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Begin with the end in mind

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Wednesday, 22nd February 2023, 09:00

Regardless of where we are on our fitness and wellness journey, every so often – as in the case of New Year’s resolutions – it’s good practice to take stock, re-evaluate what is important and make appropriate changes.

While the challenge of sustaining these changes is ongoing, committing to a health and wellness lifestyle is the single most important investment you can make in your life.

Be clear about your end goals

A good place to start is to be clear about your end goal(s). What will your intervention look like? A stronger body? Weight loss? Optimum mental health? What will it feel like and, more significantly, what will it make you feel like?

Once you have clarity about the end, you can then begin to do the work required to bring it to life. Like many people having work done on their house, the experience has given me pause for thought. What makes a house strong? Is it building material, paintwork, roofing material, the skill of the builder?

You’ve probably guessed that it isn’t any of these very important ‘bits’ – rather, it is the foundations on which the house is built that provide its true strength. A house’s ability to withstand the weight and pressure of external forces is determined by the strength and stability of its foundations.

Similarly, the key to our own strength is hidden in plain sight, in our basic human movements. Our foundation – our skeletal system – is built for movement, which results in the release of endorphins (hormones that help to relieve pain, reduce stress and improve your sense of wellbeing) along with three main neurotransmitters: Dopamine, Noradrenaline and Serotonin. These are modulated by exercise and help to make us feel better and manage stress.

Relieve stress and optimise wellbeing

Our bodies are designed as a self-regulating circuit. By moving more, we release more of the hormones and neurotransmitters that help relieve stress, reduce pain and optimise physical and mental wellbeing.

There are many trainers who focus on teaching advanced movements, or use fancy bits of kit in an effort to challenge your body. While all of these are great in getting people exercising, in their efforts to maximise their following, they often leave out or overlook many key elements necessary for building a solid foundation.

My main concern for beginners or less experienced people is that many of these programmes can challenge your body in ways you’re not physically prepared for, which increases the risk of injury.

Build a base of functional strength

As you seek your optimal exercise modalities, whether you engage in traditional or ‘modern’ training/workouts, consider the following:
 Build a base of functional strength. There are seven basic movements the human body can perform – Pull, Push, Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Rotation and Gait (or walking). All other exercises are variations of these.
 Are your equipment and environment safe, and do they meet your needs?
 Is the technique biomechanically sound and the intensity progressive?
Is the exercise or training method sustainable over the rest of your lifetime?

If you manage to nail these points, you’ll be on the right track.

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