each person did as many as they could in one round. It will be some time before I can do them from the floor but they are do-able for me from an angle when pushing my palms down on the edge of a wooden box. It still works the forearms while tightening the core and keeping the back straight. So even though my group members were further up the scale in ability we were all pushing ourselves to our max that day. Once the first round was completed, we would return to the first person who commenced the second round. The goal was to complete the WOD as a group as fast as possible. I got to see up close how others are using their bodies which fueled my desire to push mine as well. Plus, I didn’t want to let the team down by being a wimpy middle aged newbie.
Since the ankle I had broken two summers ago is still healing, I got to row while the others went for an outdoor relay throwing a medicine ball back and forth to each other. (Sounds like fun so I want to do that too…hmm, maybe that ankle isn’t so sensitive after all). I managed over 2000 meters total with two rounds of a bit over 1000 meters. Therein lies the beauty of the WOD in a team where there will always be something that you can do to contribute.
Speaking of straight backs, I had an informative chat with one of my coaches who recommended I go to a special health centre where I can have the scoliosis in my back evaluated. I found a great thread on the CrossFit forum where several other people had shared information about what exercises they were prescribed to compensate for the lobsided-ness of exercising the body when the spine is twisted. The CrossFit sites are amazing hubs of useful information for just about every possible concern a member may have.
As much as I have neglected my core I am amazed at how little it takes to notice little improvements once you commit to workouts. Many people think they have let themselves go for too long and can’t ever get their bodies to respond. In actuality, the body is a very capable and functional machine and if you give it a chance it will take you further than you realized whatever your age or circumstances.
What is the core? The core of your body consists of your four abdominal muscles, your lower back muscles, the pelvic floor and the hips. This area controls all the body movements you make from bending down, lifting and even breathing when weak core muscles result in shallowness of breath. According to the Mayo Clinic core exercises train all these muscles to work in harmony which in turn leads to better stability and balance. As we age we start to lose our sense of balance and we need to recognize that now. Getting to the core of the problem means changing our attitude about our bodies and not taking them for granted. Your body needs servicing just like your car or computer.
I’m preparing for a better quality of life as I age. I’m not training to join the police force or do a triathalon. I enjoy being a part of a culture of support and friendliness where my abilities and goals are scaled accordingly. No one can do the workout but me and the community is great for encouraging me in my endeavor. That web of support contrasts very starkly it seems with the world around me.
Sitting in front of a computer for endless hours a day like a potted geranium with your butt bound to a chair creates poor posture, a weak core, and increased likelihood for illness. The electronic lifestyle does not provide much opportunity for us to move our bodies as they were intended to be used. Our body’s metabolism slows down and important fat-burning enzymes stop doing their job. Our chances for diabetes increase and our feel-good hormones have less chance of reaching our brain since the blood flow has decreased. It’s no wonder we’re depressed!
Our muscles weaken so that we are prone to more back pain. If we sit 8 hours a day we need to counter balance that and that is where Crossfit shines. The intensity of the tri weekly WODS help to offset this time differential and when done in the company of a like-minded community, you have a winning formula for success.
To get the ball rolling you can start with simple tweaks to your day such as standing at your desk. There are actually desks on the market now that are designed for standing in front of a computer. http://www.ikeahackers.net/2011/01/wide-standing-desk.html
Choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator and walking or cycling rather than driving are also good strategies to get into. Remember, physical preparedness feeds strength of purpose and helps build self confidence in whatever you choose to do in your life.
Don’t forget too, the body has moving parts and they need to be doing just that every day . . moving! Before you go out and buy that bottle of painkillers that the pharmaceutical companies are hoping you will do, buy a seasons’ membership instead at your local pool or better yet check out CrossFit where there is a community of people ready to support you in your fitness program.
For more information about how to incorporate fitness into everyday life visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/functional-fitness/MY01378 as well as http://viviannnapp.com/general/functional-fitness-promotes-health-and-longevity/.