The Right Exercise To Ignite Your Passion
Written by Michael Dermansky – Senior Physiotherapist – MD Health
No matter what your passion is, creating a great piece of art, trekking the Himalayas’ or sailing around the world, a great starting point is getting your body ready. There are easy and practical steps involved in getting your body ready for tasks that you want to complete. As long as you give yourself enough time and persistence to make the change. Here are my top 3 exercise preferences, in order of priority to make your body supercharged to ignite any passion
Make Your Body Strong Enough First
In the last 24 years of practice as a physiotherapist, the main reason people struggle with starting a new hobby or achieving a new physical goal is that they just aren’t strong enough. I often hear, “I’ve decided to take up running, so I started to just go for a run”. Although this sounds like a reasonable beginning, the most common limiting factor and cause of injury is a lack of strength.
A lack of strength means that the load on the joints and muscles is more than it should be and the task is just harder than it needs to be.
The beginning is strengthening the major postural muscle groups, especially around the back, hips and pelvis. These are the muscles such as:
- The gluteal muscle groups around the hips
- The small muscles around the lower back (multifidus muscle groups)
- The quadriceps muscle groups around the knees.
These muscles keep you up straight and are also the muscles responsible for propulsion (moving you forward). Finally, these muscle groups protect the joints, by creating stability (control) around the joints and absorbing the shock of activity and reducing the direct load on the joints.
Why is running not enough to achieve this protection? Because running is a low load, repetitive activity means that you produce a slight increase in strength initially, but this plateaus very quickly. You need to strengthen these muscles slightly more than they are comfortable doing to produce enough stimulus to grow and adapt.
A great start to strength training:
- 2 x a week, involving the major muscle groups (30-45 minutes)
- 6-7 weeks to improve the strength in the muscles (Ideally 13 weeks) before starting fitness training for the best results
Make Your Body Fit Enough
If your passion requires you to be fit, such as running a half marathon or travelling through the Machu Picchu trail, improving your fitness is the next step.
Although your fitness need is dependent on the type of activity to want to undertake, generally training both your aerobic energy system (your long activity fitness system) and your anaerobic energy system (your short activity fitness system) is important.
- The aerobic system: This involves activity that makes you somewhat puffed, meaning that you need to take a breath after a few words. If you go for a walk, you need to walk at a brisk rate, so that it is difficult to have a conversation with the person walking next to you. It doesn’t matter which activity you choose for your aerobic training, bike riding, walking, jogging or rowing, but the objective is the same, being somewhat puffed during the activity to gain the benefit.
- The anaerobic system: This involves high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves a large exertion of energy for a short period of time, followed by a short period of rest. During an exertion cycle, you should find it very difficult to have a conversation, needing to take a breath after every 1-2 words. Generally, exertion cycles last about 30 seconds, but rest cycles can vary, ceasing when you can easily have a conversation again. In general, during a 20-30 minute training session, you will find that you do about 6-10 exertion/rest cycles depending on how long it takes to recover between intervals
- 2-3 fitness training sessions a week (20-30 minutes) is a great start to your fitness program, combined with your strength training. More is not always better. Rest between training cycles is extremely important for recovery and for your body to adapt and improve over time.
Do You Need To Do Sports Specific Training As Well?
Finally, if you have specific training needs, you may need to work with a coach to get you ready to achieve your goal. For example, if you want to go rock climbing, working with a rock climbing coach will focus you on the specific skills and training required to do the activity well and safely.
On the other hand, getting ready for a half marathon will be easier and more effective if you work with a running coach who will help you structure a program to improve your running skills and speed appropriate to achieve your goal.
Your passion and your dream goal should not be beyond your reach, however, getting your body ready before your start will give you the best chance of success in the long term.
The Right Exercise To Ignite Your Passion The Right Exercise To Ignite Your Passion