Do you remember making funny faces as a child? Participate long enough and someone nearby would eventually threaten that your face would freeze that way. The notion was preposterous and yet planted a seed of fear that caused some of us to reconsider. Well, instead of fear, I’d like to plant the notion of promise in terms of one of your habitual gym behaviors. “Lift how you want to leave,” I say. It won’t make your silly face stick, but it can drastically improve your posture and range of motion well after you’ve left the gym.
The key distinction in strength training (lifting) is the presence of an external load (i.e. dumbbell, barbell, pulley plate, body weight, etc.) The additional load integrated into movements during strength training will cause our muscles to breakdown and rebuild stronger (pretty awesome.) As women, loading the body elicits positive, powerful changes to our bone density, resting metabolism and capacity for movement. BUT, how exactly we hold ourselves when executing these exercises is an often overlooked detail . So, “lift how you want to leave.”
The way you actually stand and hold yourself during your strength training (lifting) will quite literally affect how you stand and hold yourself later. You are training your muscles. So, train them well. As women, there is a generally preferred posture: free neck, shoulders down and back, symmetrical left and right sides, abdomen free to breath while supported, long spine, knees tracking over feet and from the side: ears over shoulders over hips over knees over ankles. I have yet to have a woman enter an Assessment requesting a thicker neck, rounded shoulders, asymmetrical stance and a distended abdomen. I realize you may not think of it in these terms but posture is a powerful communicator and an easy added benefit to your time in the gym. In completing your exercises, keep “lift how you want to leave” in mind. Maintain an awareness of your posture and form. It will serve you well.
Have questions? Email or post on our Facebook page. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
After spending the night with my daughter in her twin bed (she has been under the weather.) I woke and stated “Today’s going to be a great day.” She quite innocently replied, “How do you know?”
The truth is, I don’t. But, I do know that the odds are better that it’s going to be a good day if I have hope. So, whatever your healthy living struggle, bring hope to the table. This small decision can set us off on a much more promising trajectory and, like hope, is a very good thing.
If you could go back in time what would you tell your 20 year old self in terms of living a full, balanced, healthy life? Would you tell him/her everything was going to be golden? Would you implore your younger self not to take your health for granted? Would you ask them to prepare now for the changes that lie ahead? All of the above? Something different? Try it.
Now, I ask you to take a moment and see yourself fifteen or twenty years from today. How does your body feel? What is your day to day life like? What medications are you taking, or not taking? Are your joints and systems supple and functioning? What kind of trajectory are you on? In searching for real motivation in healthy living, talking to your older self is a promising exercise. What would you like to be like, feel like and look like two decades from now? Have a conversation with your older self. (Not out loud, please.) What does she want? What is she dealing with? What advice would she give you? What does she want you to do today? Then, do it.
It’s not sexy or viral but the truth is, if we want to be active and healthy in twenty years, now is the time to set out on that course. One small step at a time, you can do it. Email if you’d like some help.
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