by Seb Hicks- Osteopath and Rehab Coach at bePilates
We all know that exercising and movement is beneficial for our bodies and minds. It provides a psychological and physical sense of comfort and satisfaction which in today’s fast paced lives is of huge benefit to our wellbeing.
Throughout the centuries, the rationale and philosophy of movement and exercise has changed dramatically. We went from the Palaeolithic era between 2.6 million and 100,000 years ago – where movement was utilised very much as a method of survival – to the ancient farming and agricultural times which took hold around 10,000 ago, where movement was still very manual but significantly far more repetitive than for our primal ancestors. As advances in technology improved and machines were used more, there were obvious advantages in terms of profitability, mass production of supplies and time efficiency – but at what cost to our health? We now had mechanisms which we could rely on to keep the world around us functioning, without having to rely on good old-fashioned manual handling skills. Consequently, human movement efficiency plummeted and the health status of workers systematically declined in line with continued technological advances. All of this is hugely relevant information when it comes around to the question of exercise choice and its role in building resilience.
The fitness and health industry is a multi-million pound one, constantly advertising to us and promoting fancy equipment, all with health claims to be ‘the one’.
What’s important when choosing whether to pursue a regime of physical activity is that it engages you.
This must be of the utmost importance. The term ‘challenge’ is highly subjective and its meaning has and can mean many different things to a multitude of individuals. One person’s walk in the park may mean another’s marathon. Everyone’s preference of physical activity is going to be different and that’s a good thing.
What’s important for the fitness industry’s reputation going forward is that people don’t feel pressurised into certain activities. Engagement is the key term here. As healthcare professionals, we have an obligation to inform, encourage and enlighten when it comes to movement and pain management. Problems begin to arise when trainers, coaches and ‘specialists’ preach and insist that there is one way or limited options open to a person. To ensure sustainability of health and a long-lasting sense of well-being, the professional should guide and then patients and clients able to pursue and engage in physical activity safely and with an enhanced understanding of their limits and capability.
Here then lies the very simple cycle: choice builds resilience because it allows freedom. Freedom allows creativity and creativity breeds and allows choice.. so the cycle starts again (and shouldn’t be broken!)
In short…..challenge your body. Implement varied activities to keep your body guessing and moving through different planes of motion!