On locomotion

Movement

Movement encompasses exercise, mobility, endurance, and recovery.

The human body is an amazing machine, anti fragile in a sense; its ability to adapt and grow being among its greatest attributes. Most people overestimate the amount of exercise and time needed to yield optimal health results. The reality is that many people can achieve their health and wellness goals with as little as 3 hours of exercise per week along with consistent movement throughout each day. We are built for short bursts of maximal energy like sprinting and long bouts of lower energy expenditure such as walking. 

The typical American adult spends the majority of their time sitting. We sit in the car on the way to work, we sit at our desks, we sit when we eat our meals, we sit while watching our children, and we sit at night to read books or stream media. This sedentary lifestyle has been shown to increase insulin resistance, increase harmful lipids in the blood, decrease lean body mass, and increase body fat accumulation. Ultimately, lack of movement is a key influencer in the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other metabolic conditions. It’s imperative we get consistent movement throughout each day to maintain a healthy metabolism and state of well being.

Not only is sitting bad on your metabolism, sitting is harmful to the physical structure of your body as well. Sitting for long periods of time can negatively influence the length tension relationship between opposing muscles. Overtime your body will begin to develop muscular imbalances that can lead to chronic aches and pains, with some of the most common areas being your hips and back. An excellent example of this is in the lower extremities and core. Sitting all day can create tight hip flexors, and weak gluteal muscles. Your gluteal muscles are the strongest muscles in your body and when they are not working correctly myriad deficiencies manifest. This very common muscle imbalance can lead to anterior pelvic tilt and an excessive curve in the lumbar spine. These imbalances can cause low back pain, knee pain, hip pain, shin splints and plantar fasciitis along with a plethora of other potential issues. 

Pairing consistent movement with the right kinds of resistance training will ensure a fully functional body. Resistance training can improve hormone balances, bone density, insulin resistance, blood lipid profiles, stress levels, muscle tone, and increase your resting metabolic rate. To ensure you receive the full benefits of resistance training it’s important to have a structured plan and clear objectives. 

An effective training program should first ensure that your individual needs are met. Before trying to overload your body with reps, sets, and weights it’s important to make sure that your body moves optimally. Our bodies naturally move through 7 primary movement patterns. We push, we pull, we bend, we twist, we squat, we lunge, and we press overhead. A productive program will have appropriate progression throughout these 7 movements. Once the body moves optimally through these 7 movements it’s time to increase intensities and force the body to adapt. 

There are hundreds if not thousands of possibilities within a training program to overload the body and force adaptations. If you are uncomfortable creating and executing an effective program connect with a professional for some initial guidance. 

Below is a breakdown of how to get moving with the SMART goals paradigm. I have found this to be a great way to set oneself up for success.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific: Well defined, clear, and unambiguous

  • Measurable: With specific criteria that measure your progress towards the accomplishment of the goal

  • Achievable: Attainable and not impossible to achieve

  • Realistic: Within reach, realistic, and relevant to your aims

  • Timely: With a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and a target date. The purpose is to create urgency.

SMART Goal – Specific

Goals that are specific have a significantly greater chance of being accomplished. To make a goal specific, the five “W” questions must be considered:

  1. Who: Who is involved in this goal?

  2. What: What do I want to accomplish?

  3. Where: Where is this goal to be achieved?

  4. When: When do I want to achieve this goal?

  5. Why: Why do I want to achieve this goal?

For example, a general goal would be “I want to get in shape.” A more specific goal would be “I want to obtain a gym membership at my local community center and work out four days a week to be healthier.”

SMART Goal – Measurable

A SMART goal must have criteria for measuring progress. If there are no criteria, you will not be able to determine your progress and if you are on track to reach your goal. To make a goal measurable, ask yourself:

  1. How many/much?

  2. How do I know if I have reached my goal?

  3. What is my indicator of progress?

For example, building on the specific goal above: I want to obtain a gym membership at my local community center and work out four days a week to be healthier. Every week, I will aim to lose one pound of body fat.

SMART Goal – Achievable

A SMART goal must be achievable and attainable. This will help you figure out ways you can realize that goal and work towards it. The achievability of the goal should be stretched to make you feel challenged, but defined well enough that you can actually achieve it. Ask yourself:

  1. Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve the goal? If not, what am I missing?

  2. Have others done it successfully before?

SMART Goal – Realistic

A SMART goal must be realistic in that the goal can be realistically achieved given the available resources and time. A SMART goal is likely realistic if you believe that it can be accomplished. Ask yourself:

  1. Is the goal realistic and within reach?

  2. Is the goal reachable given the time and resources?

  3. Are you able to commit to achieving the goal?

SMART Goal – Timely

A SMART goal must be time-bound in that it has a start and finish date. If the goal is not time constrained, there will be no sense of urgency and motivation to achieve the goal. Ask yourself:

  1. Does my goal have a deadline?

  2. By when do you want to achieve your goal?

For example, building on the goal above: On August 1, I will obtain a gym membership at my local community center. In order to be healthier, I will work out four days a week. Every week, I will aim to lose one pound of body fat. By the end of August, I will have realized my goal if I lose four pounds of fat over the course of the month.

Thus, one needs to plan accordingly for each goal and commit to seeing the plan through. Only through acquired habits will one be able to achieve freedom. What one continually does becomes what one is and unlocks further potential for what